After a first of its kind winter break, Arsenal welcomed Newcastle United to the Emirates. Coming into this game, the two teams surprisingly sat on the same amount of points (31). The Gunners would end up comfortable winners despite a very evenly contested first half.
Mikel Arteta’s men broke the deadlock in the 54th minute through a Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang header. They then doubled their lead three minutes later through a Nicolas Pepe strike. Things stayed this way until Mesut Ozil scored a third in the 90th minute with Alexandre Lacazette adding another 4 minutes later. This 4-0 win keeps Arsenal in 10th place but puts them only 7 points behind the top 4.
Here are Arsenal’s player ratings from a 4-0 win over Newcastle.
Bernd Leno: 6.5/10
In a game he didn’t expect to be busy in, Leno had to weather a stormy period in the first half. After that, it was pretty much plain sailing for the 27-year-old as he made 2 saves throughout the 90 minutes.
Hector Bellerín: 5.5/10
Up against the tricky Allan Saint-Maxim, Bellerín struggled immensely. Maxim not only twisted the Spaniard inside out but also bullied him for pace and strength. The Spaniard was dribbled past 3 times in the 90 minutes.
Shkodran Mustafi: 6.5/10
Under Arteta, the German has had a change in fortunes with a regular starting place locked down. Although his teammates didn’t start too well, Mustafi didn’t do much wrong all game. Throughout the game, the defender made 9 clearances whilst winning 7 aerial duels as Newcastle tried to bombard his box with long balls.
David Luiz: 6.5/10
Recently, the Brazilian has been enjoying a much better vein of form. He has looked like a leader at the back and has marshalled those around him well. Today, the 32-year-old almost acted as a third midfielder, completing 70 passes.
Bukayo Saka: 8.5/10
The youngster has seemingly made the left-back position his own. Despite preferring to play as a winger, Saka has excelled at LB, becoming a first-team regular under Arteta. Against Newcastle, the 18-year-old was truly exceptional, maintaining a 91% pass accuracy, completing six take ons and providing one amazing assist. The sooner the Gunners tie him down to a long-term contract, the better.
Granit Xhaka: 6.5/10
After picking up a yellow card in the first 10 minutes, Granit Xhaka surprisingly kept his composure for the remainder of the game. The Swiss international screened the back four and contributed effectively to Arsenal’s build-up play. The 27-year-old completed 97 passes and won 3 aerial duels.
Dani Ceballos: 7/10
After rumours of a January exit, Dani Ceballos was given a rare start to show the manager what he’s capable of. In the second half, the Spaniard showed his true talent as he began to pull the strings from the middle third. The 23-year-old created 3 chances and completed 87 passes.
Nicolas Pepe: 8/10
The 24-year-old has come under much criticism this season for his lacklustre performances especially when you consider his £72million price tag. However, today the winger bolstered his strike rate significantly, by scoring 1 and providing 2 assists. That takes his tally to 6 goals and 7 assists in all comps.
Mesut Ozil: 7/10
Under the new manager, Ozil has been a mainstay in the Arsenal starting line-up. Arteta has focused much of Arsenal’s attacking play around getting the best out of the German. Against Newcastle, the playmaker ran rings around Newcastle’s midfield pulling all the strings in Arsenal’s attack. Ultimately, he scored his first goal since April, on top of that he created 4 chances.
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang: 6.5/10
The Gabonese international did what he does best, score when Arsenal needed him most. The Gunners were struggling for a breakthrough until the star striker angled a perfect header into the bottom corner from a Pepe cross. Despite playing on the left-wing this season, Aubameyang’s 15 PL goals this season show he’s good enough to score from anywhere.
Eddie Nketiah: 6/10
In his first-ever PL start, Eddie Nketiah struggled to make much of an impact. Although he was full of running and energy, he was unable to fashion many chances for himself. He did have one clear chance in which he hit the crossbar, but the youngster shouldn’t be too dismayed as it’s clear Arteta appreciates his effort and exuberance.
Lucas Torreira – N/A
The Uruguayan came on late in the game for Dani Ceballos and simply shielded the back four to ensure there were no late slip-ups from his teammates.
Alexandre Lacazette – 7/10
Despite only being on the pitch for 10 minutes, Lacazette was able to break his longest goalscoring drought in an Arsenal shirt. The Frenchman also provided an assist for Mesut Ozil before he scored his own.
Joe Willock – N/A
The youngster came on in the dying minutes of the game and didn’t have enough time to make much of an impact.Published 17 Feb 2020, 01:48 IST