Giroud and The Man with No Name Ensure Victory for Arsenal
Arsenal dominated the first-half of their match verse Newcastle United thanks to the well-timed, brilliant efficiency, of Francis Coquelin's tackling, and the clinical finishing of target-man Olivier Giroud.
The Gunners went into half-time leading by two goals, but the old cliche of a 2-0 lead being the most dangerous in football proved frighteningly accurate, as Arsene Wenger's team began the second-half stuttering in a complacency they could not shake.
The team managed, barely, to see out the result after some nervy defending, and Arsene will no doubt be breathing a huge sigh of relief as he sips on his post-match libation Saturday night.
Giroud is World-Class
The debate rages about what world-class looks like out on the pitch. Since January, world-class looks like Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman has been in outstanding form since returning from injury, improving his hold-up play in the attacking-third to allow Arsenal's willing runners to get forward in support, and his amazing, well-cultured, ability to combine has produced some of the most dazzling exchanges from any striker in Europe this season.
Giroud has also provided end-product this campaign.
Arsenal's no. 12 is converting chances with aplomb, his brace verse the Magpies brought his season tally to 13 goals in 19 Barclay's Premier League appearances, there is a more ruthless edge about his game these days, and his ability to consistently get on the scoresheet have lead the most optimistic of supporters to entertain pipe-dreams of a late league title challenge.
Rumors persist that Wenger will sign another striker to get Dial Square over the hump next season.
The former Montpellier man is sending a message that monies can be invested elsewhere.
Coquelin has Become Vital
What a wonderful 'signing' Francis Coquelin has proven to be. Cautious supporters of the Club continue to wait for the Coquelin bubble to burst, for a nightmare performance, a match when his deficiencies come to the forefront, and the writers can beginning drumming up new links to William Carvalho and the like. Arsenal's newly emerged holding-midfielder has other ideas.
Francis is becoming the legitimate Coq of the walk.
Consistent, measured, judgement in his interceptions, well-executed technical ability in his short passing, and the occasional flare pass to get a player in behind have become trademark characteristics of Coquelin's play for the Gunners; not to mention an unparalleled toughness to fight-on after getting continually abused in his nasal cavity region.
If Francis Coquelin were to front a band, the name would have to be nasal septum deviation. The abuse opponents continue to apply to the injured and well-documented area of his face is infuriating. But Coquelin takes a licking and keeps on ticking, case in point the match at St James' Park, wherein he was caught in the face, again, but rather then slide into the dressing room for treatment, the young enforcer merely plugged-up, and returned to the pitch.
In a training jersey no less.
The lack of a name or number didn't make it hard to recognize Coquelin.
Supporters have come to know his game.
His pride in playing for Arsenal speaks louder than any kit mishap ever will.
Coquelin has become undroppable.
Final Nine Games
The nine remaining premier league games feature three heavyweight clashes.
First up is Liverpool at home, and the importance of the fixture has ratcheted up over the passing weeks as Liverpool has been the only team in England to mirror Arsenal's rich vein of form. The Reds looks set to join Arsenal in semi-finals of the FA Cup, and have gotten their top-four aspirations back on track. The game at Anfield verse Manchester United will go a long way in determining the mood before Liverpool visit the Emirates, but regardless, it's sure to be match with far reaching implications in what could be a prelude to an FA Cup Final.
Arsenal then host Chelsea at the end of April, and have to travel back to the Theater of Dreams on May 16th.
Nine points available from the top five teams.
There is plenty of drama left in this tale, lot's to play for, and the storyline is destined to twist and turn before the season comes to an end on May 24th.
The remaining schedule is favorable for a hard Arsenal push, as clashes with the big boys are sandwiched around games with lesser weight teams that sit lower in the league, but look to have already done enough to avoid relegation.
Pressure is set to build on Chelsea.
Despite another roller coaster season of ups and downs, Arsenal aren't out of the title picture just yet...