3 reasons why Arsenal won against Newcastle United
Unai Emery got his third consecutive Premier League win against Arsenal with a 2-1 victory against Newcastle United at St. James Park on Saturday, September 15. The Rafa Benitez-managed side, 17th on the points table, are yet to get a win this season.
The North London club, on the other hand, climbed up to the seventh spot with nine points in five weeks. It was not an easy win for the visitors, who had to toil hard past the intensity exhibited by the hosts in the first 45 minutes of the game.
"The first half we couldn’t control the match like we wanted. We need to impose our ideas, but we conceded a lot of chances for the counter attack. The second half, the balance on the pitch was better. We didn’t concede the transition as easy. The key was the first goal, it gave us the confidence to improve on the match."
Half-time came without goals from any side, before strikes from Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil saw Arsenal race to a two-goal lead before the 60th minute. Ciaran Clark scored Newcastle's only goal in stoppage time, but it was too little too late for the hosts to take something substantial from the encounter.
Interestingly, the ten goals scored by Arsenal in the league so far have come from ten different players.
Here are three reasons why Arsenal won at St. James Park:
#3 Resilience from Sokratis Papastathopoulos
The vital cog behind Arsenal conceding just the solitary goal against Newcastle was their summer signing, Sokratis Papasthathopoulos. The Greek centre back held his own in the first 45 minutes when Arsenal's defence looked all over the place.
The 30-year-old kept the visitors in the game with his timely tackles, strong recoveries and display of efficient physicality.
His imperative contribution came in the 22nd minute, when Shkodran Mustafi slipped in an attempt to receive a long ball in front of Murphy – Sokratis showed great awareness though, and bailed his partner, and his team with characteristic calm under duress. He mitigated the crisis with a quick run, a muscular tussle with the Newcastle forward, and a seamless clearance to cap it all off.