Post-Match Report

Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle United - Match report

Robin van Persie slams home Arsenal's second goal

Newcastle United -

Emirates Stadium
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
3 0
  Newcastle United
Newcastle United

By Richard Clarke

What a difference a week makes. 

Seven days ago, Arsenal were outplayed and outfought by a team in black and white. As a result, their entire campaign came under scrutiny.

This afternoon, 10 of those 11 players were asked to repair their reputation against another team in black and white. They responded with a performance of champions.

Robin van Persie scored with a penalty and a close-range shot in a lop-sided first half. Denilson added another just before the hour.

In the end it was 3-0 but it could have been double that. Newcastle were listless all afternoon and their only real danger came from Michael Owen. Even that was fleeting.

The home fans were singing the name of Emmanuel Adebayor by the end. A significant moment in, perhaps, a significant week. 

Of course, Arsenal won’t win anything on the back of this performance like they did not lose anything at Craven Cottage. The real benefit will be to their confidence. 

And, if you are wondering about the player who did not feature last week but did today, it was Cesc Fabregas.

Of course, the Spaniard had made his competitive comeback on Wednesday in the 4-0 drubbing of Twente. 

Compared to that side, there were three changes. Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor resumed their regular positions at the expense of Johan Djourou. 

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Eboue came in on the right for Theo Walcott.

Having struggled so strangely at Fulham, Arsenal seemed intent on showing their true colours straight from the kick-off this afternoon.

In the first 90 seconds they had shout for a penalty when Fabricio Coloccini appeared to bring down Van Persie close to the byline. 

A couple of minutes later, the Dutchman clipped a corner to the near post, Bacary Sagna flicked on and William Gallas seemed certain to sweep home from five yards out. Somehow he hacked his shot over the bar. 

The early Arsenal fire continued to smoulder when Kolo Toure strode forward and left fly from 30 yards with a drive that was turned brilliantly round the post. 

It took a further 10 minutes for Arsenal to create the goal but, territorially, they were in total control. 

The strike owed something to good fortune. Adebayor’s cross from the right certainly hit the outstretched arm of Charles N’Zogbia. However it was one of those decisions that is sometimes given, sometimes not. This afternoon referee Rob Styles pointed to the spot. 

Newcastle keeper Shay Given went the right way but Van Persie’s spot-kick was near-perfect – low, fast and whipped into the sidenetting.

Arsenal now had their strut back. The confidence so lacking last week was back in abundance.

Van Persie was clipped has he ran laterally just outside the area. The Dutchman took the kick himself and forced a flying open-handed stop from Given.

A couple of minutes later, Toure rattled a drive into sidenetting. It was more than one-way traffic. It was like a motorway heading directly at Newcastle’s goal.

That said, Michael Owen had a wonderful opportunity to equalise eight minutes before the break. Jonas Gutierrez skipped past Fabregas and Gael Clichy on the right and his cross found the England striker unmarked at far post. His shot was poor but the proximity of team-mate Shola Ameobi may have put him off. 

However normal service was restored soon afterwards. 

Firstly, Adebayor burst through to trickle a shot wide. Then, four minutes from the whistle, Van Persie got his second.

Eboue nudged the ball to Adebayor on the right and raced into the area to get the return. The Ivorian was facing away from goal but was aware the Dutchman had scampered into the area behind him. Eboue’s clever back-heel allowed a sliding Van Persie to stab home from eight yards. 

You sensed that was game over. But Owen was proving to be a continual threat. In injury time he drifted a far-post header just over the bar.

Arsenal appeared content with their lead immediately after the break. Nicky Butt even caused a minor scare by scuffing a header on to the top of the bar. 

However the home side secured the points just before the hour when Samir Nasri cut inside and Adebayor cleverly fed Denilson to slot home from the edge of the area. A beautifully-crafted goal.

Two minutes later, Van Persie collected the ball close to the left-hand byline, beat his marker and lashed an audaciously angled drive against the underside of the bar.

It was the Dutchman’s final contribution. Seconds later he was substituted for Carlos Vela; the Mexican’s first competitive appearance for Arsenal.

The party had now officially started. The fans celebrated by singing the name of Adebayor and Gael Clichy, still to score as a pro, tried his luck from 30 yards. 

More chances followed. Toure hammered a header into the chest of Given with 16 minutes left,  Nasri’s free-kick forced another fine save from Given and Gallas saw his effort cleared off the line.

But the closest Arsenal would come to another 4-0 was in the 88th minute when an unmarked Walcott collected Adebayor’s pass on the right of the area. 

He had time and space to shoot but dragged his shot wide. 

The whistle blew soon afterwards. 

It has been a good week.


Referee: Rob Styles
Attendance: 60067

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