No Xhaka, no Kos, Curly is last man standing with Torreira banned. Iwobi gets a run with Auba and Micki as firepower off the bench.
Consider the Benitez Bus well and truly parked – the wheels were off and it was being shoved backwards and forwards across the 18 yard box on a massive trolley jack.
Nothing to speak of in the first 30 apart from a seemingly perfect goal from Ramsey ruled out by the replusive Taylor for some ‘six of one and half a dozen of the other’ shirt tugging which had no influence on the goal.
Finally a ball broke for us in the area with a cannily crafted assist from two Magpie defenders; Rambo’s left slotting it in off the far post.
Newcastle had one token effort from Rondon which was going wide before some nice interchange created the best chance of the half when Laca swivelled but his shot miraculously cannoned off a square head to leave the score at 1-0 at the break.
Halftime foul count Arsenal 8 Newcastle 4 – yeah right.
More of the same from Newcastle – a tedious desire to suck the life out of a game of football.
Auba for Iwobi had an immediate effect. His pace was electric down the right wing but couldn’t quite find Laca with a driven cross. The second when it came was the same combination, an Auba header and Laca slipping round the back to lob the keeper.
The chances now started to flow properly and we should have had a third when Taylor decided he’d seen a handball from Laca which came off a massive goalkeeping glove! He really was terrible tonight – the comical booking of SeadK straight out of the Mike Dean book of celebrity reffing.
A perfect start to April with Newcastle being the only fools on Fools’ Day. Bus parking got exactly what it received – absolutely sweet FA.
Leno – nothing to do against the shot shy Toon ….. 7
Ainsley – recovered from his knock and played competently throughout ….. 7
Shkod – some on social media still having a pop even when he does nothing wrong -smh ….. 7
Papa – solid, steely, indefatigable ….. 8
Nacho – another fine performance from La Cabra – ridiculous booking dished out by the man from the Manchester region ….. 8
Wardrobe – rampaging and rollocking, just couldn’t find that crucial final ball ….. 7
Guendouzi – still caught in possession too often but with no protection from the ref – must have touched the ball most? – never hides ….. 7
Ramsey – crucial goal – not sure what his injury was as he jogged off comfortably enough ….. 7
Iwobi – tried to unpick the bus station doors to no avail ….. 7
Ozil – all over the pitch, needs to take his class to some away grounds ….. 8
Laca – didn’t look like he was going to have a right place, right time night until he popped up chasing Auba’s header ….. 8
Auba – made a difference – he really suits that last half hour cameo ….. 8
Elneny – he came, he saw, he Mo’ed ….. 7
Micki – time wasting sub to allow Mesut to get an ovation
Emery – Everything right again at home against an uninspiring negative Newcastle team – Let’s come up with an away plan now, Unai ….. 8
The Spanish Wagner – Tediousness personified ….. 3
Referee – so many calls wrong it was ridiculous – no wonder we can’t provide refs for big international tournaments – he’s meant to be one of the better ones …. 0