Wenger back in good books of Gunners fans after Newcastle romp
What a difference a week makes. With the clock ticking down chants of “there’s only one Arsene Wenger” rang out around the Emirates with Arsenal 4-1 up against Newcastle United.
Olivier Giroud ,who came out in support of his manager last week after Wenger received a barrage of criticism following the team’s 3-2 defeat to Stoke, bagged a brace and delivered a man of the match performance to help take the Gunners within two points of the Premier League top four.
Arsenal dominated from start to finish and were unlucky not to be ahead after seven minutes, when Per Mertesacker got his head to a Santi Cazorla corner, which rattled the crossbar with goalkeeper Jak Alnwick beaten. Not long after, the hosts were ahead.
A fine move, culminated in Alexis Sanchez delivering an inviting ball into the area from the right, where the onrushing Giroud met it gratefully to power a header home.
Two minutes later, it could and should have been advantaged doubled. Danny Welbeck charged into the area from the left channel, received the through ball and dinked it deliciously over Alnwick and into the net, only for referee Lee Mason to disallow it. Welbeck was adjudged to have tangled with Daryl Janmaat, who went down suspiciously easy.
It was more of the same after break, as the barrage continued. Cazorla got on the end of a superbly crafted move and deftly lifted it in from an acute angle to make it 2-0.
By this point, Arsenal were in full flow. Four minutes later, right back Hector Bellerin, who really came of age here, drilled an excellent ball into the box and Giroud finished boldly with the outside of his left boot.
This game was now beyond Newcastle and Gunners fans might have been forgiven for thinking they were watching former favourites, Thierry Henry or Dennis Bergkamp.
In what was perhaps the only mistake the home side made, Ayoze Perez was unmarked from Jack Colback’s free kick, though take nothing away from his finish. A cute diving, glancing near pos header found its way through the defence into Arsenal’s net, though it was merely a consolation.
When Welbeck won a penalty with two minutes of normal time remaining, it was birthday boy Cazorla who was on hand. A cheeky, yet sublime little chip down the middle fooled the young and inexperienced Alnwick to seal all three points for the Gunners.