Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a double while Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe also impressed as Arsenal beat Newcastle United 3-0 on Monday.
As one would have expected, Arsenal had the better openings in the first half, with Bukayo Saka forcing a save from Karl Darlow while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck the past and sent another effort over the bar. David Luiz, too, spurned a decent chance as the scoreline remained intact heading into the half-time break.
Post restart though, Arsenal showed their clinical edge as Aubameyang put them in front with a thumping left-footed strike just five minutes in. At the hour-mark, Bukayo Saka doubled the Gunners’ advantage, applying the finishing touches after some fine work by Emile Smith Rowe on the left flank.
With 13 minutes left to be played Aubameyang added a second goal to his name, to heap further misery on Newcastle United who hardly tested Bernd Leno on the night. It could have easily been a bigger scoreline 3-0, but Karl Darlow pulled off some fine saves, including two to deny Alexandre Lacazette in the second period.
The result sees Arsenal move up to the tenth spot in the Premier League standings. And here’s how we rated the performances of Mikel Arteta’s men on Monday night.
Bernd Leno: 6/10
One of the easiest clean sheets the German will keep in his career as he was not called into action for almost the entirety of the game, with Newcastle having just one shot on target. Showed good urgency when on the ball and misplaced just three passes.
Cedric Soares: 7/10
In for Hector Bellerin to make his first Premier League start of the season, Cedric enjoyed a solid outing. Reliable defensively, the Portuguese supported Saka well on the overlap and played in a few threatening crosses. Did well to set Aubameyang up for the Gunners’ third goal.
Come on, @Arsenal! 💪⚔️ Great to be back out there with the lads and help the team get the 3️⃣ points.#Arsenal #premierleague #afc #gunners #welldone #team #win #goodfeelings #spirit #COYG pic.twitter.com/FICFYv608Z
— Cédric Soares (@OficialCedric) January 18, 2021
Rob Holding: 6/10
Composed and solid at the heart of the Arsenal defence. Dealt fairly well with the dangerous Callum Wilson ensuring that the Newcastle striker didn’t get a sniff of the goal. Misplaced just nine of his 87 attempted passes on the night.
David Luiz: 6/10
Should have done better with a headed effort in the first period and had another chance to score late on. Steady and solid at the back for the most part making two interceptions and a clearance, although could have shown a bit more urgency when on the ball.
Kieran Tierney: 6.5/10
Back into the starting XI after missing the last game due to an injury, the Scotsman provided his usual energy and running down the left flank. Solid at the back, purposeful going forward without really standing out a great deal, however. Completed one key pass.
Thomas Partey: 8/10
Thomas Partey's game by numbers vs. Newcastle:
95% pass accuracy
14 final third entries
9 ball recoveries
2 chances created
0 fouls committed
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 18, 2021
Making his first start since the North London Derby, the Ghanaian made a great impression on the night. Offered so much quality with his distribution from deep areas, as he set Smith Rowe on his way to create a chance for Aubameyang in the first half, before getting the assist for the opening goal in the second. Completed 56 of his 59 passes, including two key passes and made two interceptions as well.
Granit Xhaka: 6/10
Formed a solid partnership with Partey in middle, keeping things in check for most of the part. Positionally sound, allowing his partner the chance to push forward when needed. Perhaps, could have been a tad quicker when on the ball as he tended to slow down proceedings at times.
Bukayo Saka: 8/10
Bukayo Saka’s game by numbers vs. Newcastle United:
92% pass accuracy
20 final third passes
4 shots [2 on target]
3 chances created
3 fouls suffered
Special. 🌶 pic.twitter.com/BRfjaQ99zm
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 18, 2021
Another bright performance from the teenager who is fast growing into one of Arsenal’s most important players. Moved well throughout, linking up well with Smith Rowe. Great skill leading up to a shot in the first period which was saved by Darlow. Made a smart run into the box to score the second goal and was involved in the buildup to the third. Finished with one dribble and three key passes.
Emile Smith Rowe: 8/10
The Player to Watch in our match preview, Smith Rowe has been a revelation in recent matches and continued in the same vein of form on Monday night. Made things happen with his movement and clever use of the ball. Created a chance for Aubameyang in the first period before laying on a fine assist for Saka’s goal in the second half after a lovely run on the left. Made the most number of key passes on the night (4).
No Arsenal player has provided more Premier League assists this season than Emile Smith Rowe (3) and he's only played five games.
Emile Smith Röwe. 🧐 pic.twitter.com/LRsCrA2ozd
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 18, 2021
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 8/10
Lacked the clinical edge in the first period as he missed a couple of chances that he would have taken when at his best. But bounced back into form after the break though, opening the scoring with a brilliant strike before getting his second late in the game. Worked hard on the left flank and will have gained a lot of confidence from the display. Fans will hope that the Arsenal skipper kicks on from now.
Alexandre Lacazette: 6.5/10
Provided a good focal point at the top and linked up well with his teammates. Looked sharp and could have had a couple of goals if not for some fine stops from Darlow in the Newcastle goal. A decent display from the French marksman.
Mohamed Elneny: 6/10
On for Partey in the 67th minute. Ensured there were no late hiccups.
Replaced Aubameyang in the 79th minute.
Gabriel Martinelli: N/A
Came on in place of Smith Rowe with less than ten minutes left.