Arsenal put in a sharp performance to beat Newcastle United 2-0 at the Emirates, with Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette shining the brightest.
Unai Emery might have something to show in his first year at Arsenal after all. His team now have ten straight league wins at the Emirates, thus matching Arsene Wenger’s similar run more than two decades ago. For the same, Emery has his players to thank, as Arsenal put in a sharp performance against a resolute Newcastle United side to claim all three points.
The big talking point of the match is Arsenal leapfrogging bitter rivals Tottenham to occupy third spot on the table as a goal from Aaron Ramsey and a late strike from Alexandre Lacazette sealed the deal for the home side. Arsenal missed a few key players in this game including the likes of Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and influential captain Laurent Koscielny, and yet they won the game rather comfortably.
The win further boosts Arsenal’s chances of finishing among the top four come the end of the season, but the Gunners still have seven more tests including five away from home. For now, the North Londoners have ensured their part of the capital remains red and with that let’s take a look at how the players fared.
Bernd Leno: 6.5/10
One can perhaps, glorify the comfortable first-half save Leno made from a Salomon Rondon shot, but that was all he had to do all evening. Command over his area was astute, although he was not threatened at all.
Shkodran Mustafi: 5/10
Not the kind of performance Mustafi would have wanted, especially considering his place in the side is under threat. Erratic in his passing, and many times, his eagerness got the better of him. He was right in much of his defensive play but needs more composure and calmness to play from the start under Emery.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 7/10
A conservative performance than anything from Sokratis. Defended well and patrolled the back line being in the centre of the three-man unit. There were some difficult moments when it came to dealing with Rondon’s movements, but in the end, he stood his ground well.
Nacho Monreal: 8.5/10
Top class performance from Monreal. The Spanish defender expertly read the game and was always on hand to put pressure on the opponent, especially with his timing of interceptions and tackles. Best of the back three and did no harm to his chances of playing from the start in the next game.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 7/10
Another good performance from Maitland-Niles in the right wing-back role. Had many good moments in the final third, although he was not troubled much in his defensive area. He should look to continue such displays and perform at a more consistent level between now and the end of the season.
Aaron Ramsey: 9/10
Ramsey had a goal disallowed, then scored one and is clearly becoming the most important player for Arsenal this season. A complete midfield performance from the Welshman wherein he dominated pass completion, touches and tackles for the side. One still wonders how Arsenal have allowed Ramsey to leave on a free transfer
Matteo Guendouzi: 7.5/10
Emery got it right again with his midfield combination. Matteo Guendouzi was fantastic in the middle of the park, with a pass completion rate of 92%. He rarely looked out of position and did well against counter attacks. Continues to grow in the side.
Sead Kolasinac: 6/10
Not his best game but not his worst either. Defended well, especially during a 10-minute spell in the second half when Newcastle put Arsenal under pressure. Apart from that, he was on hand to send crosses into the box, although his touches and passing in the final third gave him away.
Mesut Ozil: 8/10
Ozil is clearly showing signs that he is back to his imperious best, especially when his side needs him. Made some excellent passes and his creative play was on display. Winning Emery over at long last.
Alex Iwobi: 7/10
Not Arsenal’s most creative outlet but a tidy performance nonetheless. Iwobi had a quieter game by his standards, although he was on hand to link well with Ozil and Kolasinac. A decent display in the end, though.
Alexandre Lacazette: 8.5/10
If Ramsey was a complete midfielder, Lacazette was a total forward. The Frenchman’s work off the ball to put pressure on the Newcastle defence, his hold up play and finally a goal to cap off a hard-working performance sums up his game on Monday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 7/10
Arsenal benefitted from his introduction as Aubameyang added some speed and purpose to the attack. Notched an assist for Lacazette’s goal and should be fit enough to start the next game.
Mohamed Elneny: N/A
Not long enough on the field but was sent on to tidy things up.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: N/A
Like Elneny, Mkhitaryan did not have much time on the field to be rated.