The most important thing about this latest Premier League game for Arsenal was the result and we managed to get the three points from Newcastle that kept us ahead of Leicester City and Manchester City in top spot, but it was not a vintage performance from the Gunners by any means.
We were not as bad as we had been in Southampton on Boxing Day but the whole side looked a bit tired and they struggled to get any fluency going, which is why the former Chelsea keeper Petr Cech was well worth his Man of the Match award and why Arsene Wenger was full of praise for his number one after the match.
The Frenchman told Arsenal Player how he was delighted for big Pete who extended his Premier League record with another clean sheet after some crucial and very good saves. And Wenger explained that he expects many more from Cech in the future.
The Arsenal manager said, “It was a performance that was more mental [strength] and solidarity than fluency and brilliance but overall I like that we have shown this kind of quality.
“We played against a very good Newcastle team. but we found the resources to score. We scored from a set piece and it is important when you want to play in the front to score from set pieces. We have been solid defensively, especially Petr, and it is enough to win these games.
“If Cech goes on like that he will add a few more clean sheets to his record because he has shown he is real top, top class. When you achieve a record sometimes in the next game you relax a little bit and to not lose concentration and to still turn up with two quality saves in the first half and second half was huge for us.
“[Grinding out results] is vital because it gives confidence to the team. There are moments in the league where we have to hang on, and to have the memory to win games when we didn’t play so well will give them the strength to do it.”
After another brilliant and match winning performance from the keeper, however, the question is will Ospina get to play the FA cup game next weekend?