Same opposition, same result and it was nice to see our form improving once again. The Tottenham result seems to have helped us a bit and we are finally playing the football we played at the start of the season. We are dominating games again and have our ruthless streak back. It is perfect timing with Man Utd and Milan coming up soon and the run in starts now.
Once more one man stood out. Whereas Adebayor was the main man on Saturday, tonight Mathieu Flamini was awesome. We associate Flamini’s game with hard tackling and platforms for the more attacking players to do their thing. Tonight Flamini combined both of these aspects of midfield play to great effect. Sign him up now!
Even before his galloping run through the Newcastle ranks, he had been getting into the box and into dangerous positions. However, his drive and positivity to get beyond the defence of Newcastle to create the first goal was fantastic to see; something Theo could learn! He added skill with power and delivered the perfect cross for any striker. It left Ade two yards out with the easy job of just connecting with the ball. He did not have to generate any power on the ball and could not miss. There was a reason Fabregas went straight to Flamini rather than Adebayor, the scorer had been given a present.
Flamini basically outshone Fabregas and Hleb in the midfield but they both linked up well. Cesc pushed on further as many fans have wanted him to and came so close to opening Newcastle up with some delightful passes. It was nice to see him on the scoresheet again, the first time since the Man Utd game on November 3rd. Hleb showed some great skill and passing but he does need to shoot sometimes, especially when it’s teed up on a plate 12 yards out.
Hleb started on the right as expected but what I picked out was how well Fabregas played from the right. He had the same role towards the end on Saturday and had plenty more freedom to dictate play in a less congested area. Today he did the same and got into two great scoring opportunities within minutes of moving out there. I remember his early first team career and in a lot of those games similar things happened. With injuries to Rosicky and maybe Diaby, it is a thought for Wenger if he wants to start Gilberto (god forbid!) but towards the end of games when we need control it could be an interesting tactic.
Diaby is getting better as he gets games. He passed the ball far quicker today and used his strength to great effect. He is due to sign a new contract according to arsenal.com and I would like to see him infield at some point, maybe with Cesc on the right? Would be a change worth looking at in my opinion.
The back four were largely untroubled, a few dodgy and unnecessary moments aside, Newcastle posed little threat until the last 5 minutes and Senderos again had a dominant game. The full backs were especially good. Given the freedom to get forward, they did not disappoint and put in some tasty crosses, especially Sagna. Almunia was untested for most of the game but held on well when Ameobi finally tested him. His positioning for the freekick on the edge of the box bemused me a bit, he was so far across towards his left post, any lower and the ball was in. No matter, the game was won I guess.
Although he did not light up the game like Saturday, Adebayor still led the line brilliantly and was a menace throughout. He has now scored in 7 games in a row and long may it continue. Eduardo was not on his best form but showed glimpses of his best play. It will be interesting when Van Persie returns (2-3 weeks apparently – that means 2 months probably). Nicklas Bendtner also did well when he came on, setting up Cesc perfectly for the goal and winning the ball in the air a few times. It seems Adebayor and Bendtner have made up; head butts were not the order of service at the Emirates.
We are back to the top of the league for 24 hours at least but we have to keep trying to close down the goal difference. Roll on City on Saturday and nice to see the team playing well again