Ramsey sets up Arsenal win over Newcastle
Turin-bound midfielder pulls the strings before injury ends his night
Monday, 1st April 2019
FA Premier League
ARSENAL 2 (Ramsey 30, Lacazette 83)
NEWCASTLE UNITED 0
ARSENAL had another glimpse at what they be missing next season as captain Aaron Ramsey drove the Gunners into third in the table – above Spurs for the moment – with a box-to-box performance against Newcastle which would’ve had a certain club in Italty excited by their incoming investment.
Ramsey has not saved himself for Juventus, who he will join in the summer on a free transfer and a deal which will make him one of the highest earners. He will swap playing alongside Alex Iwobi for Cristiano Ronaldo but you have the impression, even with the size of the money involved, that he will be sad to be moving on.
It may not be a minority among the 59,000 inside Asburton Grove this evening (Monday) who would have rather the mammoth contract awarded to Mesut Ozil in one of Arsene Wenger’s final acts had been directed towards fixing Ramsey’s future. His offer contract extension was removed for financial reasons, rather than footballing sense, on the basis of what we saw tonight.
Of course, there have been times when Ramsey has been patchy during his years as an Arsenal player but when in the mood – and he certainly was here against the Magpies – he can rank as one of the team’s most influential players.
He is also liable to pop up with a goal and after having one disallowed from a corner early on, put Arsenal ahead on the half hour by turning in a passing move, not with power but precision. His flick had released Alexandre Lacazette whose return pass fell into Ramsey’s sights via a bobbling deflection off Newcastle legs.
When he was forced off with injury, the sight of Mohamed Elneny on the sidelines getting ready as his replacement points at the need for new recruits to fill the void by Ramsey’s move to warmer climes. They are different types of players of course, but it is not a controversial prediction to suggest a genuine title challenge will never be mounted with the likes of Elneny holding up play; he is efficient with a sideways pass but Arsenal will need to look forward next season.
Newcastle were missing any impetus all evening, perhaps never calculating points from this fixture into their relegation avoidance spreadsheets. It might have been a night when Arsenal loaded up on a few more goals, as in the end-of-season mini league for Champions League, in which Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester United also find themselves drawn, the margins may be slender.
In the end, they had to settle for just one more: those other two star names Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, on as a sub, and Lacazette combined to open up the Newcastle with seven minutes left to play. Lacazette’s deft lob was a skilled finish, and a reward for another hard-working show leading the line.
Given what’s at stake, the subdued, low volume atmosphere at the Emirates was surprising: fans came late, left early. Who’d have thought the old archangel St Totteringham has flashed a bit of leg in recent weeks.
There may need to be away wins at Everton and Watford, tough assignments, if that day of celebration for Arsenal fans is to really come around again.
But there was a time this season which Arsenal looked cut adrift from the top four, so being in the reckoning is an achievement Unai Emery in itself. He may need to call on Ramsey again, however, if he wants to go one step further.
ARSENAL: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Monreal, Sokratis, Mustafi, Guendouzi, Ozil (Mkhitaryan 83), Iwobi (Aubameyang 61), Lacazette
SUBS NOT USED: Cech, Suarez, Jenkinson, Nketiah
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lejeune, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie (Kenedy 75), Hayden (Ki 67), Diame, Perez (Muto 77), Almiron, Rondon
SUBS NOT USED: Darlow, Fernandez, Manquillo, Shelvey