Arsenal secured their third successive win in the Premier League, defeating Newcastle United 2:1 in a tightly fought encounter at St. James’ Park.
The Gunners started the game in a nervy way, often losing possession whilst showing signs of vulnerability at the back. But, an improved second-half performance saw the North London giants take control of the proceedings. Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil scored in quick successions though Arsenal almost looked like bottling their two-goal lead when Newcastle came at full tilt in the latter stages of the game.
But thankfully for the Gunners, Ciaran Clark’s late goal only turned out to be a consolation at the end as Arsenal secured all three points to catch up with arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Here are the Arsenal player ratings:
Petr Cech (7/10): Looked shaky on the ball, especially when dealing with back passes. Aside from that, the former Chelsea star had a quiet afternoon, having had to make his first save of the game in 84th minute. But, fans should expect better performances from the veteran keeper.
Hector Bellerin (6.5/10): It was an average outing for Hector Bellerin, who struggled to exploit the space on the right flank despite his pace. He was also dispossessed a couple of times.
Sokratis (7.5/10): Looked wobbly on the ball, as always. But having said that, Sokratis made a couple of stunning recoveries this afternoon, most notably when he made a clearance in the first half after Mustafi had initially made a mess of a loose ball in his own half.
Shkodran Mustafi (7.5/10): Despite making a couple of errors, Shkodran Mustafi was arguably the most industrious defender for Arsenal in this game. The German international won eight aerial duels, most by anyone else on the pitch. He worked really hard to help his team preserve a clean sheet though it was tarnished due to a slight loss of concentration in the final minute of the game.
Nacho Monreal (7/10): Much like Bellerin, Monreal wasn’t really a threat going forward. But, his intelligence helped him keep check of the dangerous Matt Ritchie, who hardly caused a trouble for the Arsenal backline.
Matteo Guendouzi (6/10): Struggled to impose his authority in midfield against an intensive pressing unit of Newcastle. He was rightly taken off after the first half, despite the fact that he had acquired the best passing accuracy than anyone else on the pitch this afternoon.
Granit Xhaka (9/10): An extraordinary performance and most importantly, an incredible comeback from Granit Xhaka, who, prior to the game, was heavily criticized for his lack of form this season. And the Swiss international answered his critics in the best way possible, thanks to a sumptuous free-kick to score the opener in the second half. Aside from that, he also kept hold of things in midfield thanks to some great passing. Had a key role to play in the build-up to Mesut Ozil’s goal.
Mesut Ozil (9/10): A great performance from Mesut Ozil, who sparked things up in the final third, with his clever movements and pinpoint passing. The German international made three key passes(most by anyone else on the pitch), scored the second goal and most importantly, had a key role to play in Arsenal’s flawless link-up play in the attacking third of the pitch. Marked his 200th appearance with a neat finish.
Aaron Ramsey (7/10): Wasn’t really an enjoyable night for Aaron Ramsey, who struggled to make things happen in the final third. Even though the Welshman did make some good runs into the box, it was his end product that was dreadful and thus, he will certainly need to improve his performances in the upcoming matches.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7/10): Struggled to make an impact from a wider position as he was often isolated from the main area of play. Also failed to utilize his pace to cause trouble for the opposition and overall, he should definitely feature in a more central role.
Alexandre Lacazette (7.5/10): Showed excellent quality to gel with the likes of Ozil and Ramsey in the final third. But just like Aubameyang, he too also needs to improve on his potency inside the box.
Lucas Torreira (8.5/10): Played an influential role in midfield after replacing Matteo Guendouzi at the start of the second half. Industrious as ever, the Uruguayan used his work ethic and commitment to add a sense of dynamism in the Arsenal camp, which ultimately had a telling impact on the overall team.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (7/10): Didn’t have much impact after coming on for Aubameyang in the second half. However, the Armenian was close to making it 3:0 but his shot was blocked by the Newcastle defenders.
Danny Welbeck (NA): Made a nuisance of himself in the final third and helped Arsenal hold on to their slender lead at the end.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored