There are always turning points good and bad in football and one senses that Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Newcastle United at the weekend could just be the turning point that Arsenal have been looking for all season.
Arsenal don’t win games 4-0 anymore, in fact they don’t win many games at all. Currently they have 13 draws and this game against the Magpies looked like it would be number 14- and that was if they were lucky.
In truth it was a first half mostly dominated by the away team, who created very good chances and the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton looked very lively. Arsenal looked confused at home and woeful. The first half ended 0-0 and never felt not for one moment that Arsenal would score 4 goals in the second half. But they did.
A lot of that is down to manager Mikel Arteta’s half time talk, and it was interesting how he was able to identify the clubs positives and Newcastle’s weaknesses. Arsenal came out firing on all cylinders and it was the chasing down of the ball and the intensity that they showed right off the bat that won the game for them. Indeed they had started the match this way, and then were huffing and puffing with no ideas after five minutes. But the club in the second half looked a completely different side.
The Gunners are so very lucky to have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a striker- how many times has he got the club out of trouble when the chips have been down? And they have been down for so long. But Aubameyang keeps scoring and keeps hoping and he opened the scoring 9 minutes after the re start. When Nicolas Pepe scored the 2nd goal, three minutes later the game was over, Newcastle’s hearts had left the stadium.
It’s true that goals number 3 and 4 put a shine over a game that felt like a 2-0 victory but at the end of the day goals and wins bring confidence to a team. That was only Arteta’s 2nd win in 8 games, although he has only lost one so far.
The question now being posed is is this the beginning of a strong run for Arsenal now, who could still claim a good position. After Manchester City were banned by UEFA in participating in the Champions League, 5th place would now be up for grabs, pending their appeal. If so Arsenal are only six points from that target. With clubs ranked 4th-9th not being consistent enough, Arsenal really could make a charge and a statement and what a comeback it would for the club who have remained around 10th place for much of the season.
What is interesting is taking a look at the clubs upcoming fixtures. Their next game will be tough but they will be at home to Everton. They then have another home match against West Ham. There are trips to both Brighton and Southampton followed by a home match against Norwich and a trip to Wolves before returning home to face Leicester. All of those games look like Arsenal could get points in. Their biggest problem is projecting their home form over to their away form, where they have really struggled not just this season but for the past 3 at least.
Take out the Leicester game though and Arsenal won’t face a top 6 side until the end of April when they play Tottenham away. In May they will play Liverpool, but again all of their opponents now will not be classed as the biggest teams in the league. Still Arsenal have struggled against them anyway this season.
But surely scoring 4 goals in one game has given the club a lift and taken away that dark cloud that has hung over the Emirates since August. Is this the moment that Arteta makes a name for himself and the talented Arsenal players step up to the plate, or was it just a convenient speed bump on the road to a mediocre season?
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