Arsenal needed goals from Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey to secure a hard-fought 2-0 win over Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium. The Newcastle manager, Rafa Benitez, sent his side on their way with a shocking display of poor defending in the fifth minute. The Gunners had been encouraged by the early save Benitez made from Danny Welbeck before they struck. Walcott skied a good chance over but Ramsey quickly proved to be the match-winner, scoring with a blistering strike five minutes later. The Gunners went on to dominate, though, and they will certainly rue a couple of missed chances they created.
Newcastle made nine changes to the side that beat Tottenham Hotspur last time out, with 10 players coming straight from the reserves. But it didn’t take long for the Tynesiders to find their feet, as Miguel Almiron had a clear chance to take an early lead. But the Tynesiders were almost undone immediately as Laurent Koscielny’s cross was headed straight at Ryan Dummett by an unmarked Welbeck. The visitors continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession but Arsenal made a strong point-blank save from Albert Rusnak in the 35th minute to keep the score at 0-0. Arsenal began to become impatient and were struggling to find a way past their lively visitors. However, the Gunners’ frustration grew as their usually dependable keeper Petr Cech was unable to deal with a cross in the 36th minute and the ball fell perfectly for Matt Ritchie to hit the bar with a header.
This was Newcastle’s first trip to north London since last May, when they were beaten 3-0 by Manchester United. Unfortunately for the hosts, they were unable to maintain the level of football they displayed in the opening stages. A perfect cross by Willian Caballero was turned on to the bar by Waterson in the 42nd minute. Arsenal quickly responded and, having weathered the storm, they got on the scoresheet. Walcott had time and space to collect the ball on the edge of the box and unleash a shot that only had to finish on target to kill the game.