Matchday Musings: Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
Olivier Giroud back in the goals
After an exceptional start to the season, Olivier Giroud had encountered a purple patch in recent weeks. Before today, his last goal was on November 23 however today he managed to end that run, with a glancing header from a Theo Walcott free-kick. Giroud didn’t have a particularly good game, often wasteful in possession, yet it was important for Arsenal that the French forward managed to rediscover his goalscoring form. With the amount of games Giroud has played this season, Arsene Wenger may look to rest his striker over the new year, and perhaps offer Lukas Podolski the chance to lead the line.
Kieran Gibbs continues to impress
Kieran Gibbs has been in excellent form for Arsenal this season. He has been an ever present fixture for the Gunners at left back, turning in great performances consistently. He has fought of competition from Nacho Monreal, and has started to form a case for selection when the World Cup roles around. His rise at the Emirates has been steady, with him coming up through the ranks and his reputation slowing rising since entering the first team. He is a big part of the British core coming up through the squad and should he continue to improve, he could soon become an integral part of this promising side.
No need to worry for the toon
Newcastle may have lost today, but there is no need to panic for Newcastle. They have had an exceptional first half of the season, and seen many of their players rise to perform extremely well. The way they are playing has started to suggest that they could also have a bearing on what happens on this title race, as so many teams seem to be doing. If they continue to make St James Park a fortress (they’ve only lost there twice this season) they can form a strong base to better their position from previous seasons. They will have to keep Loic Remy scoring goals, and their midfield producing, and then they will have a chance to maybe hit that top four.
Debuchy delivers star performance
Newcastle’s back four last season received a lot of stick after they conceded a vast amount of goals, yet the improvement of certain individuals has meant that the Magpies have been much sturdier at the back. Mathieu Debuchy has been a huge part in this, delivering both an attacking threat as well as solidity at the back. He was outstanding today, taking care of Santi Cazorla and making sure that he had a minor, if any impact on the game. He was also a huge threat going forward, testing Wojiech Szczesny’s goal on a few occasions. Alan Pardew will want this run of form to continue, in order to ensure his defensive unit remains strong.
Great year for the Gunners
If the Premier League was competed over the calender year, Arsenal would be champions. Across 2013 Arsenal accumulated the most points, with Manchester City falling two points short of the North London outfit. It has been a marvellous year for Arsene Wenger’s side, and has given them a great platform to go and win the Premier League for the first time in ten years. Now of course the League isn’t won in the calender year, and Arsenal will need a lot to go on and become Champions. But as we enter the business end of the season, Arsenal fans will be hugely optimistic about their side ending their long wait for a trophy.