It was a bit of a dull match at the Emirates between the two sides, but taking all 3 points is all that was needed. Ozil seemed to be a clear man of the match as Arsenal fend off a defensive-minded Newcastle side 1-0.
Arsenal started the game by showing 4 at the back for the second time this week. Maitland-Niles was given the nod over Sead for the 2nd time this week, and we are still a bit unsure if Kolasinac has been dropped by Wenger. Jack is in the lineup again with Ramsey’s injury and Lacazette was back to our delight.
While it was surprising to see Maitland-Niles in the spot of Kolasinac, the Englishman was very strong today and he proved his potential. Other than Ozil, he seemed to be the only bright spot in a fairly ugly game. The highlight of his game was this run, which would’ve been quite the first Premier League goal.
But it was all about Mesut Ozil in the first half, who started hot and it only got better. At the 45 minute mark, the German was 52/57 passing, dangerous in the build up, added a tackle, and had a world class volley to put Arsenal ahead in the 23rd minute. Just take a look at this thunderbolt, there was no chance to stop it:
Stunning volley from Özil to give Arsenal the lead against Newcastle pic.twitter.com/4bUXWfK0RD— Terje (@xArsenalTerje) December 16, 2017
The second half was quite uneventful. Rafa Benitez had a very defensive shape the entire match and his side struggled to create chances against a decent Arsenal defense today. Arsenal held the ball for 71% of the match and completed 650 passes compared to 202 from Newcastle, who struggled to control the ball all 90 minutes. The second half highlight was when Jack Wilshere should’ve slotted this ball away, but it was fired right at the keeper. We all would’ve loved to see a Wilshere Premier League goal. Slow motion replay:
It was a rather poor day from Alexis and Xhaka, who both lost the ball too many times over the day. Xhaka had a couple mental lapses, one that almost created a counter attack in stoppage time. Luckily, he was able to make a professional and take the yellow card to stop the build up.
The game stats are shown below from our very own Scott Willis:
Arsenal play next on Tuesday in their Carabao Cup match against West Ham, before hosting Liverpool next Friday in a huge Premier League game. #COYG