Newcastle United 2-1 Arsenal

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Press conference

Wenger on handball, VAR and rotation

The Premier League decided on Friday to postpone the introduction of Video Assistant Referees for another season - and Arsene Wenger does not believe it is the right way to go.

The Arsenal manager was asked about it following a key decision that went against us at St James' Park when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's shot appeared to hit Jamaal Lascelles' hand in the area.

This is what he said in his post-match press conference:

on Aubameyang’s shot hitting Lascelles’ hand in the first half…
The referee is the referee. What you want is to have the referees. Unfortunately the Premier League has again decided not to go for VAR and personally I believe that is a very, very bad decision.

on if he’d have implemented VAR…
Yes, because the Premier League has been created with people who had a progressive mind and wanted to be in front of the rest in Europe. It worked. Overall I believe that with that decision we are behind the rest in the world and that every big game this season has been decided by mistakes that could have been avoided with VAR, especially in the Champions League with Manchester City and Liverpool. The young generation is used to [VAR] and worldwide they might move away from us because they see that in other countries they do it.

on if the team changes were down to players being rested…
Some were injured and some were rested because they had not recovered from the number of games we’ve played recently.

on who’s injured…
Ramsey had a wound and couldn’t get into any contact. The rest are little knocks and recovery tests, which weren’t good enough.

on Aubameyang and Lacazette starting together…
It was promising what they did in the first half. In the second half, they were like the rest of the team, less creative. In the first half they created good situations.

Video

Watch the action from the Newcastle game

We were beaten at Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

Despite taking an early lead through Alexandre Lacazette's fine finish, we were pegged back by Ayoze Perez's first-half equaliser, before Matt Ritchie scored the hosts' winner midway through the second period.

You can now watch extended highlights from the game above, plus scroll down for a full match replay, a short bitesize clip and video of all the game's talking points.

 

 

Interview

The difference between the performance and result

We are still waiting for our first point on the road in 2018 after a frustrating defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday.

we spoke to Arsene Wenger after the match and this is what he told Arsenal Media:

on the result...
There's a difference between the performance and the result because I felt we played very well in the first half especially and should have put the game to bed. In the second half I felt the team played with a good spirit but you could see that some players had played on Thursday night, especially late in the game.

on our away form in Europe compared to domestically...
That is a little bit subconscious and psychological as [Europe] is a different competition, the history is not the same weight and that shows you how difficult the game is because the rationality is not always there, but certainly in our minds it plays a part.

on Auba and Laca's partnership...
They were dangerous and I felt what we missed in the first half is just to score a second goal. Overall offensively we were quite dangerous.

on Joe Willock's Premier League debut...
You see the talent and you also see the lack of experience in some situations of the game, but overall I believe it was promising.

Opta's view of how Laca gave us the lead at Newcastle

Auba and Laca combined for our goal at Newcastle

Post-Match Report

Newcastle United 2-1 Arsenal: How it happened

Alexandre Lacazette

WHAT HAPPENED

Alexandre Lacazette was on target but despite a bright attacking performance we were beaten by Newcastle on a frustrating afternoon on Tyneside.

The France international gave us an early lead after combining well with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but Ayoze Perez equalised before the interval and then Matt Ritchie struck the winner for hosts.
 
There was genuine excitement before the game at the prospect of seeing Aubameyang and Lacazette starting together for the first time – and it did not take them long to show why.
 
With just 14 minutes on the clock Shkodran Mustafi played a pinpoint lofted pass to Aubameyang to the left of the area and after taking a touch, it looked like the forward would try his luck.
 
Instead the Gabon striker curled a lovely left-footed pass towards the back post where Lacazette was racing in, and he diverted it into the roof of the net.

Alexandre Lacazette scores against Newcastle

Aubameyang saw a shot deflected just wide moments later, before then setting up Iwobi for an effort that was held by Martin Dubravka.
 
We looked in control, but just before the half-hour mark Newcastle equalised as DeAndre Yedlin curled one in from the right and Perez nipped in at the near post to beat Petr Cech.
 
Calum Chambers twice went close before the interval, while Premier League debutant Joe Willock dragged a good opportunity wide as we continued to press.
 
Iwobi flashed one over the bar just after the restart, but the second half was not quite as open as the first as the game became more of a midfield battle.

Alex Iwobi

Neither side were finding it easy to create opportunities, but with 22 minutes remaining Ritchie put the hosts in front when finished calmly from 12 yards out.
 
Kenedy then hit the bar with a deflected shot before Perez hit the sidenetting moments later as Newcastle tried to put the game to bed in the closing stages.
 
We pushed and probed in the final moments but could find no way through, as we slipped to another defeat on the road.

HOW IT HAPPENED

See how the match unfolded and get the standout stats with our play-by-play commentary.

WHAT IT MEANS

Premier League table post-Newcastle (a)

WHAT’S NEXT

We host West Ham United at Emirates Stadium next Sunday in the Premier League, before returning to Europa League action four days later against Atletico Madrid.
 
We drew 0-0 against West Ham at the London Stadium in December, before beating them 1-0 in the Carabao Cup less than a week later courtesy of Danny Welbeck’s first-half goal.


AUBA AND LACA WATCH

There was real intrigue at a first start for the Lacazette-Aubameyang partnership, and they looked a constant danger at St James’ Park.
 
Here are the pair’s key moments:
 
7 - Lacazette drags a shot wide from the edge of the area
 
14 - Mustafi plays a long ball into Aubameyang in the area, he takes a touch and hooks it across goal for Lacazette to fire in

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates his opening goal at Newcastle

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates his opening goal at Newcastle

17 - Rapid break and Iwobi finds Aubameyang flying up the left and he cuts inside but his shot is deflected behind for a corner
 
21 - Aubameyang flicks it on for Iwobi in the box, he wriggles to find some room and toe-pokes it at goal but it’s saved
 
43 - Lacazette pounces on a defensive error and races in on goal and looks to find Willock in the area, but he slices his shot at goal
 
84 - Lacazette latches on a loose ball in the area after Dubravka fails to hold a high ball, but his shot from a tight angle hits the sidenetting

Interview

Cech - Second goal sums up our away form

Matt Ritchie scores past Petr Cech

Petr Cech cut a frustrated figure after we slipped to another defeat on the road on Sunday as we were beaten by Newcastle.

Afterwards he spoke to the media and this is what he said:

on whether we should have had the game won by half-time…
I think that we started well. After going 1-0 up, we were in control. At that point, I thought we’d been doing really well. Unfortunately they managed to score a goal, but in the second half it stayed the same way. We were pretty much in control and we tried to find the openings, the winning goal, but we didn’t create enough in the second half to be dangerous enough. I think the second goal kind of sums up our away season. We collectively made a number of mistakes at the same time which led to their goal, and we devalued our work during the game with a situation like that. I think that it’s happened more frequently than normal over the course of the season, and it’s obviously cost us our position in the league table.

on whether the game started to get away from us once Newcastle equalised…
No. We know that they’re playing to stay in the league and for them, it was a huge game. You can see that they had nothing to lose. Once they were 1-0 down, they stuck to their plan, defended well and then waited for the counter-attack. They used quick balls behind, so we knew they were going to continue like that. The second goal is obviously a big blow for us and it helped them to get a lot of confidence. After that it became very difficult. I would say that it sums up our away form the season.

on whether this game came at the wrong time…
No, I wouldn’t say so. We changed the lineup but we did really well in the first half. Having gone 1-0 up, I thought that we were in control and played some good football. We had some possibilities to score a second goal which we didn’t take or we didn’t find the final pass. They scored a goal which obviously helped them to regain confidence, then they could stick to their plan for the second half. They defended very well, were well organised and tried to counter quickly behind us. We tried to break them down in the second half, which was not happening because we couldn’t create enough in the second half. We were still in control of the game but unfortunately we made a series of errors for the second goal which decided the game. It wasn’t just one mistake, it was a few.

on the reasons behind our disappointing away form…
I don’t think we can [find a reason] because we’ve been battling with it this far and we still haven’t found the answer. We still have games to play and we need to make sure we are ready to finish well.

on how big the challenge is to make sure we’re still in Europe next season…
We have a semi-final of the Europa League to play, and we also have remaining Premier League games which we need to try to win to give ourselves a chance.

 

Press conference

Wenger - How to get out of a negative away spiral

Having dominated the first half at St James’ Park, Arsene Wenger admitted afterwards that it was “very harsh to swallow” losing to Newcastle United.

The result means we are still to pick up a point on the road in 2018 and afterwards the Arsenal manager faced the media. This is what he said:
 
on the game…
It’s a bit the story of the season. We had 70 per cent of the ball, were 1-0 up and in the end you lose 2-1 and you wonder how you can lose this game. That’s what happened today. I think the game could have been over at half-time. We conceded two goals from nowhere. In the second half I feel that some players paid a little bit physically having played the game on Thursday night in Moscow. We came back on Friday morning late. Overall we played with a good spirit but with a bad result. We have to deal with that unfortunately. It’s very disappointing because I feel it’s very harsh to swallow a defeat like that, and the way we conceded three points today
.
on concerns at losing five league games in a row…
Of course it’s a concern because traditionally we have a very strong record away from home. It has a subconscious weight in our minds. Once you’re in a negative spiral like that, it’s very difficult to get out.
 
on how we get out of that spiral…
By just focusing on the game and on our performances. I feel today the team gave everything and we have to keep playing like that [and] we’ll win games.
 
on if playing well and losing is a worry character-wise…
I do not want to go to different conclusions today. I think it’s very difficult to combine the Europa League on Thursday night and then playing Sunday morning. You play in Moscow, you come home, you play again away from home. This game is a bit special. On top of that I must say the attitude of our team was spot on from the start on. But it didn’t work and I have to be realistic enough to say that maybe our balance offensively and defensively doesn’t work.

The Breakdown

Analysis: What went wrong against Newcastle

We slipped to our fifth successive Premier League defeat on the road in 2018 on Sunday as we were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle United.

In the latest episode of The Breakdown, Adrian Clarke examines the match in detail, focusing on:

    •    How we failed to deal with long passes over the top
    •    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Granit Xhaka's displays
    •    The contrast between thew first and second-half displays
    •    Alexandre Lacazette's fine performance up front 

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