Newcastle United will come back stronger from Arsenal defeat

MIDFIELD TUSSLE: Arsenal's Jack Wilshere (left) and Newcastle United's Cheik Tiote battle for the ball
MIDFIELD TUSSLE: Arsenal's Jack Wilshere (left) and Newcastle United's Cheik Tiote battle for the ball

VURNON Anita says Newcastle United will come back stronger from their 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Olivier Giroud’s second-half strike was the difference between the two sides in well-contested game at St James’s Park yesterday.

The result means Newcastle will end the year in eighth place – nine points behind Arsene Wenger’s Premier League leaders.

But United remain in touch with the clubs chasing Champions League football and Anita feels the team can draw confidence from their performance against leaders Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger’s side struggled to create clear-cut chances against their hosts, while Mathieu Debuchy and Moussa Sissoko went close for Newcastle late in the first half.

United, energised by substitute Hatem Ben Arfa, laid seige to Arsenal’s goal after Olivier Giroud got on the end of a Theo Walcott set-piece in the 65th minute

Anita is confident Alan Pardew’s team can get back to winning ways when they take on West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on New Year’s Day.

“The set-play was the difference between the two teams,” Anita told SportMail.

“It was a good game – up and down – between two strong teams, but the set-play went in and they won.

“I think we must take the positives out of the game and out of the other matches and do our best on Wednesday. We want to win the game.

“We must be ready. It’s going to be a tough game.

“But we must look at ourselves, be confident and do our best.”

Former Ajax midfielder Anita - who was used to a winter break in Holland - knows what to expect from English football’s hectic Christmas and New Year period.

And the run of games isn’t a problem for the 24-year-old, who has started the club’s last five games.

“This is my second year in England,” said Anita.

“Normally, I have a vacation at this time, but you get used to it. You must do it.

“We must win the games.

“We must be ready.

“You want to play. It’s part of your job when you come to England.

“You must go with it.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko – who has four yellow cards to his name so far this season – is now free from the threat of a one-game ban for a fifth booking.

Sissoko wasn’t booked against Arsenal and the cards he has accrued to date will be set aside after December 31.

– MILES STARFORTH