Arsenal cruised to a straightforward 2-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon, bouncing back from their setback in the Europa League semi-finals.
The Gunners took the lead on six minutes, when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s miss-kick sent the ball into the path of Mohamed Elneny, and the Egyptian fired a bouncing shot beyond Martin Dubravka and into the corner of the net.
Arsenal dominated the game from that point on, and doubled their advantage on 66 minutes, after Gabriel Martinelli whipped a superb cross into the box, and Aubameyang acrobatically finished on the volley to kill Newcastle’s hopes.
Mikel Arteta’s men saw out the final minutes to ease to a comfortable three points, as they prepare for the second leg of the Europa League semi-final with Villarreal.
Let’s have a look at the player ratings.
Martin Dubravka (GK) – 6/10 – Got a solid hand to Elneny’s opener, and so may feel he could have done more to turn it away. No chance with the second goal.
Federico Fernandez (CB) – 5/10 – Didn’t come across often enough to cover his flank, particularly with Martinelli running riot. Allowed too many balls into the box.
Ciaran Clark (CB) – 6/10 – Let down by the men either side of him, and did a good job of marshalling Aubameyang until the forward buried brilliantly on the volley.
Paul Dummett (CB) – 5/10 – Caught out by Luiz’s pass to Bellerin down the right, and left the rest of his teammates exposed. Napping. Not up to level on the day.
Jacob Murphy (RWB) – 5/10 – Will be having nightmares of Martinelli on Sunday evening, that’s for sure. Torn apart by the young Brazilian, and couldn’t get near him for his pace and movement.
Sean Longstaff (CM) – 5/10 – Sluggish in and out of possession, and offered little other than a body to stick in the line of fire. A passenger throughout the 90 minutes.
Jonjo Shelvey (CM) – 5/10 – Tried his usual wonder balls up the pitch, but they were as ambitious as they were inaccurate. Also lacked mobility like his partner, and slowed the tempo down no end.
Miguel Almiron (CM) – 6/10 – Headed off the line to prevent a second goal. That’s why you stick a man on the posts. Seemed to be doing the defensive duties of his midfield comrades, when that’s not really his job.
Matt Ritchie (LWB) – 5/10 – Done completely by Luiz and Bellerin for the first goal, and couldn’t offer anything to get Newcastle moving up the pitch.
Allan Saint-Maximin (ST) – 6/10 – Ducked and dived between challenges and forced Ryan into a flying save. Did his best to isolate defenders and roar beyond them, but his opportunities were limited.
Callum Wilson (ST) – 5/10 – Flicked a goal-bound header away from the far post with a long toe. Nothing doing in terms of attacking action.
Joelinton (ST) – 6/10
Fabian Schar (CB) – 4/10 NOT SO SUPER SUB! Brought on and earned a red card for a horrible late challenge.
Dwight Gayle (ST) – N/A
Mat Ryan (GK) – 6/10 – Decent stop to deny Saint-Maximin in the first half. Not particularly busy other than that.
Hector Bellerin (RB) – 7/10 – Avoided the Newcastle defence to burst down the right flank and deliver the ball for the opener. Decent defensively, too.
David Luiz (CB) – 7/10 – Wonderful and delicate ball to set Bellerin free down the right for the opener. Defended extremely well for the first 50 minutes, but a muscle injury saw his game brought to a premature end.
Gabriel (CB) – 8/10 – A really good, confident display. Didn’t allow himself to be tortured by the blistering Saint-Maximin, and defended the box superbly.
Granit Xhaka (LB) – 7/10 – Went for the top corner from range, but couldn’t beat Dubravka. Not in his best position but was rarely tested.
Mohamed Elneny (CM) – 8/10 – Who saw that one coming?! Lovely strike from the edge of the box to break the deadlock. Almost got his second with a nice header, but Almiron did enough to propel it off the line.
Dani Ceballos (CM) – 6/10 – Combative in the middle, and didn’t lose his head, unlike in midweek. A better display, albeit against a much weaker opposition.
Martin Odegaard (AM) – 7/10 – A frustrating first half, often beating his man but being let down by his final pass. Intelligent on the ball, and forced the Newcastle midfield into drastic action on more than one occasion.
Willian (RW) – 6/10 – Delivered a couple of wasteful early crosses in the first half. Very much faded throughout the game, even if he never really shone in the first place.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – 7/10 – Brilliantly scuffed a shot so spectacularly that the ball travelled backwards to Elneny for the opener. Haters will say it was accidental. Great finish for his goal, stretching to acrobatically bury a volley.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – 9/10 – Glided beyond his marker on that left flank and cut a dangerous ball across the six-yard box, but Aubameyang couldn’t hit the target. Constantly caused problems down that wing. A menace. Sensational whipped delivery to supply Aubameyang for the second.
Calum Chambers (CB) – 7/10
Nicolas Pepe (RW) – 6/10
Thomas Partey (CM) – N/A