Hughton heaps praise on Carroll

The 21-year-old was in the headlines on the morning of this Premier

League clash following fresh allegations about his private life.

However, any off-the-field issues involving Carroll – who last

month pleaded guilty to common assault and was fined £1,000,

and ordered to pay £2,500 compensation after an altercation

with a man in a nightclub – were put aside this afternoon as the

Magpies frontman headed home a deep free-kick into the Arsenal

penalty area, which goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski should really have

collected. It was a robust display in front of watching England

manager Fabio Capello, and added to those championing his inclusion

in the forthcoming squad for the friendly against France at

Wembley. When asked if Hughton had any reservations about selecting

Carroll given the headlines the team would have woken up to, the

Newcastle manager insisted: “No. “To come here and get the result

we have, I think we deserve to talk about football matters.”

Hughton continued: “I made a selection today based on the

continuity we have had from the last couple of games. “I decided to

play two strikers and just felt the confidence they have got from

that meant the same group of players deserved another go. “Andy is

mentally very strong. He is a player who is developing, apart from

having a prowess in the air, he has given us a mobility which can

stretch defenders. “He has still got a long way to go. He is

working hard on all aspects on his game and he is certainly going

in the right direction. “For me, being picked for Newcastle United

is the most important. Anything which comes from that means he has

earned it.” Newcastle broke up play well and were rewarded for a

positive collective display which saw them have more possession

than Arsenal and sees the Magpies move up into the top five on the

back of a third successive league victory. “It was a magnificent

team effort. This is a very difficult place to come and get a

result, let alone a victory,” Hughton said. “You have to be

resilient as a team and the moments where we had to defend we did

so very well, and you are just looking to get that breakaway.

“Luckily for us, Andy Carroll provided it.” The Newcastle boss

added: “We have a team who are a very close-knit group, they work

very well for each other and know where they want to be playing

their football. “Today’s performance showed what it meant to each

and every one of them.” Hughton’s own future has yet to be

resolved. However, the man who guided Newcastle up from the

Championship at the first attempt maintained: “There is not

anything I can do, all I can do is win as many football matches as

I can.” Although Arsenal twice hit the woodwork through Cesc

Fabregas’ deflected free-kick and an angled drive from Theo Walcott

at the start of the second half, Arsene Wenger’s side were well

below par. A miserable afternoon was compounded by the dismissal of

centre-back Laurent Koscielny in stoppage time for a professional

foul as the Gunners suffered a second successive defeat, following

their midweek Champions League loss away to Shakhtar Donetsk. “We

were never in full flow, but we played against a good Newcastle

team who are a team of men, strong physically, mature,” Wenger

lamented. “We did not look sharp and we never found any sharpness.

We never found the second gear. “Overall, though, I still believe

we were very unlucky to lose the game, they had one shot on target.

“We hit the woodwork two or three times and their keeper made a

very good save.” Wenger felt Fabianski could perhaps have done

better at the goal. “He didn’t have a lot to do today and I think

he was a bit too confident to take this ball,” Wenger said. “It was

not a technical mistake, it was a problem of timing and he thought

maybe he wouldn’t be challenged.” Wenger revealed Arsenal may

consider an appeal against Koscielny’s red card, the foul on

substitute Nile Ranger coming near the touchline rather than in a

central position. The Gunners also lost at home to West Brom before

the international break. “Home form is a concern because against

Birmingham and West Ham they were struggling wins,” said Wenger,

who admitted Robin van Persie was not really ready for a return to

action after coming from the bench following his long injury

lay-off. “Everybody comes here and plays very tight. When you score

the first goal it is all right because teams have to come out, but

as long as they can sit deep we have a problem to play through when

we are not on full power.” Wenger had also been in the media

spotlight ahead of this fixture following allegations about his

private life. However, the Arsenal manager would not be drawn on

the controversy. “I arrived 14 years ago and you know what happened

and I promised myself I would never comment any more, because for

14 years I have been insulted everywhere in England, and never with

any truth,” Wenger said. “I promised myself I would never speak

about my private life any more.”