Arsenal were looking to make it three wins on the bounce as they faced a Newcastle side that are still yet to grab a victory. They languish in the bottom three with a solitary point to their name. With a bit of a point to prove, Arsenal weren’t in for an easy ride.
Player ratings: Starting XI
Petr Cech – 6/10
It was a quiet afternoon for the Czech, with all the action coming in the last five minutes of the game. He pulled off one brilliant save to deny Joselu in the last couple of minutes of normal time, but Ciaran Clark got the better of him in stoppage time.
Hector Bellerin – 6/10
The Arsenal defence never really faced much attacking impotence from Newcastle, however, the Spaniard was noticeably quiet on Arsenal’s attacking front. Normally belting up and down the wing, but today he seemed quite content to be an outlet if ever needed.
Shkodran Mustafi – 7/10
While some may disagree with me on this one, I thought Mustafi had quite a promising game. He made one comical error in the first half, completely mistiming a header, but it resulted in nothing major. He stands out on the defensive charts, winning seven aerial duels and making seven clearances.
Sokratis – 7/10
While the Greek looks far more assured at the back than Mustafi does, he had an uneventful afternoon. However, he boasted an impressive 89% passing accuracy. Steady is the best way to describe his performance, but that magic clean sheet still eludes this defence.
Nacho Monreal – 6/10
Much like his fellow Spaniard, Monreal was comfortable linking the play together as much as he could. Not causing too much danger going forward, but played a role in Ozil’s goal. Newcastle, though, decided to target Monreal’s flank the most whenever they got forward. Mostly he dealt with it, but was sometimes caught napping.
Matteo Guendouzi – 6/10
While we’re yet to see the star quality in him just yet, he’s proving to us that he’s a fantastic recycler of the ball and is very calm under pressure. This is all very well and good when you’re winning, but when searching for a goal you need more impetus. He was subbed at half time, as Unai Emery went in search of that opening goal.
Granit Xhaka – 8/10
Very much a game where he showed exactly why he plays week in and week out. Not because of that beautiful free kick he scored, but because he anchors the midfield so well. He’s the springboard to our attacking play. So when the likes of Ozil run into a blockade of Newcastle players, he can turn back to Xhaka who can spray the ball to someone in a more threatening position. A good afternoon for Xhaka.
Mesut Ozil – 8.5/10
My Man of the Match this weekend, with a performance to be proud of. He grabbed himself a goal which will do wonders for his confidence, but as ever, he contributes so much to the team. Three key passes to his name in a game of very little chances for either side.
Aaron Ramsey – 6/10
Always a tireless runner is our Ramsey, but he had little to show for it today. Some neat touches don’t cover for the fact that it’s been another blunt performance for the Welshman. It’s frustrating because you can see the quality he has, but this midfield battle of a game just engulfed him and became more of a passenger.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 5/10
A very subdued day for Aubameyang. Never really took the game by the scruff of its neck like you’d want him to. Loose in possession and anything but clinical in front of goal. Worrying times for the striker as he still stands on one goal for the season.
Alexandre Lacazette – 7/10
The Frenchman was the most dangerous out the two front men. Getting shots away whenever he could and it was actually his blocked shot that set up Ozil’s goal. Just couldn’t get it over the line today.
Lucas Torreira – 8/10
Every time he steps on to the pitch, it bewilders me more and more why he doesn’t start. Completely changed the dynamic of the midfield and really pushed us on. Constantly looking for that forward pass and he allows Xhaka to really be himself.
Henrikh Mhikitaryan – 5/10
No better or worse than the man he replaced, Aubameyang. Tidy in possession though.
Danny Welbeck – 6/10
He came out firing on all cylinders for the last ten minutes of the game and actually almost scored. A cameo from the Englishman that showed he offers something to the team.