It’s a good job Newcastle weren’t in desperate need of three points because boy they were dreadful. I honestly thought they’d put up more of a fight than they did. Mat Ryan had an easy time of things really but the odd time he was called into action, he didn’t disappoint. He looked assured on crosses and unlike Leno, seemed to prefer getting two hands on the ball rather than punching it clear. If I had my way, he’d start on Thursday but that’s highly unlikely. Also, it’s worth remembering that Leno spared us from a pasting in the first leg.
Mikel Arteta certainly made a few changes but I felt disappointed over the subs bench as there was no sign of Balogun, Nelson or Azeez.
As said, that really was a stroll for Arsenal and the 2-0 scoreline doesn’t truly reflect the game. It could easily have been 5 or 6 nil and Steve Bruce would have had no reason to complain. Other than about his teams dreadful performance.
The two goals were good. Elneny with the first, his first in the League this season and the second came after Martinelli played a lovely ball across the box for Aubameyang to score. There was a bit of a scare for Martinelli towards the end when Schar made a hefty challenge on him but thankfully he got to his feet and seemed ok soon after a while. Schar however was sent off by Mike Dean. I thought Xhaka might suffer the same fate earlier in the game but Dean was clearly in a forgiving mood as far as Arsenal go. Luiz didn’t make it through 90 minutes on his return after suffering what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Depending on the extent of his injury, he might just have played his last game for Arsenal.
Al in all, a good afternoon for Mikel Arteta and his players. Three straight forward points won.
The biggest sports story of the day though came from Manchester as Utd’s fixture against Liverpool had to be postponed because of protests against the Glazer family. The Utd fans want them out, just as Arsenal and Liverpool fans, or certainly large groups of them, want their own American owners out of their clubs. Gary Neville spoke passionately about his old club, Liverpool and Arsenal FC too.
This is a consequence of the Manchester United owners’ actions two weeks ago. There is a general distrust and dislike of the owners, but they weren’t protesting two or three weeks ago. The Glazer family are struggling to meet the financial requirements at this club and the fans are saying that their time is up.
Arsenal fans weren’t protesting against the Kroenke family two weeks ago either but as soon as it was confirmed Arsenal had joined the Super League, that was it. What Neville went on to say about Utd under the Glazers could be applied to the Kroenke family and Arsenal too, as both clubs were competitive and winning trophies before the Americans set foot inside both clubs.
A more ambitious owner wouldn’t have allowed Arsenal to drift under Arsene Wenger for as long as it did and it’s highly unlikely an ambitious owner would have appointed a novice to learn his trade at our club. A more ambitious owner, as proved by the City and Chelsea owners, probably would have thought joining a Super League was a good idea but then the City and Chelsea owners would in all likelihood, reinvest the vast money it offered into the team. Even so, football fans, in my opinion, want their club to play in the Premier League and not some stupid League where winning or losing matters not.
I’m pleased the Utd fans made their feelings clear and I strongly suspect the Arsenal fans will follow suit on Thursday before the Villarreal fixture, hopefully without violence involved. The Kroenke family need to realise that Arsenal Football Club is not a toy for them to play with. It’s a football club steeped in history, a football club which can be successful with the right tools in place and the right investment.
This week is about one thing only for Mikel Arteta and his players and that’s getting the right result on Thursday against Villarreal. Arsenal need to be in the Europa Cup Final. Mikel Arteta has the players, he’s just got to get the right performance out of them.
See you in the comments.