Newcastle vs Arsenal Player Ratings

Arsenal sealed fourth spot in the Premier League with a 1-0 win against Newcastle at St James’ Park.

Football News: Steve Harper & Lukas Podolski

By FOX SPORTS staff

Laurent Koscienly was the hero for the travelling Arsenal support, when he popped up in the 52nd minute to prod home from a free kick after a defensive lapse from Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini.

The slim 1-0 victory was sufficient for the Gunners to hold off London rivals Tottenham in the race for the final Champions League place.

Newcastle

Steve Harper - 6.5

With the Arsenal attack struggling to carve out clear-cut chances, Harper had a relatively easy afternoon in the final game of his career. During the rare occasions he was tested, the Newcastle custodian demonstrated bravery and focus to thwart the opposition, though he could do little about the goal conceded.

Mathieu Debuchy - 6.0

Storming forward to help team-mate Yoan Gouffran overpower Kieran Gibbs whenever he could, Debuchy was a useful attacking outlet from the back for Newcastle. However, the Magpies defender should work on his deliveries, as they were of an inconsistent quality.

 Steven Taylor - 5.5

With Lukas Podolski looking eager to get on the ball, Taylor managed to step up his game to keep the former Bayern Munich man quiet in the second half. The central defender did struggle slightly when Arsenal upped the tempo in search for the winner and will not feel too disappointed with the outcome of this one.

Fabricio Coloccini - 5.5

The Argentinean stayed strong on Theo Walcott, knowing that he could not afford to allow the former Southampton man to burst past him. Nonetheless, his manager is unlikely to remember that part of his game as he was directly responsible for allowing Laurent Koscielny to score the winner.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (off 80') - 5.5

Despite lacking in the speed required to beat his marker, Yanga-Mbiwa demonstrated a willingness to move up in support of his team-mates. Nevertheless, the Frenchman was not as exemplary in defence, often putting his side under pressure with some questionable passes from the back.

Chieck Tiote - 5.0

Not one to shy away from doing the dirty work, Tiote made sure the Arsenal midfielders were aware of his presence with some bone-crunching tackles. On the other hand, he was also guilty of giving away free kicks in dangerous positions on several occasions.

Yohan Cabaye (off 56') - 5.5

Yet to regain his illuminating form for Newcastle, Cabaye only managed to demonstrate his abilities in spurts. The central midfielder made some discerning passes to incite his team's attack, but did not do it consistently enough to alter the complexion of the game.

Jonas Gutierrez - 6.5

With Gutierrez's dogged determination, Magpies manager Alan Pardew had exactly what was necessary to keep Walcott quiet. The Argentinean hassled and hurried Walcott to ensure the Arsenal man never had a moment's peace, but the task kept him too occupied to help Newcastle in attack.

Hatem Ben Arfa - 6.5

The Frenchman's dazzling feet kept Kieran Gibbs and his fellow Arsenal defenders busy for most of the game. With the Gunners defence fearful of being wrong-footed, they were content to give Ben Arfa space on the ball and were lucky that the former Olympique Lyon player was not given the support he needed to punish them.

Papiss Cisse - 6.0

Forced to battle with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny on his own, Cisse demonstrated tireless running to ensure the Arsenal duo did not have an easy game despite outnumbering him. However, the striker's influenced diminished as the match wore on, reducing Newcastle's chances of getting back into contention.

Yoan Gouffran (off 64') - 6.0

The former Bordeaux man was always ready to take advantage of space left behind by Gibbs' forward runs. Playing off frontman Cisse, Gouffran also came close to recording an assist for the striker.

Substitutes

Vernon Anita (on 56') - 5.0

In an apt summary of his season, Anita had minimal impact on the game after coming on.

Sylvain Marveaux (on 64') - 5.0

Brought on to help shoulder some of Ben Arfa's attacking burden, Marveaux performed poorly and was guilty of some bad decision-making.

Adam Campbell (on 80') - 6.0

N/A

Arsenal

Wojeich Szczesny - 6.0

The Gunners goalkeeper had a quiet shift, thanks in part to an ineffectual Newcastle attack. With Koscielny in particularly inspiring form, Szczesny kept a clean sheet easily in this one.

Bacary Sagna - 5.5

Poor for the most part and average at best, the Frenchman went down under the slightest amount of pressure, but he was hardly ever awarded free kicks. Sagna was content to do anything other than taking on his marker and cut a lazy figure throughout the game.

Per Mertesacker - 5.5

With speedy and tricky attackers such as Cisse and Gouffran to deal with, Mertesacker looked far from comfortable in this one. The German was rarely ever first to the ball and appeared lethargic throughout the game.

Laurent Koscielny - 8.0

Unlike Mertesacker, Koscielny put in a much better shift against the Magpies. The 27-year old displayed anticipation and a willingness to lay his body on the line while protecting Szczesny's goalmouth, picking up a goal as a just reward for his efforts.

Kieran Gibbs - 6.5

The speedy, agile Englishman was often seen bombing up and down the flank to feature in his team's attack or to keep tabs on the opposition. Although Gibbs managed to put in several decent crosses, none of them translated into goals for Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta (off 28') - 6.0

Risked in Arsenal's quest to secure Champions League football, Arteta did not finish the first half after aggravating his injury and was replaced by Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain.

Aaron Ramsey - 5.0

Although the Welshman has excelled in central midfield over recent weeks, he turned in a quiet outing this time round. Ramsey hardly got on the ball and failed to produce anything positive for Arsenal.

 Tomas Rosicky - 6.5

In a similar plight to his midfield partner, Rosicky started the game brightly but soon struggled to deal with the tough-tackling Newcastle players. The Czech Republic international's best contribution was a couple of free kicks he forced the Magpies to give away during his trademark surges through the middle.

Santi Cazorla (off 88') - 5.5

Counted on by Arsene Wenger to spark the team's attack, Cazorla did not live up to expectations at St James' Park. The Spaniard rarely had a sight at goal and was reduced to long range attempts that hardly worried Harper.

Theo Walcott - 6.5

The 24-year old tried in vain to escape the close attentions of Gutierrez and Coloccini, but could not get the better of the physical duo. Nevertheless, Walcott was one of Arsenal's better attacking outlets with his hopeful crosses and occasional through balls.

Lukas Podolski (off 76') - 6.0

Lively early on, Podolski was involved in several of his team's early attacks, but saw less of the ball in the second period. Wenger decided to take off the German for the final 15 minutes of the game, throwing on Olivier Giroud to hold up the ball against the brutish Newcastle defence.

Substitutes

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on 28') - 6.5

Playing in an unfamiliar, deep-lying central midfield role, Oxlade-Chamberlain turned in a competent performance that highlighted his versatility and willingness to work for the Gunners.

Olivier Giroud (on 76') - 6.0

N/A

Jack Wilshere (on 88') - 6.0

N/A



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