Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United: Saka to the fore as the Gunners prove too strong for rock-bottom Newcastle United

Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United: Saka to the fore as the Gunners prove too strong for rock-bottom Newcastle United

Bukayo Saka's first goal for the Gunners since a September win over Spurs helped his team to a three-point victory over bottom-placed Newcastle.

In the first half, the winless Geordies made things difficult for Mikel Arteta's side, who did not help themselves by squandering a golden chance before the interval, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hitting the post from close range.

Saka's vivacity, however, appeared to be the most likely source of a goal, as he showed on 56 minutes when he sprinted through after an exchange of passes between Emile Smith Rowe and Nuno Tavares to smash a low effort into the far corner. Scoring his third goal of the season, the England winger had already gone close after slipping between defenders to get in a shot at the start of the second half.

Soon after, the England international limped off with what appeared to be a thigh strain, but Gabriel Martinelli scored a wonderful second with a precise volley over the shoulder from Takehiro Tomayasu's right-wing pass.

Eddie Howe, on the touchline for the first time since taking over as manager at St James' Park, was pleased to see his massed thicket of black and white shirts keep the Gunners at bay and wait for counter-attacking opportunities.

Jonjo Shelvey hit superbly from long range to clip the top of Aaron Ramsdale's bar in one of those attacks. To ensure that the flight path diverged from the top corner, the keeper had to intervene.

It was the Gunners' only genuine concern of the afternoon, and they will be relieved to get back on the winning track after last week's humiliating setback at Liverpool.


Gunners: (4-4-1-1): Ramsdale – Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares – Saka (Martinelli 66), Partey (Elneny 85), Lokonga, Smith Rowe – Odegaard – Aubameyang (Lacazette 76). Subs not used: Leno, Tierney, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Pepe, Nketiah

Geordies: (3-4-3): Dubravka – Krafth, Schar, Lascelles – Fraser, Willock, Shelvey (Hayden 88), Ritchie (Almiron 67) – Joelinton (Murphy 67), Wilson, Saint-Maximin. Subs not used: Darlow, Clark, Lewis, Hendrick, Manquillo, S Longstaff

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