Arsenal secured their second away win and third overall this season, after beating Newcastle United, courtesy of goals from Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal secured their third win on the bounce on Saturday, as goals from Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil propelled them up the table once again. But, the game began in drab fashion, and the first half ended in a similar way as both teams failed to create any chance of significance.
In the second half though, Arsenal turned the game, with the introduction of Lucas Torreira making the difference. Xhaka opened the scoring with a brilliant free-kick and was then heavily involved in the build-up play to the second goal, which Ozil scored.
It looked as though the Gunners were in for their first clean sheet of the season, but Ciaran Clark proved to be their undoing and scored late in the game. In the end, however, Ozil’s goal proved to be the match winner and Arsenal took all three points back to the Emirates. Here’s how we rated Unai Emery’s men.
Petr Cech: 6.5/10
A much better, unnerving performance from Cech in goal, unlike how he played against Cardiff in the last game. Collected balls very well to ward off any potential danger. It took 88 minutes for Newcastle to force the keeper into a save, but soon afterwards, when it looked like Arsenal were going towards registering a clean sheet, Newcastle scored.
Hector Bellerin: 6/10
As has been his trademark, Bellerin went forward well but was average when it came to defending. Did well to control the right side of the pitch for the most part and was useful many times when charging forward. The opposition’s lack of ruthlessness ensured he was not outclassed so much.
Shkodran Mustafi: 6/10
A slip on the field could have turned catastrophic if not for his defensive partner Sokratis. Otherwise, Mustafi was decent enough at the back, making the most clearances during the game, although he still needs to make massive improvements going forward.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 7/10
Slowly becoming the leader at the back, Sokratis produced, by far, his best performance to date in an Arsenal shirt. However, he was not flawless, with his eagerness to win the ball back often seeing him abandoning his position, although he did make up with some neat tackles.
Nacho Monreal: 6/10
Much like Bellerin, as has been the case for most games this season, Monreal did not make a great deal of difference against Newcastle. Owing to the lack of plays from the opposition on his flank, there was no problem with the defending bit, but in attack he was decent, providing ample support on the left side of the pitch.
Matteo Guendouzi: 4/10
A poor game from the youngster. Without being harsh on him, it was probably the inexperience of the player that showed. Did not offer much during his time on the pitch, which coupled with poor positioning and a lack of cover for the defence, could have made him a liability. Was hooked off at half-time to make way for Torreira.
Granit Xhaka: 7.5/10
A poor first half, but that was due to a general lack of coordination in the Arsenal midfield, with Guendouzi being sub-par. But, in the second half, Xhaka was the game changer with a stunning free-kick strike to open the scoring for Arsenal before provided the key pass for the winner, which Ozil scored from.
Aaron Ramsey: 5/10
A poor performance from Ramsey in his new No. 10 role, a position that is just not suiting him at the moment. He is yet to put in his best foot forward this term, and with him and Ozil starting together in advanced areas, there is a certain level of imbalance.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5/10
Not a good game for Aubameyang by his standards. Had a quiet game, but looked like an improved player in the second half. Still, there are doubts over his ability to play on the left side, despite getting into good positions. Much better upfront, although that is hardly surprising.
Mesut Ozil: 7/10
The goal takes away the fact that it was a quiet game for Ozil for the most part. Was anonymous until the goal, but more concerning were his loose passes, poor decision making and some of the touches that come entirely as a surprise from a player of his calibre. Still, the goal proved to be the match winner in the end, which would give him a lot of confidence.
Alexandre Lacazette: 7.5
Arsenal’s best player on the pitch on Sarurday. For the second game running, he was the top performer for the Gunners with his hard-working, industrious style of play, His hold up play deserves more praise, and Lacazette was a little unfortunate not to score. Did make a telling contribution though, as it was his blocked shot that led to Ozil’s goal.
Lucas Torreira: 7.5/10
It could be a debate as to who was the best player after all because Torreira proved to be the game changer and a consistent performer on the pitch. Following his introduction, he effectively changed the tempo of the game with his quick passing and deft touches, which was all just simple football.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 6/10
Came on and did some good things in the final third. Could have scored himself when the chance was presented, but Dubravka saved his shot. Emery could experiment with him in the No. 10 role for he makes the team slower when playing out wide.
Danny Welbeck: 6.5/10
The English international’s pace and runs are a weapon, especially when the game is in its final quarter. Against Newcastle, Welbeck put in a big shift, but his decision making somewhat lacks the cutting edge. He could be an asset for Arsenal if properly used.