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Arsenal 1 - 0 Newcastle: Instant Reaction

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Shambling, ugly, but a win.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal did not play very well today, and Newcastle had the bulk of the good chances, but largely due to the efforts of Petr Cech and the waywardness of Aleksandar Mitrovic, the Toon couldn't find the net, and Arsenal took all three points after Laurent Koscielny bundled home a 50/50 off a corner in the 73rd minute.

Arsenal come out the stronger side, and for the first five minutes, the match looked like a continuation of the Bournemouth match. Newcastle came into the match as the first half ticked by, though, and managed to control most of the midfield battle. However, Petr Cech is very good, and he was able to smother a huge 1-on-1 from Giorginio Wijnaldum midway through the first half. Newcastle kept pressing, winning most of the challenges, but Arsenal crawled toward a 0 - 0 halftime.

The second half was a little better, but Newcastle still made most of the chances. None of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mathieu Flamini, Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, or Laurent Koscielny looked remotely sharp today, and Arsenal only looked dangerous when Mesut Özil was able to assert some kind of control. That was rare, however. Joel Campbell replaced Ox 65 minutes in, and things started looking a little more solid, but Newcastle did not go away.

However, sometimes soccer is weird; goals aren't necessarily tied to overall performance. How many times have we seen Arsenal's dominance undone by a set piece goal in the past? Well, the shoe was on, uh, the other, foot? today. From a corner in the 73rd minute, the ball popped straight up in the area, and Koscielny did his Koscielny thing that he does where he manages to win a second ball in the box and sort of scrap a goal out of nothing, sometimes while appearing to break his legs (he didn't, he is fine), poking the ball past Robert Elliot and in.

Now all that was left was to hold on for 20 more minutes, because Newcastle were throwing themselves forward. True to form, Arsenal kept seeking a 2nd goal with flicks and wild counters until the end, and Cech had to bail everyone out and Mitrovic had to miss a few more times just at the end, but Arsenal hung on. It was the kind of win you'd call jammy, but jam tastes good. I like jam.