Welcome to a new feature on Arsenal.com - Talking Heads.

Before and after every first-team fixture our MatchDay Show team - and an Arsenal blogger - will have their say on the match.

Arsenal took on Newcastle United in the Premier League on Monday and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, Stephen Hughes and Julian Harris of Gingers for Limpar.

Read on for their post-match comments and recap what they said before the game.

Dan Roebuck - Arsenal Live

You have to take your hat off to this Arsenal team - it takes something special to come from behind in a record four consecutive Premier League games. Newcastle are clearly a decent side and had a gameplan to deny Alex Song space in his deep midfield role but the visitors were eventually overrun in the second half as Arsenal poured forward. Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna linked up well on the right and that was vital with gaps at a premium through the centre. Robin van Persie's radar was slightly off for a change - not that it stopped him scoring a brilliantly-taken equaliser - but Thomas Vermaelen stepped up in the nick of time. The fans deserve a mention too. They are responding to the effort they have seen on the pitch and that can only help the players.

It's simply a case of keeping this run going now for Arsenal. Victories over Tottenham, Liverpool and AC Milan have lifted spirits at Emirates Stadium in recent weeks, with genuine optimism of a top-four finish now filling north London. And who can blame them? Arsenal are playing with the confidence and conviction that seemed so far away at the turn of the New Year. Back onto footballing matters, this is another fixture in which Arsenal may have to be at their best to succeed in. Newcastle have surprised everybody this year with their league position but few can deny that they deserve to be where they are. Alan Pardew's transfer business has proved excellent up to this point, with Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Papa Cisse all astute signings. It certainly won't be easy, but on this form Arsenal will be confident of beating anybody. Third place is in sight if Arsène Wenger's side play their cards right and Monday night could be key. 

Stephen Hughes

I was delighted with the final result because for all of Arsenal's pressure it looked like Newcastle would hold out. The home side kept plugging away and got what they deserved. Funnily enough I didn't think Theo was outstanding when I was at the game but, having watched it again, it could be the best game he's played for the club. He started very brightly with a good cross and that set the tone for his evening. Alan Pardew brought off Davide Santon because he couldn't handle Theo but he gave James Perch just as many problems. The other thing about Theo is that he kept going and in the 94th minute it was his cross that led to the winning goal. Tomas Rosicky impressed me as well. He looked disappointed to go off but he is another one high on confidence at the moment. The supporters seemed to respond to Arsenal's hard work - as a fan there's nothing better than seeing a player fly into tackles - and they certainly played their part in a big result.

Arsenal are in great form going into what will be another big game. Newcastle are very tough opponents who have done well this season and surprised a lot of people. But with Arsenal's momentum building and the team performing well I think we can expect a home win. Tomas Rosicky has really impressed me of late - he's back to his very best after that long-term injury problem. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another in-form player, he seems to be relishing his opportunity and played with a maturity beyond his years against AC Milan.


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So little in football - nay, life - beats the sheer joyful brilliance of a last minute winner. After battering Newcastle with 16 second-half attempts at goal, the 17th was finally forced in by the marauding Thomas Vermaelen, sending everyone in red and white into near hysteria. It may only have been another league game, but there’s nothing wrong with indulging in the feelgood factor during a great run of form. In recent years some fans have raised eyebrows at the manager’s insistence that the team has “great mental strength”, but of late it is undeniable. Opta reckon that Arsenal are the first side to battle back from losing positions to win four consecutive Premier League games. It was a superb team performance last night, but special mention should go to Theo Walcott who turns 23 this week and richly deserved his man of the match award. Possibly the best I’ve ever seen him play.

Somewhat worryingly, Alan Pardew has a pretty good record against the Arsenal - as a manager, at least - ranging from the acrimonious 1-0 defeat at West Ham back in 2006, to the even more irritating 4-4 draw at St James’ Park last season. Now would be an excellent time for Arsène to get a spot of revenge, with our boys chasing a fifth straight league win. The squad seems in relatively good shape, allowing for some healthy competition throughout the team. Rosicky and Ramsey can fight it out for the advanced central midfield role, while Oxlade-Chamberlain and Benayoun continue to threaten the automatic selection of Walcott and Gervinho. Surprisingly, all four first team full backs are fit, which could provide quite a boon. Arsenal have won 64 per cent of games with Kieran Gibbs or Andre Santos starting, compared to 38 per cent with neither, according to Opta. When our natural full backs are available, the team appears a lot more impressive going forward. Newcastle concede far more goals on the road than at home, so let’s hope our team can press forward and punish them tonight.

* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.

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13 Mar 2012