Giroud Loves To Score Against Newcastle
First things first, you’ll be delighted to hear that my flu has almost subsided – hazaar!
Arsenal did little to improve my mood on Monday but on reflection it was not as bad as it seemed. The defence managed to hold tight, despite looking shaky for most of the first half, thanks to heroics from Petr Cech. That is exactly what we bought him for.
The West Ham debacle left a bit of a question mark over his head for a few people but I think we saw the real Petr Cech against Liverpool. Some may call it biased exoneration but I believe the mistakes made against West Ham can be explained to an extent. The first goal looked awful but in retrospect he did everything he could.
Poor defensive positioning from the team gave him two options, stay put with a 10% chance of making a save or come out for a 50/50 challenge. You don’t need to be a mathematician to know that, in the moment, with a split-second decision to be made, you have better odds with the 50/50 and therefore it’s the best choice to make. He came out for the ball and we all know what happened next.
The second goal was poor positioning and footwork from him but he should never have been put in the situation. Oxlade-Chamberlain criminally losing the ball that close to his own goal for the umpteenth time put Cech under pressure with little time to react. Yes, Cech was poor and could have done better but let’s cut him some slack and appreciate that in 10 years at Chelsea he’s possibly only had, to my memory, two incidents like that – ironically, both against Arsenal.
We also saw an encouraging performance from Gabriel who has a touch of Koscielny about him which enforces my theory that he is the Laurent succession plan. Chambers in contrast had a woeful first half and left a few people scratching their heads. Credit where it is due, he improved massively in the second half and we can be encouraged by his ability and confidence to play the ball from the back. I’m sure it’s not easy to be thrust into the limelight against a team like Liverpool with little to no notice and be put under relentless pressure. Overall I think he dealt with it well and didn’t allow his mistakes to hold him back.
Newcastle will be a different kind of attacking threat in the sense they are very much an unknown entity to us. McClaren has them playing a different way and they have a relatively fresh looking attack. However, if the Liverpool match was Arsenal’s defence looking shaky I think we can be confident in them holding off Newcastle with a solid performance.
I’d be inclined to start Walcott and use his pace to push the Newcastle defence back, pull them out of shape and create space for Alexis and co behind him to manipulate.
We’ve been woeful with our finishing and I think Theo could be the difference but he has to start, he’s not entirely suited to playing as a substitute – I think the super-sub role is perfect for Oxlade-Chamberlain – and his talents are best used to run the opposition ragged for 70 minutes.
Giroud has history against Newcastle and they are his favourite team to score against so don’t be surprised if he starts and scores.
Arsenal from; Cech, Ospina, Bellerin, Debuchy, Gibbs, Monreal, Gabriel, Chambers, Reine-Adelaide, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Flamini, Coquelin, Özil, Ramsey, Cazorla, Walcott, Giroud.
Cech, Bellerin, Chambers, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Özil, Alexis, Cazorla, Walcott, Giroud
I expect to see substitute appearances from Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“I am not going to say [why I do well against Newcastle] because then there are no more secrets – I need to keep them for me! It is maybe luck or I don’t know, but I really want to keep scoring against them and help the team win the three points” – Olivier Giroud
Last 3 Meetings
- Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal (21.03.2015)
- Arsenal 4-1 Newcastle (13.12.2014)
- Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle (28.04.2014)
Arsenal Last 5 (inc preseason)
Newcastle Last 5 (inc preseason)
Newcastle have had a rough start to the season but let us not forget they’ve had some tricky opposition. St James’ Park has been happy hunting ground for us for a few years now but I don’t expect a cake walk.
McClaren, for all the ridicule he took for the umbrella and the phoney Dutch accent (which is in my top 5 funny football moments of all time), is a really good manager, solid tactician and shrewd buyer. He’ll get Newcastle comfortably into the top half of the table this season and he’ll do it with a mixture of solid defensive work and rapid counter attacks.
Arsenal must be wary of new striker Mitrovic who Gooners will remember for his goal in the Banterlecht fixture.
- Arsenal have won their last seven games against Newcastle, scoring 20 goals and conceding just six
- Newcastle could remain winless in their opening four Premier League matches for the second consecutive season
- The Gunners have failed to score in five of their last nine league games
- Fit again Papiss Cisse could make his 100th league appearance
- Giroud has scored eight goals in six games against Newcastle
2-0 to Arsenal.
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