Sunday, 22 March 2015

Giroud’s Brace Rescues Gunners at St James Park

Arsenal were so close yet so far in the mid-week where they gave a brave battle against Monaco where it ended 2-0, one goal short of qualifying to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Few signs of lethargies and drop in ambition in the second half bothered them in the second half, however the stubborn backline of the FA Cup holders scrapped through a 2-1 score-line. Olivier Giroud was once again the difference for Arsene Wenger as he notched a sublime brace in the first half, eight goals in the last six matches against Newcastle United, gem finisher! The travelling fans were greatly hoping to see their star striker hit his first hat-trick for the club in the second half but they never came close to do so. The north London club is now with 60 points at third, making a steadfast statement that they are composed mentally to routinely stamp their ticket to Champions League football next season.

Despite missing numerous regular starters such as Fabricio Coloccini and Papiss Cisse, Newcastle United started vibrantly, the pace of Ayoze Perez and forcefulness of Sissoko grew anxious moments for the visitors. Arsenal, slowly yet surely picked up their offensive tempo. Aaron Ramsey came close but lacked an instinctive touch to break the goalless stalemate. In the 23th minute, Arsenal’s man of the moment struck, the gloating Giroud. Danny Welbeck deserves immense credit for the opener as his well-taken header was astutely flicked by the left knee of his attacking partner. After all the hard-work in the opening minutes, the Magpies downright divulge their momentum as the Gunners repetitively pilled pressure on their defense. The home team languished, playing deeper and deeper which got them punished once again. The towering Frenchman scored in the space of five minutes once again, using his strong physique, he outmuscled Mike Williamson from the resulting Santi Cazorla corner, directing an excellent header into the far corner that had Tim Krul no chance of reaching. 

Newcastle United got into the following half with full swing and they found the back of the net with a superb finish by their skipper Moussa Sissoko. A tailor-made cross from Cabella fell precisely for the Frenchman who defeated David Ospina in style. Since then the Magpies kept pressing for an equalizer, endless surge upfront, Perez being their main bull. In the 63rd minute, the Colombian goalkeeper made a marvelous point-blank save from Sissoko’s close range header. Arsene Wenger recognized the space Newcastle were receiving hence brought on Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini, while attacking duo Sanchez plus Cazorla were sacrificed.

Remy Cabella was phenomenal, endless trickery and sprinting through gaps for through passes. Newcastle United’s desire and determination deserves a whole lot of applause. Defensive combatants of Arsenal, Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista had restless second half, couple of vital interventions and strong aerial clearances. Stoppage time of four minutes was presented, surprisingly the Gunners used it up to run down the clock and the match ended 2-1. Completely entertaining encounter where the home side would be rather wretched after their tireless efforts in the second half. Arsenal rode their luck with the rumble of fantasy premier league star-man Olivier Giroud.