Coming into the match, Arsenal who had been declared “ officially nolonger in charge of their title chase” desperately needed a win. After a series of draws and some defeats, the Gunners had to step up their game in these last games.
On the other hand, Newcastle United too like Arsenal, were in more desperate need of qualifying for the Champions League. Eddie Howe might have began this season without such a thought but they did their best and the opportunity befell them. Would they blow it away? Never .
It is upon these grounds that both teams had some tactical changes in their squads. Some intentional and others caused by injury and unavailability of key squad players. One thing was evident though, all the changes were geared towards getting the match’s three points.
Arsenal Dominated First half
In the eighth ,Arsenal was made to sweat plasma when a call for penalty was called for after Kiwior seeming to have handled the ball. This came about when Kiwior tried to stop Bruno Guimares’ goal-bound shot .Fortunately, VAR came to Arsenal’s rescue .
A few minutes later , Martin Odegaard did it again. Like he has been doing it , scoring out of the eighteen box. The Norway international had made a powerful shot to send the away fans in rapturous celebrations in the 13th minute.
A fine team play by Arsenal culminated into a wonderful save by Nick Pope who stopped Gabriel Martinelli from making it 2- 0. Arsenal continued possession as well as goal chances though Newcastle too had their moments.
England international Bukayo Saka too failed to make it 2-0 for Arsenal in the 23 minute as once again Nick Pope came in to save his Champions League chasing team. The cameras showed a seemingly frustrated Arteta mourning the beautiful chance.
On the 26 minute a beautiful play of the ball saw a through pass land on Wilson whose touch led the ball to fall on Willok’s feet. The former Arsenal man almost made it 1-1 but Aaron Ramsdale came in handy. The Arsenal keeper four minutes later had to stop Jacob Murphy in a risky way that could have caused a penalty – removing the ball from Murphy’s feet.
Jorginho made a fine block to stop Newcastle’s Joeliton from equalising in the 39th minute. As a result, a corner was conceded much to the relief of the Arsenal fans. The corner resulted into a counter-attack in which Arsenal’s Captain Martin Odegaard delayed to give a pass to Gabriel Martinelli to make it 2-0.
Drama ensued in the five attended minutes of first half. First Granit Xhaka sat in the field, when Callum Wilson of Newcastle tried to talk to him, he replied in an unfriendly manner. The situation brought in more quarrels as Gabriel Jesus and Kieran Trippier were seen bickering.
In the very last minute of the added minutes , a glorious opportunity to take Arsenal two up presented itself. In fact Martin Odegaard did the right thing, left Newcastle defenders on the floor only to be stopped once again by the excellent Nick Pope.
A failed Newcastle Redemption in Second Half
A fine play from Jacob Murphy from the right wing saw a cross in the air land on Isak’s head only to hot the post. This was just three minutes after the restart of second half. The resulting corner almost made Newcastle level with Arsenal but Ramsdale came in to save the goal-bound header.
In response to Newcastle’s threats, Arsenal made a dangerous attack too only for Martinelli to hit the post in the 50th minute. The atmosphere of the game reflected it’s importance. Why every team was going all-out for a win.
Another powerful block denies Willock from scoring. This time round the block was by Granit Xhaka. Newcastle continued to press for an equaliser. The game growing more and more physical.
Unfortunately, an own caused by a cross from Gabriel Martenlli saw Newcastle’s Schaar put the ball in his own net. This put Arsenal 2-0 with only 20 minutes to play for.
A couple of second half substitutes saw Newcastle’s Callum Wilson withdrawn. Wilson had been on form in the previous games scoring as a substitute but this time round things failed. Martin Odegaard was also replaced by the experienced Thomas Partey in the middle of the park.
Arsenal managed to win the most important match that brought them one point( 81) behind Manchester City (82). Though the later have a game at hand. On the other hand , Newcastle remained in third stop with 65 points from 34 games . One game more than fourth placed Manchester United having 63 points.
The elephant might redeem itself – never say never.
So, it’s true! Tables turn, haha