Arsenal got back to winning ways yesterday with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle, putting last week’s embarrassing defeat to Liverpool firmly in the rearview mirror.
It was a pedestrian first half. Newcastle did not seek to attack at all and just sat deep. Arsenal controlled the game well but moved the ball too slowly and failed to create much.
That being said, we did create one golden opportunity in the first half. It was crafted by Saka, who alongside Tavares was the only bright spark in the first half, who beat his man and chipped a cross for Smith Rowe. His header was parried by Dubravka right to Aubameyang who fired the tap-in rebound against the post from point-blank range. I don’t think anybody in that stadium could believe he had missed.
The second half was a lot better though. The passing was a lot sharper and a lot more direct. A tidy quick passing move fashioned our first goal, well taken by Saka. Then Martinelli sealed the deal after having only been on the pitch for just over a minute. It was a superb ball from Tomiyasu to put Martinelli in behind and he volleyed it first time over and around Dubravka. It was a great goal. Here are my player ratings…
RAMSDALE – 8/10: Another clean sheet and some more impressive saves. His distribution was decent as well. That £30 million price is beginning to look like a huge bargain.
TOMIYASU – 8/10: We already knew that he was exceptional defensively. He showed a lot more going forward though in this game. He was a threat all game in fairness and that culminated in his fantastic ball for Martinelli’s goal. Great performance and looking like another great signing.
WHITE – 7/10: A confident and assured performance at the back. Some decent long balls but perhaps could have been a bit more adventurous at times. Though overall he did very well
GABRIEL – 7/10: Very similar to White. It’s hard to give them anything other than a solid 7. Newcastle put up hardly any attacking threat.
TAVARES – 8/10: I was so glad to see him put his poor show against Liverpool behind him. He was such a threat in the first half, though in fairness was very wasteful with his end product. In the second half, he kept persevering and was able to really improve his delivery. He also played a huge role with the smart reverse pass to set up Saka’s goal.
PARTEY – 6/10: A bit pedestrian from Partey throughout. Normally, you watch Partey next to Lokonga and you can tell which is the seasoned midfielder and which is the youthful, exciting prospect. However, today Partey was the passenger in the midfield.
LOKONGA – 8/10: I was very impressed with Lokonga. I think it is clear he is still getting used to the pace of this league, meaning he will struggle against teams that play with a high intensity like Liverpool. However, in this game he had the time to compose himself, play some nice passes and seemed to be everywhere in terms of winning the ball back and killing Newcastle counter-attacks
SAKA – 9/10: My MOTM for sure. He was one of the only players in the first half asking questions and trying to run at the Newcastle defence. In the second half, when those around him could match his intensity, he looked even better. His one-on-one dribbling was brilliant, his quick feet were a nightmare for Newcastle and his finish to give us the lead was brilliant. He had been a bit quiet in the last few weeks, so hopefully this gives him loads of confidence going into the tough winter period.
ODEGAARD – 7/10: I thought the first half was average at best. He had a good effort from the free-kick and create a couple of chances, but his touch was off and failed to pick apart that Newcastle defence. In the second half he improved a lot and started playing more quickly. Despite being just 22, in terms of how many games he has already played in his career he is one of the most experienced in our starting 11. He needs to start showing that now. His form dipped massively ever since the NLD. He needs to find it again because on his day I do think he makes us a lot better
SMITH ROWE – 6/10: Not his best day. Couldn’t really effect the game. I think stylistically he suits teams that don’t just sit in their own box so that there are spaces to exploit in behind.
AUBAMEYANG – 5/10: Another poor show from him. I get that he is being paid handsomely, but if he makes the team worse then we cannot keep playing him. A lot of people say he is the only natural goalscorer in that team so has to play, but I actually think Lacazette is a more natural finisher than him. Plus, when he’s not scoring, Auba really offers nothing else for the team. I still love the guy but I think Arteta needs to realise it is time for a stint on the sidelines.
Overall, it was a good, professional win. But, all focus now must be on our game against Manchester United. If we can beat them, then I will truly start believing top 4 could be ours.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons