We climbed up to third place in the Premier League table on Monday night with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United.
But what did we learn from our professional performance? Read on to find out.
Mesut Ozil has been the scourge of Newcastle in recent times, and he was at it again here. Last year’s corresponding fixture saw Mesut score a stunning volley, and he struck at St James’ Park earlier this season too. Mesut didn’t find the net on Monday but he bewildered the visitors all the same. A nutmeg pass in the first few minutes, a chested pass to Lacazette, a double one-two with Iwobi, a backheel to dazzle two defenders, a delicious ball to play in Aubameyang… this was vintage Ozil and Newcastle could not contain him.
We don’t have much longer to enjoy Aaron Ramsey but he’s going out with a bang, not a whimper. The Welshman was outstanding again, driving us forward and scoring the all-important first goal. Matteo Guendouzi deserves credit for doing the deep-lying work while Ramsey took up advanced positions, and from there he made things happen. After seeing one ‘goal’ ruled out for a foul, Ramsey took his next chance expertly, but the opportunity wouldn’t have been there without Ramsey’s propensity for a forward pass or a forward run. It was his flick that started the move and his nose for goal that put him in a position to latch onto the loose ball once Lacazette had been dispossessed.
A LEGITIMATE GOAL?
While we’re on the subject of Ramsey, he probably should have opened the scoring in the 12th minute. The finish was clinical enough but Sokratis was penalised for a foul on Florian Lejeune. TV replays suggested that the referee was unsighted, while Arsenal Nation Live co-commentator Adrian Clarke was in no doubt. “He [Lejeune] fell to the ground very conveniently… if it’s a tug he should fall the other way. There doesn’t seem to be enough to rule out a legitimate goal.”
It was tough picking a man of the match. Ozil and Ramsey will have their backers, but Alex Lacazette is a prime candidate too. He was a big influence, and it all starts with his hard work and willingness to run for the team. Laca makes short sprints to the outside of the box to offer himself in the channels. He bends his runs over the top to give defenders the option of a long diagonal pass. When he gets the ball, he holds it up and fends off defenders. And when he gets a chance he takes it - he now has 20 Premier League goals for us thanks to that deft lob.
The last time we reeled off 10 straight home wins in the Premier League, it culminated in Arsene Wenger’s first title at the end of his first full season in north London. Highbury became a fortress for the Frenchman and Emirates Stadium is taking on a similar significance for Unai Emery. We’re one of only three of 92 clubs in the English league who have yet to drop a point at home in 2019, and it’s been the bedrock of our climb into the Champions League places. Now we’ve got to improve our away form.
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