Arsenal were able to put the disappointing 0-0 draw against Palace behind them to take all 3 points against Newcastle. And they did so comfortably in the end and in style. It took a while to break the deadlock but Aubameyang eventually did so in the 50th minute. Here is how the players got on…
Leno – 7/10: Newcastle never really tested him. But he dealt with their crosses very assuredly and distributed the ball really quickly which was great to see.
Cedric – 10/10: Maybe I sound crazy, but I think this guy is my MOTM. He was up and down that right flank relentlessly. He was constantly overlapping (which allowed Saka to drift more centrally) and always seemed to make the right decision. His quality of delivery is really excellent too. Compared to that of Bellerin, his crossing was always dangerous and awkward to defend, even if it wasn’t always inch perfect. I think Arteta has something to think about regarding whether we give this guy a run in the team after a performance like that.
Holding – 8/10: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly worried about the Carroll-Wilson duo up top for Newcastle. However, Holding dealt with everything they had to throw at him. Carried the ball into midfield at times and you can hear and see him leading the players out on that pitch.
David Luiz – 7/10: I said that his passing was off the mark against Palace, but it was back for this one. A number of times he was able to catch Newcastle unawares with a long diagonal. Defensively very sound as well.
Tierney – 7/10: By his own incredibly high standards, it was certainly not his best ever game. But he didn’t do anything wrong really. Even by just being on that left hand side it gave us a width that Auba was having to provide against Palace. He is the key to getting the continued best out of Auba.
Xhaka – 7/10: Another dependable performance defensively and the occasional sign of creativity going forward as well. He is firmly back in my good books, though next season I do feel like he ought only to be a squad player.
Partey – 8/10: I thought he was brilliant. He seemed to be everywhere on the pitch. He was joining the high press, then back next to Xhaka winning the ball back, then carrying the ball forward and getting it to our attackers. He was spraying passes across the park as well. This was almost like a 2nd debut and I like what I see.
Saka – 9/10: I mean come on. He is at the heart of every Arsenal attack. Newcastle tried getting tight to him, tried stepping off. Nothing seemed to work for them. The brilliant thing about Saka is that when he can’t beat his man, he still keeps the ball for Arsenal. He seems to be a lot stronger than he looks.
Smith Rowe – 8/10: At random points in the game, you can just watch Smith Rowe for a few minutes and see that he is making all the right movements. His jinking run for the second goal was brilliant and he is really making a strong case to earn that number 10 shirt.
Aubameyang – 10/10: This was the Auba of last season. I was gutted when he missed that big chance in the first half, because he was low enough in confidence. But he came out without a care in the world for that miss in the second half. He was leading our counter attacks very well. The first goal he picked the ball up on the halfway line near enough, got the defender backpedaling. The defender dared him to go onto his left foot, Auba obliged and smashed it into the roof of the net. The second one was more simple thanks to the work from Cedric, but great to get a brace nonetheless. Let’s hope he keeps this up and fires us up to the upper end of the table through these winter months.
Lacazette – 7/10: He won’t get the headlines, but again he helped to bring everything together. He makes it so easy for ESR and Saka to have a free reign, because they know Laca will protect the ball and get it back to them.
Elneny – 6/10: Replaced Partey, presumably not to risk the Ghanaian, and ensured we didn’t miss Partey’s tenacity in the midfield.
Martinelli and Willian – n/a: Neither had enough time on the pitch to warrant a rating.
Arteta – 8/10: I would have liked to see Gabriel starting but fair enough, he may not be 100% yet. I was glad to see someone other than Bellerin at RB to provide some competition. The only complaint I could have is that we didn’t seem too pumped up from it from minute one. If he had done his halftime team talk as his pre-match one, we perhaps wouldn’t have waited so long to break the deadlock.