The Gunners now have 34 points from 26 matches and sit at tenth place on the league table. Meanwhile, the Magpies remain at 13th place with 31 points from 26 matches.
The result marked the London giants' second win under the tutelage of Mikel Arteta and was also their biggest win of the season so far.
It was a game of two distinctly separate halves, as the home side failed to break the deadlock in the first half despite having 68% ball possession. However, they were able to score four past the hapless Newcastle defence in the second half of the game, courtesy of goals from Pierre-Emerick-Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil, and Alexandre Lacazette.
In this article, we take a look at three factors that stood out from Sunday’s match.
#1 Arsenal dominated the midfield battle
Arsenal dominated the midfield battle with the help of a great performance from Dani Ceballos, who started in the double pivot in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The Spaniard played a plethora of accurate passes in the Newcastle half in the first 45 minutes. He did look a bit tired in the second half but did enough to tilt the scale in the Gunners' favour in the middle of the park.
Granit Xhaka, who partnered him as a defensive midfielder, also did pretty well. He made some vital challenges inside his own half to thwart some of the attacking moves made by the Magpies.
Ceballos and Xhaka maintained a 90% passing accuracy throughout the match and hardly allowed Newcastle any leeway in the middle third. Most of the moves made by the visitors were counter-attacking ones through the wings, as they struggled to get hold of the ball in the central areas.
#2 Arsenal’s full-backs performed exceedingly well
Arsenal’s full-backs Bukayo Saka and Hector Bellerin were right on the money for the majority of the match. Saka was a bit apprehensive while going into overlaps in the opening ten minutes or so, but started to make repeated attacking runs in the Newcastle half after the jittery start.
Aubameyang, who started as the left-winger, kept drifting into the central areas, and it allowed Saka to make his darting runs. The 18-year-old registered an assist in the second half after brilliantly dribbling past two Newcastle players, as Pepe scored from his inch-perfect cross. It was the young fullback’s third assist of the season and he was definitely one of the standout players from the match.
Bellerin was not as clinical in his approach, but he also played some crucial passes and crosses in the second half. He did not get enough space in the first half to make his overlapping runs, as Pepe did not move into the central areas through the inside-right channel often enough. However, Arsenal's £72.9 million summer signing made up for his absence in the area in the second half, giving Bellerin enough space to make his forwarding runs.
#3 Arsenal’s front four made merry in the second half
As mentioned earlier, Pepe did not operate through the inside-right channel frequently enough in the first half and struggled to beat Newcastle’s left wing-back Danny Rose. However, he was a lot more dynamic in the second half and tore the Magpies defence apart as he tried to cut in more frequently to reap massive rewards.
The former Lille winger cut in to get near the opposition box to deliver the cross that led to Arsenal’s first goal and Aubameyang positioned himself suitably inside the opposition's penalty box to score his 17th goal of the season.
Pepe was at it again a few minutes later by positioning himself perfectly inside the box to meet Saka’s cross and put the Gunners 2-0 ahead. During injury time, the 24-year-old once again darted through the right to notch up another assist as he passed the ball perfectly to Lacazette, who did not err in scoring his seventh goal of the season.
Ozil started the game on a sedate note but gradually came to his own by falling back repeatedly to collect the ball and pass it to the advancing wingers. He was also able to score his 44th goal for Arsenal in the 90th minute when his gentle flick beat the Newcastle goalkeeper.
Published 17 Feb 2020, 18:47 IST