Arsenal breezed past Newcastle 3-0 at the Emirates on Monday evening, just nine days after their hard-fought victory in the FA Cup, to keep the prospect of European football next season alive.
A ruthless second half display saw the Gunners rediscover their cutting edge in front of goal, as Aubameyang and Saka made sure all three points stayed in North London.
Both sides came into the game with contrasting form, as Arsenal had won three of their last five Premier League fixtures whereas Newcastle had lost three of their last five.
Straight from the off, the tactics from both sides mirrored the meeting from just over a week ago, with the visitors’ deep block proving effective against Arsenal’s blunt attack.
The hosts gradually grew into the game, controlling possession and pinning Newcastle deep into their own half, while waiting patiently for an opening against an organised defence.
In the 15th minute, the best chance of the half fell to the out-of-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who met Bukayo Saka’s drilled cross at the back post only to fire his effort off the post.
After this, chances became few and far between with the only other effort of significance came from a lightning break which was kick started by Thomas Partey.
The Ghanian international released Emile Smith Rowe over the top, with the 20-year-old cutting it back for Aubameyang, who blazed his shot over the bar from a difficult angle.
Going into half-time the scores were level at 0-0 with it all to play for in the second 45 minutes.
After the break, the dynamic of the game continued with it being attack versus defence, however in the 50thminute it turned out to be third time lucky for Aubameyang.
Partey’s return to the side looked an important one, as his chipped through ball allowed the 31-year-old to take on his marker and finish past Karl Darlow with his left-foot, to put Arsenal in the driving seat.
As the game went on, the away side had to become more adventurous in the hope of getting anything out of the game, which ultimately resulted in them going two behind.
Youngster Smith Rowe turned Jamaal Lascelles inside out on the left wing, giving him the space to cut it back for Saka – who’s first time finish put Arsenal out of sight.
Mikel Arteta’s decision to bring the 20-year-old into the first-team fold looks to be more justified with every passing game, as his link up with fellow Hale End graduate Saka looks to be flourishing.
Towards the final ten minutes of the match, some clever link-up between Cedric Soares and Saka meant the Portuguese right-back could pick out Aubameyang for his second of the match, rolling the ball into an empty net from six-yards out.
This result puts Arsenal back into the top half of the table in 10th place, prior to a run of six difficult fixtures coming up, including games against Manchester United, Wolves and Manchester City.
Leno – 7
Cedric – 8
Holding – 7
Luiz – 7
Tierney – 7
Xhaka – 7
Partey – 8
Smith Rowe – 8
Saka – 8
Aubameyang – 8
Lacazette – 7
MOTM – Smith Rowe
This was a very difficult decision as I feel three or four players deserved it, however the impact Smith Rowe has had on our side since being brought in has been immense. His quality on the ball, work-rate and vision helped put the game out of sight therefore I believe he deserved MOTM.
I’m a 20 year-old Arsenal fanatic and aspiring Sports Journalist, who will be studying how to write about the Beautiful Game at Solent University from September in an attempt to make my dream into a reality.
Since the age of 8 I have played academy football, but unfortunately it didn’t quite work out – therefore I decided to pursue the next best career for me.
I am aiming to write honest and interesting articles about the club I love, and to share my opinion (one from the younger generation of Arsenal supporters) with as many other fans as possible!