Three talking points from Arsenal's narrow home victory over Newcastle United
Arsenal returned to winning ways in the Premier League, but they were far from convincing as they struggled to a 1-0 home victory over Newcastle United. They were the better team and deserved the three points, but supporters will have gone home disappointed that it wasn’t a more convincing win. The goal came through Mesut Ozil, as he displayed his excellent technical ability by volleying a dropping ball past Rob Elliot. It was the only piece of class on show at the Emirates Stadium and was deserving of winning a Premier League game. Here are three talking points to come out of Saturday’s games:
Ozil reminded the world of his brilliance
It has been a quiet season for Mesut Ozil, after a long summer of speculation regarding his future. The realistic Arsenal supporters realise that the German international is likely to be on his way out of the club in 2018, but he hasn’t stopped giving his all for the club and he deserves to be respected for his efforts. During the last few matches, the Gunners have lacked a quality final ball and that has resulted in a lot of good opportunities being wasted.
Ozil is usually known for his creative spark, but he was on hand to deliver a show-stopping volley to give Arsenal the three points on Saturday. It was a goal worth of winning any game and the midfielder reminded the world that he can score great goals. The January window will bring fresh speculation and it could be that the Gunners are forced to sell the German rather than lose him on a free during the summer. One or two more goals like this will cause increased interest in his services.
Newcastle are in another relegation fight
After a good start to life back in the Premier League, Newcastle United have taken only one point from a possible 24 and Saturday saw them fall into the relegation zone. A 1-0 defeat against a top-six club isn’t bad in isolation, but this came after a run of awful results and the supporters are getting nervous about what could be awaiting the club in 2018. It is difficult to see where their next victory will come from.
However, the more positive Newcastle supporters will have seen green shoots of recovery in their performance. The defence looks solid again and a big reason for that has been the return of Jamaal Lascelles. The captain is integral to the team as he provides both organisation and leadership skills to the back four. During the second half, the players showed a fighting spirit that has been lacking in recent weeks and they had chances to equalise. This is a results business, but there are reasons to believe this awful run of form is coming to an end.
The Lacazette problem remains for Arsene Wenger
The Arsenal manager decided to recall the striker to the starting eleven on Saturday, but his performance wasn’t one that will cement his position in the team. He had four attempts on goal and his movement was lively, but the quality of his end product wasn’t great. There was one opportunity in the second half that displayed the casual approach that can drive the Arsenal supporters up the wall. He was through on goal and tried an ambitious lob rather than drive the ball at goal with power. It didn’t cause Rob Elliot any problems.
At times, he was casual in possession, as shown by his pass accuracy. The striker completed only 70% of his passes and did lose the ball in good areas on several occasions. There is no doubting his ability, but he can be frustrating to watch. Arsene Wenger has been criticised for his management of Lacazette, but Olivier Giroud is more reliable at times and until the club’s number nine can gain the full trust of the manager, he will be rotated.