Premier League 2019/20: Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal - 5 Hits and Flops
After a positive summer, Arsenal started their Premier League campaign with a trip to Tyneside, facing Newcastle United. For the first time since 2011, Gunners were playing their opening league fixture away from the Emirates Stadium.
Amid the issues, the Spaniard set his side up in a 4-2-3-1 shape with last season's top-scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leading the line. On the opposing side, Newcastle United's new manager, Steve Bruce preferred the 5-3-2 formation used by his predecessor Rafael Benitez.
However, both sides fail to make any substantial impact during the opening 45 minutes, resulting in a drab first-half. But, after the break, Unai Emery's men worked as a cohesive unit and capitalised on the mistake made by Paul Dummett to secure the all-important advantage.
Eventually, Aubameyang's solitary strike proved to be enough as Arsenal managed to emerge with all three points from Tyneside.
Without further ado, let us glance through some of the best and the worst performers from this game.
#5 Hit: Matteo Guendouzi
In the absence of Torreira, the onus was on Matteo Guendouzi to provide industry and purpose to Arsenal's midfield. The French youngster proved to be a calming presence in the middle of the park, staving off Newcastle's initial pressure with aplomb.
At the start, Guendouzi committed a few fouls, but, the midfielder was comfortable against the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron as the game progressed. To negate Newcastle's high press, the France U-21 international used his vision to ping accurate aerial balls accurately towards the wide players.
Also, Guendouzi's combination play with Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock looked promising. However, the moves never materialised due to a lack of quality final balls. The 20-year-old, alongside Granit Xhaka, formed a dynamic engine room, allowing the back four to retain their defensive shape.
All in all, Guendouzi's performance was pivotal for Emery's side as they gained three points at St. James' Park.