Kai Havertz and Bukayo Saka lead Arsenal to a dominant victory over Newcastle.

Estimated read time 5 min read

Previously filled with anger, there were now only beams of sunlight. Mikel Arteta had been extremely upset in November when Arsenal lost by a small margin at St James’ Park, hardly able to convey his shock at the VAR rulings that impacted the result.

This fixture had enough spice in its recent history to suggest fireworks and Arteta had made a point of asking the Emirates choirs to hit new decibel levels. His team struck a perfect pitch of their own and, assuming this is to be a three-way title race until the end, they show no sign of being the spare wheel.

Both Arteta and Eddie Howe had no complaints about the game. Newcastle’s team was completely dominated by Arsenal, who won all of the individual battles in the first half. Arsenal has now won six consecutive league games, with an overall score of 25-3. Despite only having 72 hours to recover from their previous loss against Porto, Arsenal played at a much faster pace than their opponents. The manager should be proud of their performance.

“We are currently in a positive state,” Arteta expressed. “Our performance is smooth and we are able to score goals in various manners. Above all, we strive for more. After scoring one, we aim for two, three, or even four. I admire this mindset from the team.”

In the second half, Newcastle managed to gain a slight advantage when Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka scored a goal after Kai Havertz took advantage of a mistake by the error-prone Sven Botman. This increased Arsenal’s lead to three goals.

Almost immediately Jakub Kiwior’s header sneaked in via a sizeable deflection off Lewis Miley and these were the sequences that gave Arteta particular joy. Arsenal are putting teams away where once they might have gifted them a route back. Howe might have smelt possibility after the restart but encountered opponents who have learned to be ruthless.

However, despite being two goals ahead, Arsenal’s superior performance and level of play were not accurately reflected. Arteta acknowledged this by saying, “It could have been much more today as well, we have to demand that.” Howe initially believed that Newcastle had successfully defended against Arsenal’s attacks early on, but they soon realized that the pressure from Arsenal was relentless. Unlike the previous season’s match which was uneventful and ended in a draw, there was never a moment where Newcastle could have held out against Arsenal’s constant attacks.

Loris Karius, who hadn’t played in the Premier League for almost six years due to Martin Dubravka’s illness, made impressive saves against Saka and Declan Rice in the first 10 minutes. However, he was unable to stop the goal when it came. Saka’s corner from the right was met by a high-flying Gabriel Magalhães, and although Karius did his best to save the header, the ball ended up bouncing off Botman and then Tino Livramento before crossing the line. Despite Karius’ efforts to smother the ball, it had already gone in.

Gabriel’s header is deflected off Sven Botman to give Arsenal the lead.

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Howe admitted that we were aware of the corners and could have performed better. Arsenal is skilled at set pieces in the present day and, although the goal was partly due to chance, the initial execution of the routine was perfectly executed by their specialist coach Nico Jover.

Open play proved equally fruitful. Jorginho was masterful on his return to the starting lineup and, when Newcastle’s latest aimless clearance was recycled his way, he lofted a clever pass into the path of Gabriel Martinelli’s run. Martinelli had darted from the left side over to Arsenal’s right and, after cushioning the ball while in full flight, pulled it back from the byline. In dashed Havertz to convert emphatically from six yards and the outcome was all but sealed.

Howe expressed great disappointment with the first half, stating that their lack of competitiveness was uncharacteristic of the team. This was evident when Schär allowed Ødegaard to easily steal the ball, but Longstaff’s intervention prevented a potential goal from Havertz. Martinelli also missed a header and Karius made a good save from Saka, while Newcastle did not have any shots on goal.

After the restart, there was a glimmer of hope when Havertz missed an easy scoring opportunity. This changed the atmosphere slightly and Alexander Isak, who had a strong performance, had two close chances while Anthony Gordon also showed some promising moments on the left. However, Arsenal seemed to be prepared and ready to take advantage of any errors. Saka made a clever move and shot low past Karius, and Kiwior’s flick from a corner at the near post made Jover’s night even better.

Joe Willock, who came back from an injury, scored a goal with a curved header against his former team. However, Newcastle was still outplayed. They have allowed 31 goals in 12 games, a stark contrast to the worries of their rival coach, Howe. Arteta, manager for Arsenal, stated that they need to have confidence in their ability to turn things around in the remaining games of the season. At the moment, it’s difficult to see it happening.

Source: theguardian.com

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