I can’t say Chris Sutton is a particular favourite commentator/pundit of mine.
However, I thought he was pretty good on Monday night, covering the Arsenal v Newcastle clash.
It was a bit of a footballing lesson for the visitors, as the hosts were in complete control.
The Gunners making it 10 home PL wins in a row, whilst Rafa’s team haven’t won away for four months in the league, though a couple of near misses at Wolves and Watford.
Below are the comments from Chris Sutton during the 90 minutes as he talks us through the game.
However, I thought his post-match analysis was spot on as well, Sutton saying: ‘Newcastle are too good to go down. They’re a well-organised outfit, a structure about them, they have a way of playing now. The gap is too big between them and Cardiff.’
The weekend results were really poor on Saturday for Newcastle and if Cardiff had held on when leading Chelsea on Sunday, they would ave close to within four points of NUFC. Seven points and a vastly inferior goal difference have surely left the Welsh club too much to do in terms of catching Newcastle.
As for the Gunners, I couldn’t really argue with this from Chris Sutton: ‘Arsenal were really, really impressive. They have been flying at the Emirates all season. When you think about it, the top four looked too far away at the start of the season but it’s in their hands now. You feel Arsenal fans are right behind Emery. In some ways they are overachieving this season.’
They have already matched last season’s 63 points and have seven matches to go, whilst they haven’t lost at home since Man City on the opening day of the season, having now picked up 44 points from a possible 51 at home so far.
Chris Sutton commentating on Radio Radio Five Live:
(4 minutes in) “Newcastle have a narrow four in midfield – saying to Arsenal they can have the ball wide, confident they can deal with any crosses.”
(13 minutes) “I really think it (Ramsey disallowed goal on 13 minutes after Sokratis foul on Lejuene) was very harsh on Arsenal. It would be interesting to see that one again. Gunners boss Unai Emery will probably be angry with that decision.
“Did Florian Lejeune have to go over (when he was pulled by Sokratis in the area)? A strapping bloke? C’mon!”
(28 minutes in – just before first goal) “You have to credit Arsenal. When they lose the ball they get it back quickly. Newcastle just can’t get out.”
(45 minutes) “Absolutely brilliant from Arsenal but what about the defending of Ritchie – off the line!
“How big a moment could that have been?
“The Gunners have been scintillating but Newcastle are still in it.”
(Second half kicks off) “You still feel there is something in this for Newcastle. We talked about the importance of that Ritchie block on the line.”
(55 minutes) “Newcastle need to be more clinical when they get a chance but if they hang on in there until the last 15 minutes then this stadium will get nervy.”
(62 minutes and Monreal booked for challenge on Almiron) “Monreal actually wins the ball with the outside of his boot. I think that (a booking) was really harsh.
“In the old days they would have said to him, ‘you should have gone in with your studs up’.”
(63 minutes) “That’s not a deliberate handball. Lacazette was clutching at straws there (appealing for penalty).
“Dummett’s hand wasn’t in an unnatural position.”
(68 minutes) “Aaron Ramsey is going to leave the club on a high. He’s been outstanding this season. He has shown the Arsenal fans what they are going to miss.”
(69 minutes) “The crowd were up applauding him (Mustafi) and then you can only describe that as the worst cross of the season.”
(75 minutes) “It (Kenedy for Ritchie) is a positive substitution. We know he’s a talented player on his day.”
(78 minutes) “Sokratis has handled Rondon pretty well. Rondon will be slightly disappointed with his hold-up play tonight.”
(83 minutes when Lacazette scores second) “Lascelles has been brilliant tonight for Newcastle but he hesitates.
“Lacazette has looked sharp all evening – he just has to stay composed for the goal. It’s a wonderful finish (to make it 2-0).
“Arsenal are going above Spurs.”
(87 minutes) “Keepers are a protected species (as Dubravka gets the foul as the ball hits back of the net).
“How big is Dubravka? He’s a man mountain. Lacazette barely does anything. Dubravka punches the ball into his own net. He’s got away with that.”
“Newcastle are too good to go down.
“They’re a well-organised outfit, a structure about them, they have a way of playing now.
“The gap is too big between them and Cardiff.
“Arsenal were really, really impressive. They have been flying at the Emirates all season.
“When you think about it, the top four looked too far away at the start of the season but it’s in their hands now. Five out of the last seven are away now for them.
“They limited Newcastle to very few chances.
“You feel Arsenal fans are right behind Emery. In some ways they are overachieving this season.
“Aaron Ramsey was sensational in the first half. I think what he’s saying to Arsenal fans this season – he is showing them what they will miss. He was sublime tonight. He is playing with such a clear mind.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0
Ramsey 30, Lacazette 83
Possession was Arsenal 71% Newcastle 29%
Total shots were Arsenal 7 Newcastle 3
Shots on target were Arsenal 4 Newcastle 1
Corners were Arsenal 6 Newcastle 2
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Dummett, Lejeune, Ritchie (Kenedy 75), Hayden (Ki 67), Diame, Almiron, Perez (Muto 77), Rondon
Darlow, Manquillo, Shelvey, Fernandez
Crowd: 59,869 (though obviously nowhere near that in the stadium with thousands and thousands of empty seats)
(Rafa Benitez post-match verdict – Newcastle have to spend up to £75m on forward positions – Read HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match HERE)
(Rafa’s team outclassed but not disgraced – Read HERE)