Gunners get a lucky win
An own goal from Newcastle’s captain gifted Arsenal a second win, putting the Magpies in the doldrums
An own goal from Fabricio Coloccini handed an unconvincing Arsenal a 1-0 win over a 10-man Newcastle at St James’ Park yesterday.
The Magpies were left with a mountain to climb after just 16 minutes as Aleksandar Mitrović was controversially sent off for a foul on Francis Coquelin, before Coloccini deflected Alex OxladeChamberlain’s shot into the back of his own net early in the second half.
That goal would eventually prove decisive, with Arsenal going on to seven points from their opening four league matches, while Newcastle could end the weekend in the relegation zone, with just two points so far.
The visitors enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening stages of the match and almost made it count after nine minutes as Hector Bellerin played a first-time pass to find the run of Theo Walcott, but the striker couldn’t get the proper connection on his shot and Tim Krul managed a save.
The Gunners should have had a penalty a few moments later as Florian Thauvin trod on the heel of Bellerin to bring an abrupt end to the fullback’s charge into the box, but the referee inexplicably missed it and waved away the furious appeals.
The match official was again at the centre of controversy a quarter of an hour in as Mitrović, in his first Premier League start for Newcastle, was shown a straight red card for a clumsy studs-up stamp on Coquelin, although a sending off seemed a harsh decision, with many feeling a booking would have sufficed.
The Gunners looked destined to take advantage of the numbers just after the half-hour mark as Krul could only fumble Alexis Sanchez’s strike into the path of Walcott, but the England international, with the entire goal at his mercy, could only contrive to scoop the rebound over the crossbar.
The Tynesiders continued to tread dangerously after the restart after picking up their fourth and fifth bookings of the afternoon, with Vurnon Anita and Georginio Wijnaldum both going into the referee’s notebook for a foul and dissent, respectively.
Arsenal finally made their advantage count after 52 minutes, albeit in fortunate circumstances as Aaron Ramsey’s initial effort was only parried into the path of Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose low drive from the edge of the area took a big deflection off Coloccini before finding the back of the net via the post, with the moment going down as an own goal by the Magpies captain.
The Gunners almost grabbed a second on 66 minutes after some clever interplay on the wing ended with the ball being fed to Santi Cazorla in the area, and although the Spaniard got plenty of purchase on his shot, it was straight at Krul, who was able to make a comfortable stop.
Newcastle barely got a sniff of the ball in the final 30 minutes as Arsenal simply dominated possession, although Arsene Wenger’s men seemed to be lacking creativity in the final third and Krul went largely untested in the closing stages.
Steve McClaren’s men almost caught Arsenal napping at a free kick, which was played short before being whipped into the area, but Koscielny just managed to get there ahead of Papiss Cissé to head clear the danger.
– TeamTalk media
SILKY SKILLS Alex OxladeChamberlain of Arsenal dribbles past Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle United during their Barclays Premier League match at St James' Park yesterday