Newcastle vs Arsenal: Instant Reaction
Sweet revenge over a very unlikable Newcastle team
Two wins in a row, over 80 points, guaranteed second place!
Headline: Arsenal Enjoy the Sweet Taste of Revenge
The match last season at St. James’ Park helped end Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four finish. Newcastle bossed Arsenal with their size advantage and a depleted Arsenal team couldn’t handle it.
They tried to do something similar today, coming out and trying to blitz Arsenal to start the match, nearly turning that flurry of shots almost into an early goal. After an incorrectly called handball Arsenal seemed to regain their footing in the match and started to play significantly better.
Arsenal’s opening goal was against the run of play but also seemed to really take the pressure off Arsenal who put together a solid phase of play through the end of the first half. In the period after the VAR reversal Arsenal had 7 shots (1.2 expected goals) and 2 big chances, thankfully they did not come to rue the missed chances to make it a more comfortable 2-goal lead during this period.
The second half from Arsenal was not their best giving up a few good looks as the match restarted but they did enough to grab a second through some good work from Martinelli and then see things out pretty comfortably in the final few minutes.
Overall I think that this was a good defensive performance from an Arsenal team that had been struggling.
The first few minutes were nervy but really not that threatening, when a ball hits the post it feels a lot more dangerous than perhaps it actually was but after the fast start Newcastle had just 6 more shots in the final 80+ minutes of the match. They did end up with a pair of decent chances after halftime but it thankfully it didn’t turn into a goal. This was a good match from Aaron Ramsdale (1.01 xG on target from my model), who I have been giving a bit of criticism lately for his shot-stopping.
I think that Mikel Arteta got his subs pretty much spot on. Kieran Tierney came in and really helped shut down the threat on the right from Newcastle. Thomas Partey coming in to help with midfield was a great call. Overall this felt like Arteta learning to be a bit more pragmatic to help see a match to its conclusion and I think that was a big positive from him.
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