Arsenal inched closer to a top-four finish as they scrapped their way to a 1-0 win against Newcastle United on Saturday. Mesut Ozil’s moment of brilliance was enough for Arsene Wenger as his team finally found some respite with three points after three substandard performances in December.
Arsene Wenger played with an unusual formation and that saw his team having some control over the game in the final third. However, the end product was lacking and hence they found themselves fighting their way to a much-needed victory.
Petr Cech: 6/10
Cech found himself as a spectator for major chunks of the game as Newcastle failed to deliver something noteworthy in the final third. He made some routine saves and capped off a clean sheet for the game.
Hector Bellerin: 6/10
Bellerin’s pace and strength gave him an advantage on the flank but it was his infuriating decision making that let him down.
Laurent Koscielny: 7/10
Strong in the box and in the air too. Koscielny was calm at the back and avoided making mistakes.
Nacho Monreal: 7/10
Monreal made a few attacking bursts on the night. He partnered Koscielny well and neutralised any threats that came on his way.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 8/10
The youngster responded to the manager’s call well by impressing again yesterday. He made some probing runs ahead and was uncompromising defensively too.
Granit Xhaka: 6/10
The Swiss central midfielder had a decent day at the office as he made some intriguing passes in the first half and was influential while going forward too. However, he returned to his own inconsistent self later on and misplaced some passes at dangerous positions in the dying stages of the game.
Jack Wilshere: 8/10
Wilshere was impressive yet again and it is fascinating how Wenger trusted him enough to start a second game in four days. Made some good dribbles and found himself in good attacking positions.
Mesut Ozil: 8/10
Mesut Ozil was at his best yet again and it appears that he is being at his best in the busy December period. Scored a wonderful goal and was certainly the best Gunner on the pitch yesterday.
Alex Iwobi: 7/10
Quick-footed and agile, Iwobi tamed the defenders with his skills on the ball. His incapability on the final third was quite visible and hence he failed to finish off chances.
Alexis Sanchez: 6/10
Looked a tad wasteful and he was inept with his touches too. He dropped back sometimes and took a second too much to take his final shot.
Alexandre Lacazette: 6/10
His hold-up play was poor and like Sanchez did not finish well too. Anyways, he did not have many chances too and hence blaming him entirely would be incorrect.
Olivier Giroud: 7/10
Was brought in to give more balance defensively during set-pieces. He took a header from Wilshere’s creation that he could have finished on any other day.
Danny Welbeck: 6/10
Used his pace to good effect and was industrious all throughout his stay on the pitch.