The Arsenal faithful knew that they needed a big break in the game against Newcastle United because if they weren’t able to pick up the win, fans would continue to question the legitimacy of Mikel Arteta as the club’s new manager.
The first half didn’t really fill fans with all too much hope or optimism but even with that being the case, there was a real sense that if they made the necessary changes at half time, they could cause Newcastle problems.
They did exactly that and after coming out for the second 45 minutes, they looked like a different team. Goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette made the difference to secure the 4-0 triumph on the night.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was clearly relieved with the win.
“After the break we started saying we had to start closing the gap on the top teams and turn draws into wins. Today was the first opportunity and we’ve done it. All good.
“I’m so pleased for Laca [Alexandra Lacazette] – the reaction of the players and staff towards him. He fights hard for everyone. He’s been unlucky. He will gain confidence from this and knows how everyone appreciates him.”
Aubameyang also had a fairly ‘clinical’ way of looking at the game.
“We started not at our best but in the second half we put some more energy in and we scored the goals.
“We spoke at half-time and the coach told me to stay as a second striker and take my position off Eddie [Nketiah]. They were playing very deep and compact so it was good for us to have me in the middle to give more space out wide.”
Regardless of whether or not this was their best first half performance of the season (and it certainly wasn’t), the fact that they showed this kind of bouncebackability is going to bode extremely well for Arteta’s men over the next few months.
How much does this win mean?