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Arsenal v Newcastle - Ozil Brilliance Earns Gunners 3 Points

A superb first half Mesut Ozil volleyed finish was the difference between Arsenal and Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon at the Emirates, registering Arsene Wenger's men 3 points for the first time in three games.The formation of 4-3-2-1 remained unchanged from the bore draw against West Ham United during the week, although this time it was pulled off to better effect, with the front 3 of Alex Iwobi, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre looking dangerous and of course the match-winner Ozil contributing well from midfield.In terms of dominance, the statistics really tell the story of this game, which is not necessarily portrayed by the scoreline. The Gunners were very dominant, finishing the game with 71% of the possession and 23 shots - of which only 5 were on target. In this regard, it mirrors the previous two games (against the Hammers and the draw away at Southampton) in that Arsenal controlled the game but were wasteful going forward - although this time, most importantly, they brought home the spoils.The side remained the same from the game against West Ham, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Jack Wilshire and Iwobi retaining their places. Olivier Giroud began the game on the bench, as well as Danny Welbeck, but both were introduced during the game.The game got off to a captivating start, with Lacazette being denied by Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliott early on, before shortly afterwards having a good effort blocked down. Maitland-Niles made his presence known with a surging run, combining both pace and power to get by three challenges, with his eventual shot skimming the side of the away sides net.It wasn't long after this that the deadlock was in-fact broken, following some good play by players in red shirts. In the 23rd minute, Wilshire broke from the centre of the field to drive at a fragile Geordie defence, before feeding the ball to Iwobi, whose low pass skipped by the oncoming Lacazette to the feet of Sanchez.The Chilean struck the ball well, with his effort being deflected into the air, where it sat for a moment before landing to Ozil who positioned himself wonderfully to hook an outstanding volley by Elliott. Unstoppable, Arsenal were in the lead for the first time in 3 league matches.With the lead in their possession, Arsenal pushed for more goals. Hector Bellerin came close with another volley which found its way over the bar; and it was Ozil once more who nearly added another following some clever play from Lacazette. His stylish dinked effort found its way over Elliott and looked destined to make the game two-nil before half time before being cleared by a Newcastle defender on the line.Newcastle offered very little in the first half of the match, and could count themselves lucky to only be one-nil down at half time. Petr Cech only had one save to make in the opening 45 minutes, making it a comfortable half for the Czech keeper.Arsenal's dominance continued in the second half, but Newcastle began to show more grit and made a late surge to share some of the spoils on offer.Jacob Murphy caught Bellerin out easily and tested Cech with a good effort down low to his left side, while Matt Ritchie soon after was knocking on the door, but skyed his effort over the bar from the edge of the box. Newcastle were growing into the match, and for Arsenal to leave the Emirates with anything less than 3 points would have been very harsh considering their dominance.Dwight Gayle was introduced by the vistors in an attempt to capture some of the points on offer, and he did a good job of holding the ball up for Rafa Benitez's side. Two quick-fire Ayoze Perez efforts may have frightened a little due to the slender lead, but thankfully he did not find the net on either occasion. Arsenal also threatened a few more times during the second half, with Giroud coming on the set Wilshire up with a very clever cushioned pass, although the midfielder did not take full advantage of the situation, hitting the shot straight at Elliott. That being said, Wilshire had a decent game and will be delighted to earn his first Arsenal win where he started the game in over 18 months.The game was seen out, and it was Ozil's goal that made the difference. It truly was a deserving goal to prove to be the difference in any match, with the German playmaker's finish surely going to be in the running for goal of the month.Benitez and Newcastle's woes continue, with this result meaning they have not won a game in 8 matches, only earning one point during this time. They showed tenacity in the second half after a poor opening 45 minutes, but may have a difficult Christmas ahead of them.Arsenal move into 4th position following the win, leapfrogging the high flying Burnley, with Sean Dyche's men held away at Brighton. 6th place Tottenham have a very difficult game against league leaders Manchester City to play this evening and Liverpool are away at Bournemouth on Sunday, but for new, Arsenal remain in the Champions League positions on 33 points.The congested Christmas period has well and truly begun, and this match will be followed with a quarter final match in the League Cup on Tuesday night against West Ham United before a hugely important league match against Liverpool at the Emirates on Friday the 22nd of December, where hopefully amends will be made for the embarrassing encounter at Anfield earlier in the season. To have the final word on this match, the most important thing is that the 3 points were earned along with a clean sheet. The Gunners were very dominant throughout the encounter, but with only a 1 goal lead, it did not necessarily approach comfortable despite this dominance. It looks like Wenger will be maintaining the old/new formation, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out in the coming matches.