Oct 282010

Newcastle 0 Arsenal 4 (Krul og 45, Walcott 53, 88, Bendtner 83)
(Carling Cup 4th Round)

In all competitions last season we managed a paltry four clean sheets in 28 games away from home, a statistic that tells you a great deal about why we ended the campaign empty handed. The last shutout was a goalless draw at Aston Villa in January, and it remained our most recent until Sunday’s 3-0 win at Eastlands, Fabianski doing a great deal to finally end the run.

As a result, while all the pundits focus on our extraordinary scoring feats, I find myself particularly pleased that the weekend’s win has been quickly followed by another blank in the opposition column. Again, an excellent goalkeeping display was at the heart of the success, although it would be remiss of me not to mention the terrific job Koscielny and Djourou did in shielding young Szczesny from a spirited Newcastle side.

But when the Pole was called upon, he excelled – tipping Alan Smith’s piledriver on to the bar before making a series of excellent blocks as the hosts threatened in the second half. Even more impressive was the way he commanded his area, ordering the defence around and acting decisively. The final act of the match was fitting, the young keeper punching a corner almost to the halfway line – it was symptomatic of his dominant display.

By then, however, pace and skill at the other end had seen off the Newcastle challenge, aided by some dodgy defending and a comedy moment from the opposing number one – Krul had made a series of decent saves in the first half, but in the final seconds spilled a routine catch, and when Ryan Taylor tried to head the ball off the line, he only succeeded in nodding it against the back of his keeper’s head and in.

It was two shortly after the break as Walcott ran through the dink the ball beautifully over Krul, although Newcastle have cause to complain that the retreating Bendtner blocked Williamson as Theo bore down on goal. That Walcott would not have been caught is irrelevant – a foul is a foul and we would have complained vociferously had the tables been turned.

The Dane got the third in the final ten minutes when Cesc, on as a substitute, set him up to finish in style, and then Walcott wrapped up the rout with another cool finish at the end. Six goals for Walcott now this season, despite only three starts and three sub appearances – not a bad return by any standards.

There was still time for Joey Barton to be Joey Barton, taking out his frustration first on Eastmond and then Cesc, two quite idiotic challenges that earned him just a single yellow card. With his chequered past, and his repeated chances, you would think that if he were ever to grow up, he would have by now.

But all in all, it was a highly satisfying evening, made all the better by a full strength West Ham team, who we face on Saturday afternoon, being forced into extra time. The only real blot was another injury to Gibbs, a result of his own tackle early in the first half. The poor lad looked distraught coming off, and you have to worry that his knee is badly hurt. Fingers crossed for good news, but it doesn’t look promising.

A word too on the team selection – many are claiming that tonight showed a change in policy from Wenger, that he was taking the competition more seriously, but I don’t see it that way. We made nine changes from Sunday’s win, with Denilson and Djourou being the only two players to keep their place, and neither are first choice. That we looked strong was down to the large squad that everyone claims we don’t have.

So we move into the quarters yet again. After Spurs and Newcastle away, it would be great to get a home tie, but I have a funny feeling we’ll be off to Villa Park for another tough encounter. Just a hunch.

Mind you, we’ve got the hang of these away clean sheets now. Bring it on.

  17 Responses to “Another away clean sheet almost as satisfying as the goals”

  1. that last minute punch by szczesny got me all excited..with fabianski having confidence and making big saves and szczesny commanding his box and punching the ball like that, i cant wait for the rest of the season..looks like almunia might not play the rest of the season

    • Yeah, I think Almunia’s time might be drawing to a close. But as a caveat, Fabianski needs to continue his form, and Szczesny’s contract is running down.

  2. I didn’t watch the game, as I had work. But i’ve seen the goals. and they are great goals, by 2 lads I can see scoring a lot of goals this season.
    and I love hearing that Szczesny played well, and showed to people why I’ve been bigging him up to friends. Hopefully City or Madrid wont try and get their hands on him.
    I can see a huge difference in this squad, almost a re-newed hunger in the team, Attacking wise we look the best in the league at the moment, and we have a wide range of players to score goals; for example, we have, Nasir, Chamakh, RVP, Cesc, Arshavin, Vela, Walcott B52, Rosicky, Wilshere, Diaby… etc. all of these attacking players that are fighting for 3-5 places in the team.
    whereas Chelsea have, Drogba, Anelka, Malouda, Kalou, Lampard, Sturridge, Benayoun
    Utd have, Rooney, Berba, Hernandez, Giggs, Scholes, Nani, Valencia, Owen, Macheda, Bebe.
    huge difference at our strength in depth. and all out players have the ability to get 10-15 15-20 goals a season. whereas, Chelsea depend on Drogba, Lampard and Malouda for goals and Utd rely on Rooney Berba Hernandez and Nani for goals.

    i like our defence, only thing needed is time to gel. Squilici is the leader with the expirence, Kosiencly great tackler good in the air and incredibley strong, Johan just back from injury, and is quick and determind. oh yeah what about TommyV? when he’s back, with song in front of them and Fab behind them we’ll be very difficult to break down.

    • Good point on the defence – last season we would have been completely screwed without Vermaelen, we’ve barely missed him this year. Credit to the others.

    • Giggs and Scholes way past their sell by dates,Owen over the hill even at his age,Valencia hardly gets to play ,Nani another overrated overpaid clown ,which leaves Rooney and Berbatov until one or both
      is injured at the same time ,and who,s Bebe ,by the way ?

  3. aluminia shouldn play rest of d season.. wenger has given him more chance dan any goalie in arsenal frm pst years. .

  4. agree with almost all of your article bar one statement!! ”…..not to mention the terrific job Koscielny and Djourou did in shielding young Szczesny from…..”
    Yes Kozzer did a terrific job but Djourou was a liability!! Everytime he was near the ball, he spectacularly messed it up!!
    Please, Squillaci and Kozzer against the Hammers!!!

    • Disagree entirely – he had a slow 20 minutes at the start of the game but I thought he was outstanding afterwards – there was a period in the second half where he made a series of crucial interventions.

      He’ll take some time as he’s come back from a very long injury, but he’s moving in the right direction.

  5. Joey Barton really is an obnoxious cunt. I’d like to break his jaw.

  6. Was at the game and I don’t think we were anything like at our best against a spirited but limited Newcastle side. A good all round defensive performance; Czszney was excellent. Djourou was sound but slow. Koscielny was excellent. Denilson and Eastmond were average. Theo and Bendtner were lively and threatened all game, Vela looked completely out of it; no movement, no guile, no real involvement – he just stood static on the wings, waited for the ball to come to him and when it did he lost it again. I think the 2nd goal was a foul.

  7. y do people still talk shit how can you say he looked lively he was ok he was this that and what ever r you people real arsenal fans or wot. that was 1 of the best defensive displays i have seen from arsenal 4 a long time i know that new didnt play there best team bar the 1 that ws put on to the bar he didnt have to make a real save and all the other thing hae done you would want a prem goalie to do i m npt taking any thing away from him he was brill but to score 4 there with them not scoring can only give this wonederful team confiedence we will win this cup this year and more i get so angey with so called arsenal fans that say negative thing when we win well like at th wkend i see peopel write stuff like johan was this seb was this song should have done this so if the players were so bad why are we wining so well just get behing the yeam no matter wot that might give the team the spur wot they need

  8. Psycophants play well from the terraces, with their big mouths, they have no encouragement to give. can’t blame them; Players play well in the field of play, thats why we support them.

  9. Up gunners, gunners 4 life

  10. If you look closer at the second goal, Bendtner has got back onside and is looking to run to the left post to give Theo a passing option when the Newcastle defender, Williamson, grabbed Bendtner’s arm, turned him around, and then went to ground.

    Williamson could have ran past Bendtner without grabbing his arm if he had wanted to, but he had obviously wanted to take Bendtner out of the play.

    • Yes, if williamson had made any effort to get around B52 then the ref would have given a free kick, but he actually aimed at B52 instead.

      • The thing is Theo was almost definitely offside on the play, but they choose to complain about the Bendtner incident.

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