North London giants Arsenal managed to pick up yet another win at home, as they faced Steve McClaren’s Newcastle United side at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon, with both teams desperate for a win for different reasons.

The Gunners hoped to extend their lead on top of the Premier League table, with Leicester City eventually ending their game in a goalless draw on the night against Bournemouth. The game did not produce any goals in the opening 45 minutes, though there were some really good chances for both sides to score. Opportunities came to both sides and were not taken, as the two teams went into the break at 0-0.

The Gunners did not want to lose their first match of the new year at and tried to push forward to find more scoring opportunities with the home crowd fully supporting them.

The second half began with quite a bit of renewed energy shown by both sides, as there were more chances which were not really taken and the game could have surely gone either way. Further, it was the hosts that took the lead in the 72nd minute with Laurent Koscielny giving them the lead from a well taken volley. Petr Cech kept his side in the game with a few good saves and the game ended at 1-0, with Arsenal taking back all three points.

The Londoners now lead the Premier League table by a couple of points and here is what manager Arsene Wenger had to say after his side’s narrow win:

Talking about the three points…

It was a difficult game against a good Newcastle side. Our legs were heavy today, I must say. Overall we were tested against a team with a lot of technical quality and our fluency was not there and our movement was not there. Our motto was try to stick together and win the game how we can. The mental aspect of our team and our defence mentality was tested today rather than our quality going forward.

About Petr Cech’s performance…

He made two big saves, one in the first half and one in the second half and on top of that he gives calm dynamics. Today we needed that.

Further, about the Cech signing as one of his best…

I read more about the bad singings I have made so I don’t know.

On winning the game ugly…

I have been in football long enough to know if you are Newcastle’s players you feel for them because they played very well. But I know because I have been in a long time when you are capable to win and don’t play well that shows a mental aspect of your team that will be very important in moments that will be difficult.

His views on Mathieu Flamini…

Flamini has played well and it was a difficult game for the midfielders because they put a lot of pressure on us and we didn’t find our combinations. You never know when you play in midfield if you move away from the ball and get into areas where you can get the ball or if you sit. He is intelligent and has experience.

Talking more about the win…

To not drop points with the way we played today, I think it is very important. It helps the team as well because you go through moments where you don’t play well. The memory of having done that before and still having won the game, helps you to hang on sometimes.

Opinions on a title-winning performance…

It is too far. We are on 42 points. Let’s be realistic. I think we should focus being on a strong performance and focus more on our performance. We try not to look too much at the other results and for us it is important to get the quality of our game back.

Talking about being out of form…

A little bit. I think we have given a lot during Christmas and we have had games before over Christmas. At the end of the day what do people look at after Christmas? Four games and how many points you have made. Nine points is acceptable or even good. Ten is close to ideal because you look at last year and I think Manchester City made 10 and after the second best made seven and we made six or seven. Manchester United made seven, Manchester City made 10 points over Christmas. Nine is not bad.

Speaking about Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil…

They did quite well in the minutes they stayed on because I put Ozil centre forward and he has quality to keep the ball and run from deep spaces and Aaron Ramsey can do that.

Giving an update on Mohamed Elneny…

No.

The type of player Elneny is…

You know that.

Ending with what he thinks of Elneny…

I have nothing to say because he is not our player. We have not signed anybody and we are not imminently in a position where we can say we have signed somebody. We are out there to get someone but at the moment we haven’t signed anybody.

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