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Arsenal 7 - 3 Newcastle United: Demolition Report

The first half was cagey and awkward; the second half was awkward then amazing. Here's how it all went down.

Clive Mason

1 - 0 Theo Walcott 20'
1 - 1 Demba Ba 44'
2 - 1 Alex oxlade-Chamberlain 50'
2 - 2 Sylvain Marveaux 60'
3 - 2 Lukas Podolski 64'
3 - 3 Demba Ba 69'
4 - 3 Theo Walcott 73'
5 - 3 Olivier Giroud 85'
6 - 3 Olivier Giroud 87'
7 - 3 Theo Walcott 92'

Arsenal played a slow and pointless first half but won the second half 6 - 2 after upping the tempo significantly and pressing much more effectively. It's really that simple. Here's how it happened.

Laurent Koscielny started in place of Per Mertesacker, who was ill. Theo Walcott started at center forward with Olivier Giroud on the bench.

The first 15 minutes were rather standoffish; Arsenal's tempo was slow, while Newcastle worked to make sure they dropped back into two banks of four after initial bursts of midfield pressing. Bacary Sagna did make it to the byline a couple of times, but his crosses could not find the small Theo Walcott in the middle. Newcastle's corner kick on 16 minutes saw a Demba Ba header go over the bar.

It remained cagey for another few minutes until the 20th, when Lukas Podolski fired a long pass through for Walcott up the left, the left back playing Walcott onside, and Theo made no mistake as he slotted past Krul to score off the inside of the far post with a wonderful curling finish.

1-0 to the Arsenal, twenty minutes in.

Still, Arsenal weren't looking totally solid. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was struggling on the right to put moves together with Sagna and his midfield, and Newcastle were holding firm and generating some threat. Arsenal were finding the occasional opportunity, though, and in the 37th minute, Walcott very nearly had another, but Tim Krul was able to smother his shot after the initial pass was slowed up by the Newcastle defense.

41 minutes in, after a fierce Cheik Tiote shot won a corner for the Toon, Arsenal countered quickly through Walcott, but his pass to Santi Cazorla on the counter was way too late and badly placed, and the attack crashed and burned like the Hindenburg.

It would be a blow, because Newcastle won a free kick two minutes later. Demba Ba unleashed a curling shot that deflected off of Jack Wilshere's face and wrongfooted Wojciech Szczesny, who had no chance.

1 - 1, 44 minutes in.

Sylvian Marveaux took a wicked shot a minute later that Szczesny did well to parry wide. From the corner, Demba Ba headed over, and halftime arrived.

The second half began with no changes for either side. 47 minutes in, Podolski played Kieran Gibbs through, but his shot was from a tight angle and Krul saved easily. The Toon had a throw deep in their half on 50 minutes that Cazorla got hold of; he squared it for The Ox, who took a touch and swerved to shoot from 20 yards, beating Krul and netting at the far post.

2 - 1 Arsenal, 50 minutes. It was Ox's first Premier League goal of the year.

Walcott failed to find Podolski on another break on 55 minutes, shooting well wide instead. Arsenal were looking a little slack, and when Gabriel Obertan took Bacary Sagna to the cleaners on the right, Wilshere failed to follow Marveaux to the far post, and he was there to tap in Obertan's low cross.

2 - 2, 60 minutes.

For as much of a mare as Wilshere was having, three minutes later, he did the opposite, beating Danny Simpson on the right of the Toon defense, getting to the byline and floating a cross straight across. Fabricio Coloccini could only head off his own crossbar, and Lukas Podolski was there to head it home from point-blank range.

3 - 2, 64 minutes.

But of course, it wasn't over. Nobody closed down Marveaux, and he had time to launch a delicious cross with the outside of his left to find Demba Ba at the far post. Kieran Gibbs did nothing to stop Ba from volleying home, and it was level at.

3 - 3, 69 minutes.

It was far from over, of course. Gibbs was played through and made it to the byline. This time he crossed, properly, and the initial clearance came only as far as Walcott, six yards out, who swerved and buried it into the top corner.

4 - 3, 73 minutes. Time for the Toon to score again?

Gael Bigirimana tried from 20 yards a minute later, but Szczesny saved easily. Olivier Giroud came on for the Ox. Things remained wild and open as the clock ticked onwards, Tim Krul trying to kill James Perch when catching a cross. 82 minutes on, Aaron Ramsey replaced Lukas Podolski. Shola Ameobi came on for Bigirimana.

Walcott nearly scored from 15 yards as he danced through the Toon on 83 minutes. A minute later, Wenger's first sub would make his presence known. Walcott took up the ball on the right, and Giroud knew where to go. He snuck in between the Newcastle defenders, the cross came in, and Giroud buried the classic number nine header under Krul.

5 - 3 Arsenal, 85 minutes.

Giroud wasn't done. Walcott lost the ball on the right, but Giroud picked it up, held off the world (he's very strong and large), and piledrove it past Tim Krul at the near post.

6 - 3, 87 minutes.

There would be five minutes of extras. There would be MOAR GOLAZOS. Theo took the ball up on the left after a free kick following a cynical Santon tackle on Giroud. Theo dribbled through two, was taken down in the area, got no call, got up, carried on, and chipped Krul.

7 - 3, 92 minutes.

Giroud was denied only by the bar two minutes later, nearly scoring a hatty in 15 minutes of action. The final whistle blew, Theo got the game ball from ref Chris Foy, handshakes all around, and he clapped the crowd. Three points.

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