Arsenal 4-1 Newcastle: ‘Efficient’ Gunners showing ‘no fear’

Arsenal players celebrate scoring against Newcastle
Arsenal are the sixth side to win their first six Premier League matches of a calendar year – the last three have won the title

It has been some start to 2024 for Arsenal.

A sixth successive victory in the Premier League, 25 goals scored during that run and just three goals conceded – they are in the title fight and look determined to stay there.

The Gunners, of course, were in a similar position last year before their challenge fell away, but they are showing a hunger and resilience that suggests they are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

“We are living the dream,” Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard told TNT Sports as his side moved two points behind leaders Liverpool in third.

“We have all dreamed of being here. You see every week how competitive it is and that is where we want to be – we want to fight for trophies.”

While Arsenal have won every game they have played in the Premier League in 2024, they did lose to Porto in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in midweek, conceding a stoppage-time goal.

But they responded in style with four goals in a 4-1 win against Newcastle on Saturday.

“They look like a team really upset with the midweek performance. They pressed, intensity was great – immediately on the front foot,” former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said.

“The key is making sure they don’t let fear creep in, that would be easy. But there is no sign of that at the moment.

“They have become a very efficient team and unit right now.”

Odegaard added: “The year before we missed the Champions League and came back stronger. Last season we missed a title and now is the time to show we have learned – every time we play we are so excited.”

Arsenal’s record-breaking 2024 – the stats

  • Arsenal have become the sixth side to win their first six Premier League matches of a calendar year and the last three have won the title.
  • Their tally of 25 goals from six games is the most any team have scored from the start of a calendar year in the Premier League.
  • For the first time in their history, Arsenal have begun a calendar year with six successive league wins.
  • Bukayo Saka has scored in five consecutive league appearances for the first time in his career.
  • He is the first English player to score in five consecutive Premier League games for Arsenal since Ian Wright (7 between September and November 1994).
  • They have become the first team in Premier League history to score 2+ goals in seven consecutive halves of football.
  • Arsenal’s 27 set-piece goals this season (including 8 penalties) is their most on record in a single league campaign since Opta began recording such data in 2004-05.

‘World class’ Saka leading the way

Key to Arsenal’s impressive displays and results in 2024 has been the form of Bukayo Saka.

The England forward scored the Gunners’ third goal to take his tally for the season to 16 in all competitions.

It was also the fifth Premier League game in a row he has scored in, while he has also hit two doubles during that run – in the 6-0 win at West Ham and 5-0 victory at Burnley.

“Those moments are what are propelling him forward to be a world-class player one day,” added Ferdinand.

“He is a fantastic young player with a brilliant mindset and this is why he is producing on a consistent basis.”

Asked about being referred to as “world class”, Saka said: “No comment.

“I am happy with another goal today and more importantly happy to win.

“I am working hard every day and giving my best. Obviously I have great team-mates giving me good passes, which helps as well.

“We have been working hard and there is a lot of quality going forward, and it is starting to click now – we just need to continue with this [form].”

Shaping up for ‘one of best title races’

The victory for Arsenal moved them to one point behind defending champions Manchester City, who are second, and two points behind leaders Liverpool.

With 12 games remaining, it is shaping up to be a fascinating and tense title race.

“What a run-in we are going to get,” said former Scotland international Ally McCoist.

Former Gunner Ian Wright added on Match of the Day: “It is looking good. They are learning from last season, they just have to keep doing what they are doing. Arsenal are scoring goals left, right and centre.

“Arsenal this year feel different, and I think they will go all they way and push Liverpool and Manchester City. It will be one of the best title races for a long time.”

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown added: “It is a must-win every week because of the standards.

“There are 12 games left and you have to win every one – there are some huge games coming up.”

However, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is determined to stay grounded.

“We are really happy, we have to continue to do the things that we are doing well,” he said.

“There are still things that we can do better and we are bringing big players back from injury so that is a big boost.

“Against Porto we were ourselves with the ball but not without the ball. It was a big lesson and you learn a lot from those moments.”

How to follow Arsenal on the BBC bannerArsenal banner footer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *