Theo Walcott steals the show in a back and forth masterpiece at the Emirates.
- Walcott and Ba. Ba and Walcott. Walcott and Ba. If you missed any of the pre-match commentary I’ve got you covered. It’s hard to imagine the Arsenal board haggling with Theo’s agents after this one. Pay this man. Pay him what he wants. It’s one sterling performance — but for the people who have followed his progress since his arrival in North London this didn’t come as a surprise.
- At this point Demba Ba cannot leave Newcastle. With two goals today, he’s scored 14 this season. Papiss Cisse has failed to find the form that made him a revelation last season. A rash of injuries — nine first team players missed today’s game — paired with a daunting schedule have made this week one to forget for Alan Pardew. Whether they can avoid a drop into the relegation danger will depend on Ba’s future with the club.
- Gooners around the world that had a laugh at Samir Nasri for ducking out of the way of Robin Van Persie’s game winning goal should save a menacing word for Jack Wilshere. Arsenal’s golden boy pulled a Nasri on Ba’s first goal. He would redeem himself later with a wonderful cross that set up Lukas Podolski’s goal in the 64th minute.
- It’s a marvel what a different team Arsenal becomes when they employ a pressing style that doesn’t rely on mistakes from the other team. Walcott’s pace also creates a counter attacking threat that wasn’t there when Giroud manned the center forward position.
- Sylvain Marveaux impressed me today — he can do many things at an above average level. When Newcastle gets healthy it will be interesting to see what Pardew will do with Ben Arfa, Cabaye and Marveaux.
- I’m not sure what the point of playing Papiss Cisse on the wing is. It’s just not working. Ba’s departure may free up some much needed space for the Senegalese international. Cisse is worried about losing Ba, but for his sake this could be the best thing for him.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first goal of the season gave us a glimpse of what the finished product will look like: composed, strong and sturdy — qualities also shared by the chair I’m sitting on. Alan Pardew ‘found’ both Walcott and Chamberlain during his days at Southampton. This had to a be a bittersweet day for him.
- Seats at the Emirates are stupidly expensive. I can’t fault supporters/spectators for choosing to watch the game in silence, but the atmosphere during the early stages of the game was grim. Arsenal’s away supporters are some of the best in the world, creating heaps of noise in every locale they visit. The same cannot be said for their home crowd.
- Defence purists would’ve done well to avoid the EPL this week — this year for that matter. 35 goals in eight matches this afternoon, the majority a product of piss poor defending that has plagued the league for some time now. Kieran Gibbs had a good day going forward. However his defensive duties were neglected during crucial moments
- Olivier Giroud’s pregnant lady celebration wasn’t impressive. Add in the fact that RVP did it too and it makes it even worse. Giroud’s play, however, was exceptional. He’s proven he doesn’t need a rhythm — a haunting word used to describe Marouane Chamakh’s problems — to score goals. An unruly post prevented the Frenchman from notching a hat trick in just 16 minutes of work.
- I end with Theo. The final goal was amazing, but one of the biggest takeaways from this game for me will be the cross that set up Giroud’s first goal in the 84th minute. The skill required to pull that off is not atypical. The Gunners have found something with Walcott up front. Just give the man his money.
1. Theo Walcott
2. Lukas Podolski
3. Jack Wilshere