“Gunner”-ed To Submission

The Arsenal faithful at the Emirates stadium witnessed absolutely sublime football from their home team as the young Gunners rolled over Newcastle United in their third game of the Barclays Premier League campaign. Arsene Wenger must be feeling relieved after the aberration at Craven Cottage only a week earlier, where the quality of Arsenal’s play left a lot to be desired.


From the very start on a sunny afternoon in North London, Arsenal stamped their authority on the game with slick accurate passing. A lot of experts attribute Arsenal’s invincible record at the Emirates to the amount of possession they manage and it was clearly evident on Sunday as the visitors were left chasing shadows. Robin van Persie and Emanuel Adebayor seemed to combine well from the start as almost every move forward seemed to be destined to finish with a goal. Shay Given though had other ideas and top saves from the Newcastle custodian saved them some of the blushes as he kept his team in the hunt for a while.


It did not take long though for Arsenal to get on the score sheet as Robin van Persie slotted home from the penalty spot after the ball had been handled in the area. It was just the boost the Gunners needed and from then on it was one-way traffic.


Fabregas who was back in the starting line-up, livened up the proceedings with some clever passes down the centre. The second goal didn’t take too much time coming as a stunning sequence of passes culminated in a simple tap in for van Persie again who now was looking more dangerous than he has in the last half year. He again managed to stretch Given from a free-kick from just outside the box but then there was more to come from the Arsenal striker.


The second half started off marginally better for Newcastle as they saw more of the ball during the first ten minutes. Kevin Keegan must have been pleased that his boys were giving it everything even when their opponents were looking ominous. The visitors though were unable to cause the Gunners too much trouble as the back four looked sound. The signs do look good as far as the defense is concerned, with Mikel Silvestre expected to be back by the second week of September. In midfield Samir Nasri played with maturity and he seems to already be justifying Wenger’s biggest buy during the transfer period.


It was the same story for the rest of the second half as Arsenal went in pursuit of more goals. Van Persie rattled the post from close range and looked good for a hat-trick before Wenger decided to bring on Carlos Vela. This positive move from the manager seemed to inspire the youngster as he looked enterprising from the moment he got his first touch. He was willing to run at the defenders and he looks a bright prospect.


The third goal scored by Denilson was another Arsenal special and the game was just about buried by this time. It was a masterful performance from the Gunners and although victory was certain they kept the pressure on the Newcastle defense.


Joey Barton brought on as a substitute didn’t make matters easier for Newcastle following an altercation with Nasri with many feeling that the Arsenal player should have been sent off when he retaliated after being fouled by Barton. Some of the Arsenal players got into a war of words with Newcastle boss Keegan on the conclusion of the game but one could take nothing away from the way the Arsenal players dismantled a team which had only a couple of weeks ago earned a draw at Old Trafford. The 3-0 victory was a fair score-line in what was by far Arsenal’s best performance of the season so far. Wenger should be encouraged by this performance and will be looking forward to the trip to Blackburn in a fortnight.

Hari Ramachandaran

[Image source:http://img1.jurko.net/wall/paper/arsenal01.jpg]