Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
Latest News: Arsenal draw 3-3 with Liverpool, goals came from Ramsey and Giroud (x2) - match thoughts to come!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Giroud double secures win over Newcastle

I may as well get the cliché out the way at the beginning; our game against Newcastle was very much one of two halves. In the first half we put in a good attacking display but in the second we spent the majority of the half pegged back. Luckily though Arsenal managed to hold on thanks to a brace from Olivier Giroud. Out of our most recent matches domestically it was probably the least convincing performance I have seen from this team. We looked very comfortable in the first 45 minutes but Newcastle came after us and managed to exploit what weaknesses were on show. Vitally though, we came out with three points to ensure we remained in third place. Unsurprisingly changes were made after the Monaco game in the week. Chambers replaced Bellerin, Gabriel came in for Mertesacker, and Ramsey started over Mesut Ozil who missed the game through illness.
Giroud now has 17 goals in 26 games this season
Arsenal can be hugely thankful of Olivier Giroud for their victory yesterday as he played a pivotal role in aiding the win. The Frenchman has been in incredible form of late and he can't seem to stop scoring. Whenever he has an exceptional game I feel obliged to go back to that first leg against Monaco and stand corrected. That night he was abysmal and in my comments after the game I was perhaps a little harsh on him. However for all the criticism he has received in an Arsenal shirt he's just got out there on the pitch and given his all. Therefore big credit has to go out to him because he's bounced back in phenomenal fashion. One can only begin to imagine the goal tally he would be on if he hadn't had a long spell out through injury.

I think it's safe to say that Olivier Giroud is one of the most under appreciated players in this Arsenal side and in the Premier League. His finishes against Newcastle yesterday were both very instinctive and they showed exactly why he's in the form of his life. Both goals weren't really Arsenal type goals but nonetheless Giroud found the positions and duly obliged in front of goal. The first was from a Cazorla free-kick. The ball was flicked on by Welbeck and then Giroud stuck out a knee to find the back of the net. Four minutes later Cazorla's corner found the French striker who muscled off Williamson to head home. They were two very well taken goals and hopefully he'll continue it to the end of the season. He now has 8 in 6 against Newcastle and 9 in his last 9 outings in all competitions. His form really has been paramount in 2015.

I feel as though that praise from me for Olivier Giroud has been long overdue but unfortunately we have to move onto the negatives. It was a very intense first half but we managed to go into the break two ahead. Because of the amount of effort we had put into our second leg against Monaco in the week I think the players lacked that extra burst of energy required to convincingly get us over the line. Instead we just about made it to the final whistle with all three points.

We were pegged back massively and that didn't help by conceding almost immediately after the break. Ryan Taylor and Remy Cabella were allowed all too easily to link up down the right hand side and then find Sissoko who was bizarrely unmarked on the edge of the area. He consequently slotted the ball past Ospina. From that moment on it was an upward struggle. We couldn't get a hold of the ball and if it wasn't for some desperate defending and some crucial Ospina saves then we probably would've drawn the game. I don't think we were necessarily bad in defence but Calum Chambers was definitely a weak spot. Hector Bellerin needed to start for me but for the first time in a while both full backs seemed to be exposed. Monreal didn't have the greatest of games by his standards recently whilst Chambers continues to be vulnerable out wide rather than in the centre. I did think Gabriel had a good game though and he made himself busy, especially in the opening exchanges.

One aspect of the way Newcastle got back into the match though was through seemingly over crowding the midfield. From my point of view it was the first time in a long time that we exposed ourselves in that area of the pitch. Francis Coquelin had his customary good game but Aaron Ramsey's return to the starting line-up today brought about a number of problems. Santi Cazorla has operated well beside Coquelin and they have formed a very good partnership in the middle of the pitch. However yesterday away from home when both Cazorla and Ramsey were trying to get forward it left a lot of space in the middle of the pitch.

Ramsey was a very frustrating figure yesterday. He had scored in consecutive games before this match and when he offers that kind of option he has a good game. Yesterday it was a different story though. He can perhaps be guilty of over playing at times and trying too hard to do something rather than going simple. His late runs offer a lot but when it goes wrong, like it did yesterday, he denied what could have been Giroud's hat-trick by taking the ball on instead of letting it run for his team-mate.

Saying that, I don't think we need to dwell on performances like Ramsey's yesterday too much. We're in good form and we managed to hold on for a good three points even when we weren't at our best. We now head into the international break off the back of 9 wins in our last 10 Premier League matches. Liverpool at home awaits and here's hoping all our players come back from the break fit and fighting.

The team's line-ups:

Newcastle: Krul, Taylor, Janmaat, Williamson, Colback, Sissoko, Anita(70), Gouffran, Cabella, Ameobi(88), Ayoze.
Subs: Elliot, Satka, Kemen, Obertan, Gutierrez(70), Riviere, Armstrong(88).

Arsenal: Ospina, Chambers, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monrael, Coquelin, Ramsey, Welbeck(88), Cazorla(70), Sanchez(70), Giroud.
Subs: Szczesny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Bellerin(88), Flamini(70), Rosicky(70), Walcott.

My man of the match: Olivier Giroud.

Referee: Mike Jones.
Attendance: 50,544.

No comments:

Post a Comment