Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1
( Coloccini og 52 )

Arsenal secured a well deserved win on Tyneside against a robust Newcastle whose intention of a physical approach against the Gunners was to back fire when summer signing Aleksandar Mitrovic was sent off after 16 minutes for a studs up challenge on Francis Coquelin. The Arsenal hard man would become the focus of more such over the top attention, but the Gunners would ultimately wrap up the points through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s second half drive which clipped Fabricio Coloccini on its way past Tim Krul. A win going into the international break is always welcome, and given the ‘average start,’ Arsene Wenger’s men have had to their Premier League campaign, one which the Gunners boss can analyse, with still time to address the inherent deficiencies in his squad.

After the win over the Magpies, Wenger said, ” I believe that we needed to not rush our game, to wait for our chances and to take one of them. I must say that Newcastle decided from the start to make the game quite physical and we had to keep our nerves and not become a little bit aggressive as well. I thought we did that well.

” Afterwards it was a strange game. You play away from home, 11 against 10, and you know that they will play 15 yards deeper, you play 10 against nine in the final third, the crowd is behind their team which puts pressure on the referee, and then it’s very difficult. We didn’t find the space. They defended well and they’ve shown why they didn’t concede at Manchester United as well. We are happy to have the three points and to win 1-0.”

Six points on the road from two games, with only one from two games at the Emirates isn’t the sum total Wenger would have expected. It is still very much in the early days on the new campaign, but the need for a striker has reached almost urgent levels. With Mitrovic’s red card, the hosts ploy to defend deep was to nullify the space and pace Theo Walcott would have expected to have been able to exploit.

The England man should have opened his account before the break. Alexis fired in, and Krul couldn’t collect the ball. Walcott responded the quickest but managed to lift the ball over the bar with Krul on the deck. Krul had earlier saved from Walcott with Hector Bellerin finding the Arsenal number 14 with a cushioned pass. The Spain defender should have been awarded a penalty when Florian Thauvin stamped on his heel as he raced to the byeline, but referee Andre Marriner waived play on.

Despite being a man light, Newcastle continued to employ more of the rough stuff. Moussa Sissoko, Chancel Mbemba and Thauvin were added to Marriner’s notebook and it appeared that the hosts would be a further man down if they continued in this vain.

Goalless at the break, and Arsenal emerged for the second half, intent on getting the games opener. Newcastle were under sustained attack, and when Krul couldn’t hold Aaron Ramsey’s shot, the rebound fell to Oxlade-Chamberlain. His low drive clipped Colocini and past Krul for the Gunners’ opener.

Steve McLaren was forced to switch tactics as his side who held Manchester United to a 0-0 last weekend tried to respond their vociferous fans. The ploy played well into the Gunners hands as Alexis caught Ramsey’s pass, but saw Krul keep the ball out. Wenger brought on Giroud, and the France striker should have doubled his side’s advantage, but chose finesse over power with only Krul ahead of him, the Newcastle keeper held on to a tame effort. Wenger however was pleased with the qualities of the away win.

” It was important. We know we’ll turn it round at home so it was important mathematically not to drop points today, not to be too far from the top teams. It was important mentally as well because we dropped points at home. We had two different away games at Newcastle and Crystal Palace but we’ve got six points. That is very good.”