By Michael Clements
Arsenal won't be convincing anybody with that win against Newcastle, but it's certainly an important 3 points away from home. A lack of shots on goal from The Arsenal became frustrating as the fear of another draw crept ever closer. Finally, after one of the Gunners' first solid shots on goal was saved by Krul, the ball eventually dropped to Oxlade-Chamberlain who's shot (which was perhaps going wide) deflected in off Coloccini. An own goal, resulting in a one-nil to The Arsenal, but something I think we'll all take at the moment.
Unfortunately the focus has been diverted from the win straight at the referee, Andre Marriner. McLaren taking charge of Newcastle was a positive move I thought, and I expected challenge from the Geordies, especially with the quality, young players they have at their disposal currently. We certainly got a challenge, but not in the manner I had expected. McLaren showed just how long he's been out of the English game by deploying the "Get stuck in" tactic against Arsenal - something teams were doing almost a decade ago now. Newcastle's reckless challenges became tiresome as the game went on and frankly it was very disappointing. Not only were they overly aggressive, but what made it worse for both teams (and eventually the quality of the match) was how clumsy the Magpies were. Mitrovic's red card, while it may have seemed harsh, was the referee's attempt to set an example to deter players from tackling in such a manner. McLaren called it clumsy, and his comment that "there was hardly a tackle in the match" is laughable, but concerning that he hasn't recognized the poor lesson he's taught his players by sending them out to do that job. Newcastle are a better team than that and their back four showed that today. If the ex-England boss can stop himself from taking the easy way out and begin to actually coach his team then I think we'll see a much more talented Newcastle team this season.
As far as Arsenal's performance Saturday, very little has been improved upon since our loss against West Ham the first week of the season. Sure, we've got two wins and a draw but I'm not overflowing with confidence that we're about to make a run for the title this season. If we were to play Manchester Citeh tomorrow I think we'd come out bruised and beaten, so this international break is hopefully coming at a perfect time where we can re-group and begin our very tricky September strong.
Our attention now turns to the transfer market, and we've got until Tuesday, 6pm UK time to make any moves. Wenger said in his post-match interview there would be activity in the market, but then did his usual job of confusing the shit out of everybody by following that up with; "will it be efficient? I can't predict."
I think the Frenchman will go down as one of the most cryptic interviewees in the modern age. So frustrating at times, but in the end I think he's also preserved a certain class about himself and the operations within the club by being so vague. Let's face it, if he came out and did what we all want him to do and said; "Yep, I'm going all in on Cavani and Benzema, offering as much as their clubs want. Whoever says yes first!" we'd never get a deal done. So there's something to be said about his ambiguous style of answering questions.
The call for a 'Top Class' striker has become louder as the window approaches it's close, and while I made my case for another Defensive Mid this week, both would obviously be a plus as long as any striker we bring in is a legitimate improvement upon Olivier Giroud. We saw a more direct, positive style of play as soon as he came on against Newcastle, so I really think we've got a better player than many may think in him. Walcott couldn't find space against Newcastle, and is never going to be a target man for our midfielders. He's got speed... and that's about it. Honestly, that's only really ever effective in the last 20 minutes of a match when the full backs are tiring and we can exploit their back line. The Walcott experiment was fun, especially at the end of last season, but let's get serious now and play the players who can have the most influence on a match. Please.
Overall, a win is a win. Three points is as much as we can hope for. A 3-0 win would have been a great start to everyone's weekend, but a one-nil will do. This is a quality Arsenal squad - the most quality in quite a few years - let's be happy with that and hope for a little movement in the market this next couple of days.
Come On You Gunners!