Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Newcastle 0 Arsenal 4: Theo at the double as Gunners stroll into last eight yet again

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rxA1kSczRMendofvid

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By COLIN YOUNG

Class act: Theo Walcott hit a sublime second


Like falling leaves and dark nights, autumn means Arsenal will reach the last eight of the League Cup.

And for the eighth season on the trot, Arsene Wenger's young Gunners progressed to the quarter-final with the minimum of fuss.

There was a great deal of good fortune about their first two goals but the second two had Arsenal quality written all over them.

The first was cruel on Newcastle's young keeper Tim Krul, who conceded an own goal off the back of his head in first half injury-time.

The second was the first of Theo Walcott's well-taken strikes but it was also a gift from referee Andre Marriner who deemed Nicklas Bendtner's flooring of Mike Williamson in the build-up perfectly legal. At that point Chris Hughton and every Newcastle fan had every right to feel aggrieved.

But there was no doubting the brilliance of the third and fourth which capped successful returns from injury for the Arsenal strike pair.


Thunderbolt: Nicklas Bendtner hit a screamer to make it 3-0


And who was it who said Walcott can't finish? Could it have been Chris Waddle, a winger of some repute who used to entertain the St James' Park regulars?

The two finishes from the current England winger were the perfect response to Waddle's criticism last season that he was a player with no brain.


He clipped his first over the approaching Krul on the sprint, and hammered his second past the goalkeeper from an identical position and at the same electrifying speed.


Wenger said: 'Walcott is more composed in front of goal. The timing of his runs has always been good but his first touch when he gets it is better.

'He is an intelligent boy and that is why he always improves. He has worked very hard since the start of the season and unfortunately he was flying at the start of the season but got injured. You could see today he is ready to go to the next level.'

Arsenal threatened to overwhelm their hosts in the first half and, but for Krul and some wayward finishing, they could have been six up before finally taking the lead.

A mere 20 seconds had elapsed when Mike Williamson was caught in possession outside his area and Carlos Vela burst through, forcing Krul to make the first of many saves.

Bendtner, one of nine changes Wenger made to the side which beat Manchester City on Sunday, had five shots saved by the Holland Under 21 international and Emmanuel Eboue also hit the side netting.

But the unfortunate Newcastle keeper was seconds away from reaching half-time with the scores level when he conceded from the back of his own head.

Krul, Steve Harper's 22-year-old understudy, had done well to meet Walcott's corner with a punch to the edge of his area but Tomas Rosicky headed it back into a crowded area.


When your luck's out: Newcastle fell behind to a comical own goal from keeper Tim Krul


Bendtner nudged it back towards goal, narrowly avoiding Laurent Koscielny and the retreating Krul, and though Ryan Taylor did manage to clear the ball off the line, it hit the back of Krul's head and crept into the net.

Newcastle, who also made nine changes ahead of Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby, did have chances. Alan Smith hit the bar and Peter Lovenkrands had a goal rightly ruled out for offside.

And they should have pulled level within five minutes of the restart when James Perch emerged unmarked at a Danny Guthrie corner but failed to trouble the impressive Wojciech Szczesny with his close-range header.

The former Forest defender paid within three minutes when Walcott powered through to score his fifth goal of the season.


Seeing the funny side: Arsene Wenger's side enjoyed slices of fortune at St James' Park


Perch was closest to the winger when he neatly clipped the ball over Krul on the run, although it was the build-up to the goal which Newcastle contested.

Bendtner was offside when Johan Djourou headed a Krul clearance from halfway, and the Dane clearly wiped out Williamson as he made a forlorn attempt to chase Walcott.

But there was no doubt about the quality of Arsenal's third. Although it came after a reasonable period of pressure from the home side, they were caught napping when Guthrie lost the ball to late substitute Cesc Fabregas from a routine throw-in in his own half.

The Arsenal captain found the willing Bendtner in front of him and the Dane was given the freedom of Tyneside by Williamson before curling his shot into Krul's top corner from inside the area.

Fabregas turned provider again two minutes from time when he threaded a pass through from deep inside his own half to find space for Walcott to run through and drill his shot low out of Krul's reach.

Understandably, after such a performance, Walcott has his eyes on cup success at last for the Gunners.

He said: 'People may say it is a Mickey Mouse cup and stuff but as players we want to win trophies and look back on careers and the amount of trophies we have won. It is none at the moment for me but I am sure if we play football like that there will be many to come.'



source: dailymail
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