My temp job is over now so things should be back to normal soon enough.
Saturday saw Arsenal end 2012 on a high with a 7-3 thrashing of Newcastle at the Emirates. Theo Walcott opened the scoring after Lukas Podolski played him in. That finish was very much like the man who used to wear the number 14 at the club. Arsenal were pegged back on the stroke of half time when Demba Ba, now off to Chelsea it seems (what a difference a few days makes, eh?), levelled the scores after his free-kick deflected in off of Jack Wilshere.
In the second half, it began to rain goals. 5 minutes into the half, Newcastle’s poor throw-in went straight to an Arsenal shirt before Santi Cazorla provided the perfect ball for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to hit home Arsenal’s second. The visitors got themselves level once again when Sylvain Marveaux took advantage of some bad Arsenal defending to tap into an empty net with an hour played.
A fine run and cross by Jack Wilshere allowed Lukas Podolski to head Arsenal back in front from close range before poor marking by Kieran Gibbs allowed Ba in for his second goal of the game. What a game this was turning out to be. Alan Pardew clearly signalled to his side that they can’t afford to concede again. They were tired having played on Boxing Day, unlike the hosts who had the day off.
Walcott put Arsenal back in front after Podolski missed his chance to grab his second, but Walcott clipped in the fourth just seconds later and Arsenal had the lead again. The game had been going back and forth and you wondered whether Newcastle had anything left.
Substitute Olivier Giroud made sure of all three points with a brace late on. One was a diving header, another a shot from range. Walcott then proceeded to put the icing on the cake by scoring the 7th in the last minute. He appeared to be fouled in the penalty area before he got up and put the ball in the back of the net. I have no doubts if he had stayed down, the referee would have pointed to the spot. Giroud could have scored his third a few moments later, but he hit the woodwork unfortunately.
Southampton 1-1 Arsenal – 1st January 2013:
Arsenal drew 1-1 at Southampton on New Year’s Day. A disappointing performance and a disappointing result that shows how inconsistent Arsenal can be. You think, we were scoring 7 against Newcastle a few days earlier and barely had a shot against a team fighting relegation. A dismal display really.
There’s not a lot to talk about really. Gaston Ramirez gave Southampton the lead 34 minutes in before Arsenal levelled the scores with 5 minutes left in the first half when a Theo Walcott free-kick went in off of Southampton’s Guly Do Prado. Laurent Koscielny would have probably scored the goal anyway, Do Prado was trying to avoid Koscielny scoring and hoping it would go out for a corner instead.
Ramirez then saw a second half goal chalked off for a foul on Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny had to make a few good saves to keep the scores at 1-1.
My comments on this game are as follows – Gervinho and Ramsey on for Cazorla and Chamberlain when you’re pursuing a winner?! Why?!
Our next three league games are City at home, Chelsea away and Liverpool at home. We are already trailing both Chelsea and Spurs in the race for Champions League qualification. Bad results in those three fixtures would leave it looking very difficult.