Full Time: Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle United
Arsenal returned back to winning ways in the Premier League with a narrow 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday at the Emirates stadium. Mesut Ozil’s magical volley proved to be the winner as the Gunners leapfrogged Liverpool and Tottenham into the fourth place, at least briefly.
From the first minute to the half-time, Newcastle, devoid of confidence due to their recent results, were on the back foot. Arsenal dominated possession but settled for long-range efforts all too often, from which they could not test recalled goalkeeper Rob Elliot.
Granit Xhaka and Alexis Sanchez had their shots fired wide, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles hit the side-netting. There was a hint of frustration building at the Emirates, at least until Ozil provided them with a goal.
Newcastle only came to life in the later stages, with Ayoze Perez failing to take advantage of two rare chances when he put a shot and then a header over the bar. Jacob Murphy too spurned a chance, while Joselu’s deflected shot went agonisingly wide.
Jack Wilshere came the closest to giving Arsenal some breathing space late on when he saw his side-footed shot saved by the Elliot in the Newcastle goal.
Nervy moments followed as the visitors poured men forward in search of an equaliser. But Wenger’s men survived the late rally, earning themselves a valuable three points. Here’s how the Arsenal players fared in this game.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Petr Cech – 7/10
The goalkeeper barely had anything to do, for the majority of the game, yet when he was called into action, he was alert.
Hector Bellerin – 4/10
Bellerin did make some good runs but looked short of ideas when he had the ball. He has been very poor in the last few weeks and disappointed again on the right.
Laurent Koscielny – 5/10
A nervy outing for the skipper, despite Arsenal dominating almost the entire game. Another player who has been criticised for being off the pace lately.
Nacho Monreal – 7/10
Arsenal’s Mr. Consistent didn’t put a step wrong the entire game. He was vigilant and aggressive unlike his partner, and was much more assured on the ball.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 7/10
Fantastic game for the youngster. He was fast, agile, brave, and full of ideas; the versatile Gunner looked hungry to leave a mark and he did exactly that. Gradually, Maitland-Niles is growing in confidence and is showing us the qualities he possesses. One for the future!
Granit Xhaka – 5/10
A mixed performance. The Swiss international looks terribly short of ideas when put under pressure. Was yellow carded late on for a trip to stop a Newcastle counter-attack.
Jack Wilshere – 6/10
An industrious display from the midfielder. Didn’t do anything flashy or out of the box. Kept things simple and ticking in the midfield. Showed great energy and his side-footed shot was saved by Elliot.
Alex Iwobi – 7/10
The Nigerian was always on the look to make things happen when he was on the ball. Without the ball, he got into little pockets of spaces. Stretched the Newcastle defence with his tireless running. Was substituted for Danny Welbeck in the 75th minute.
Mesut Ozil – 8/10
Ozil showed what a genius he is. A sweetly struck volley to open the scoring that could be a goal of the season contender. He dropped deeper at times, picked up the ball and always looked for the defence-splitting passes. Wonder why he fails to perform like today on a consistent basis.
Alexis Sanchez – 6/10
Sanchez was a tad shaky at times but always looked positive to create things out of nothing. Wasn’t the best game for the Chilean superstar.
Alexandre Lacazette – 7/10
His movement off the ball was excellent in stretching the opposition defence. Always a livewire and a menace to deal with. Was removed for Giroud with just over 15 minutes to go.
Danny Welbeck – 5/10
Added fresh legs and impetus to get Arsenal’s second and killer goal. The goal didn’t come but he impressed in his cameo.
Oliver Giroud – 5/10
Giroud was brought for the same purpose and his towering presence in the Newcastle box unsettled the visitors. Put in some good defensive shift too.
Francis Coquelin – N/A
He was brought on to see off the game but was messy in the midfield.