|Olivier Giroud ended his tough time in front of goal with a header that won us the game|
One of the most positive things to come out of the game despite the win, was Olivier Giroud getting on the score-sheet. The French striker has come under heavy criticism lately due to him not scoring as regularly as he did at the beginning of the campaign. He was a bit laboured in this game again and didn't offer a huge amount going forward. His interlinking play wasn't as good as it could be. Despite that he won us the game and rescued us in what was a stalemate up to then. Theo Walcott put in a good free-kick, a rarity for him, and all Giroud had to do was get a touch to it to give us the lead.
With Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey both missing, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere had to step up and provide us with creativity. Although they weren't as effective as their team-mates they certainly stood out ahead of most players on the pitch. Jack Wilshere was given the chance to play in his preferred deep lying role in midfield and distributed the ball well and was able to dictate the tempo of the game to his liking, which is what he's so good at. Tomas Rosicky was playing his 200th game for the club and his leadership and passion was demonstrated in a man of the match display. The Czech's work rate is second to none and he played a key part in our attacking play.
Through large parts of the game though you could see that we were heavily missing Ozil. I noticed something that goes un-recognised in most games the German plays in. Today we didn't have as much time and space on the ball. That was because Ozil is so good at drifting into space, dragging players towards him in order for his team-mates to be available for a pass. That wasn't able to happen today, and was probably the reason that our best chance and our goal came from a set-piece.
Meanwhile there was another clean-sheet to add to our impressive defensive record this season. Thomas Vermaelen had provided able deputy whilst Koscielny was out injured and despite a few nervy moments from the French centre half he put in a confident display with Mertesacker once again. There's an incredible stat that outline the pairings partnership; when Per and Laurent have completed 90 minutes together we have not lost a game since January 2012. A formidable pairing and shows why we're currently sitting at the top of the League. They've contributed to the side that have won the most points out of any Premier League side in 2013. This calendar year we have amassed 82 points, hopefully we'll see a similar sort of record in 2014.
Next up is Cardiff on new year's day. Lets hope we can start 2014 in the same way we ended 2013, with a win and sitting pretty at the top of the division. Cardiff are currently in disarray with no manager and a chairman that doesn't seem as though he has a clue what he is doing. I'm expecting changes with Spurs in mind next weekend in the FA Cup. I'm also expecting us to get all three points in a convincing manner.
The teams lineups:
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Anita(74), Tiote, Cabaye, Sissoko(78), Gouffran(62), Remy.
Subs: Elliot, Haidara(78), Yanga-Mbiwa, Sammy Ameobi, Ben Arfa(62), Shola Ameobi(74), Cisse.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs(70), Flamini, Wilshere, Walcott(80), Rosicky, Cazorla, Giroud(86).
Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson(80), Arteta(70), Ryo, Gnabry, Podolski, Bendtner(86).
My man of the match: Tomas Rosicky.
Referee: Lee Probert.