Arsenal vs. Newcastle United: 5 Things We Learned from Gunners Easy Win
Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud all managed to get on the scoresheet in the one-sided affair.
Confidence was at a low ebb for Newcastle after five straight defeats, and the last place Alan Pardew would have wanted to bring his team was into the Gunners' home patch.
After a tetchy opening period, Arsenal took control when Koscielny latched onto Santi Cazorla's in-swinging cross to prod home after the Newcastle defense opened up like the Red Sea. From there, the Gunners looked comfortable and when Ozil stabbed home from close range, just before half-time, the game was as good as over.
It was only a matter of time before Arsenal added more, and Olivier Giroud duly obliged with a well-taken header for the third.
The game then turned into something of a training session for Arsenal as the visibly demoralized Toon Army counted down the seconds until the referee's final whistle. When it did come, it offered little relief for the under-fire Pardew.
For Wenger, the win virtually guarantees Champions League football for the 17th year in a row.
Here, Bleacher Report offers five things we learned from Arsenal vs. Newcastle United...
Mesut Ozil Shines Against Abject Newcastle
It's hard to pick out any really outstanding Arsenal players, such was Newcastle's abysmal performance.
Arsenal's defense played like they were at a club outing. Their midfield used the game as an extensive training session, and Olivier Giroud treated the game as an effort to blow off a few cobwebs.
Mesut Ozil stood out as the Gunners' best performer without getting anywhere near the elevated levels he is capable of.
In February, the German international looked dead on his feet and in dire need of a rest. His form had crashed after impressing during his debut three months, and he looked nothing like the man Arsene Wenger signed for a club-record fee.
At the time, I called upon Wenger to drop the 25-year-old and use hims sparingly for the rest of the season because he was so important to Germany's hopes in Brazil. If Wenger kept playing Ozil, he risked the midfielder's burnout lasting into next season.
Thankfully, Ozil developed a hamstring injury that kept him out of first-team action over the last two months. In total he has only played five games and 90 minutes just once since February.
He has benefited greatly from his rest on the sidelines.
Newcastle were the ideal team to bring him back toward full fitness. He scored one and set up Giroud while contributing 69 touches with a pass-completion percentage of 94 percent, as per WhoScored.com.
Ozil now looks fresh and ready to head to Brazil with a spring in his step. Two short months ago, that was an impossible dream.
Arsenal and Arsene will reap the rewards next season when Ozil will challenge for PFA Player of the Year.
Newcastle United's Summer Began in January
Newcastle United actually started the match well and were arguably the better side in the first 20 minutes without actually making Arsenal sweat.
However, once they went behind to Laurent Koscielny's badly defended opener, there was only going to be one winner.
Newcastle's confidence has been visibly fragile for some time now, and the last five months have resembled something of a train wreck for Alan Pardew and his beleaguered team.
Loic Remy has been a wonderful loan signing from Queens Park Rangers and Harry Redknapp this term. His 13 goals in 27 appearances have made a huge difference for Pardew, and without him they would be facing a relegation battle.
He picked up an injury on March 1 and only returned to first-team action last week in the 2-1 defeat to Swansea City. Against Arsenal, he looked a tired shadow of his former self and obviously unfit. Without his clever movement and focal point, Newcastle had no attacking threat and no out ball.
This forced their insipid midfield to be the key creators and primary attacking threat. The fact that Newcastle's midfield have only scored 10 goals this season, with six coming from Yoan Gouffran, was not lost on Arsene Wenger and his troops.
The Toon Army have all the appearances of being a team who have had their sun-tan lotions and flip-flops packed since early January. They lack motivation, a game plan and, most importantly, professional pride.
Nothing good can be said of their performance at the Emirates Stadium.
French Players Impressing Before the World Cup in Brazil
So much of winning the World Cup is about hitting the right form at the right time.
France could be a team who will shock many, if current domestic form is carried into the international arena.
Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny has enjoyed an excellent season and can count himself as extremely unlucky not to make the PFA Team of the Year. He was excellent again against Newcastle United and seems to have grown accustomed to not having to be involved with every single defensive action.
All too often in his past, Koscielny would run around like the Road Runner looking to make his next tackle. Now, like all good defenders, he shepherds attacking players into areas they don't want to be in and then strikes. He then strides away with the ball without seeming to have done anything.
Newcastle's best player against Arsenal is also French. Mathieu Debuchy was the Toon Army's main attacking threat, from right-back. Like Koscielny, he too has been in fine form this season and must make the French squad at the very least. Unfortunately for him, he must contend with Bacary Sagna, who has arguably had his best-ever season for the Gunners.
Hugo Lloris, the French captain, is, for many, the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, Franck Ribery is nothing short of amazing at FC Bayern Munich, and PSG's Blaise Matuidi and Juventus' Paul Pogba are two of the best midfield talents around.
Add in the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema, Yohan Cabaye and even Newcastle's Loic Remy and Moussa Sissoko and all of a sudden, France look a formidable team.
Good form could see they go a long way.
Newcastle Are Going Nowhere Fast Under Pardew and David Moyes Is Available...
Alan Pardew is in all kinds of trouble at Newcastle United, despite Arsene Wenger backing the Toon Army boss during the build-up to the awaiting media, as per Sky Sports.
The vultures at St. James' Park were circling long before the 52-year-old had a rush of blood to the head when he head-butted Hull City's David Meyler in March. The game against Arsenal was the first time he was allowed to manage his team from the side of the pitch following a seven-game touchline ban for the incident.
To casual observers, the wheels began to fall off the bus at Newcastle when Yohan Cabaye was transferred to Paris Saint-Germain FC on January 29, as per ESPN. Since then the Magpies have only won three games and lost nine from 12 matches. However, it was one month earlier over Christmas where their season really went wrong.
During Cabaye's last six games with the club, they lost four drew one and only beat Big Sam Allardyce's struggling West Ham United.
It is little wonder that Pardew is now one of the favorites to be the next manager to be sacked in the Premier League, according to the Sack Race. As a result of David Moyes' sacking by Manchester United, the former-Everton manager is best priced at 3-1 to replace Pardew in the Newcastle hot-seat.
Moyes' sacking by United has put a severe dent in his reputation. His relationship with United automatically means that he will now never get a chance to manage the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool or Chelsea.
Everton are unlikely to want him back after Roberto Martinez's sterling first season. That leaves Tottenham Hotspur as the next best possible big team available. However, given Moyes' pragmatic approach to the game, Spurs are also unlikely to plump for him.
All of a sudden, the chances to manage a big team in the Premier League seem to have evaporated for the Scot. Looking at his track record and the size and potential of Newcastle United, Mike Ashley could do far worse than appoint the 51-year-old former-United boss, should he dispense with Pardew's services.
Injury Robbed Arsenal of the Title and Ramsey of Luis Suarez's PFA Award
There are a multitude of reasons as to why Arsenal fell out of the title race so dramatically. One might even say that their demise was so sudden they were virtually ejected.
However, one of the main reasons they are no longer in the race is because of Aaron Ramsey getting injured against West Ham on December 26. The Welshman has only just returned to first-team action after four months.
At the time, the Caerphilly-born 23-year-old was the PFA Player of the Year-elect such was his outstanding form. Liverpool's Luis Suarez, who captured the award last night at a star-studded gala, was a fine and deserving winner. However, he benefited greatly from not having Ramsey to contend with.
When Ramsey got injured in December, he had already played 31 times for club and country and had scored an outstanding 15 goals from midfield, as per Soccerbase. He also contributed a superb nine assists at club level, as per WhoScored.com.
At the time of Ramsey's injury, Liverpool's Uruguayan hitman had scored 24 goals and contributed five assists, as per WhoScored.com.
There is little doubt that Ramsey's loss to Wenger played a major part in both Suarez winning the PFA title and Arsenal falling from title contenders to top-four hangers-on.
Ramsey, Arsenal's most important player, had a quiet night against Newcastle, as per WhoScored.com. He was tidy if not spectacular in possession. His only meaningful contribution of the match was in receiving a yellow card for a late tackle on Cheick Tiote.
His 89 touches show a player who was available to support his team throughout. It also shows a man who works incredibly hard for the team.
Like Ozil, he will benefit from this season's experience.
If Arsene Wenger can add a striker and creative wide player to his ranks, his team will go a long way next season. And Ramsey will lead the charge.
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