The stage was set for another pulsating Premier League encounter between Arsenal and Newcastle.
As recent as two seasons ago, both sides produced an epic encounter that exposed the frailties in their defensive rearguard. The Gunners self destructed and threw away a four-goal lead despite playing with 10 men for most of the second half thanks to Abou Diaby’s sheer stupidity.
Last season, the crunch clash at the Emirates offered a different prospect as both sides threw caution to the wind. When it seemed as if both teams were going to share the spoils of battle, a late Thomas Vermaelen surge upfront saw the Belgian smash in Arsenal’s match-clincher from point-blank range.
Vermaelen has become a more disciplined player this season, and for those that don’t know, he hasn’t scored any goal in this campaign.
Judging from the team sheets displayed on Saturday, I expected the Gunners to be more than a match for the injury-laden Newcastle, but it was important to keep half an eye on their Senegalese duo of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse. While Cisse turned out to be a peripheral figure all game long, Demba Ba was a thorn in Arsenal's flesh.
After 90 minutes of pulsating action, 10 goals were scored and as expected, Arsenal made me go through too many emotional phases in one game. I had fits of joy, frustration, relief, shock, elation, disgust and euphoria.
Without further ado, here are three key lessons I learned from Arsenal’s emphatic 7-3 victory over Newcastle.