Despite being frustrated in the first half, Xhaka opened the scoring for the Gunners with a long-range free-kick that flew past Magpies goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. Granit Xhaka’s excellent free-kick set Arsenal on their way to a third consecutive victory under Unai Emery as Newcastle remain without a Premier League win.
As the visitors grew in confidence, Mesut Ozil met the rebound of Alexandre Lacazette’s blocked effort to double his side’s advantage and ensure Arsenal won consecutive away league games for the first time since May 2017.
Ciaran Clark responded in stoppage time for the hosts, but Newcastle remains 18th in the table with just one win in their last 10 league games. Rafael Benitez’s side remain on one point, equalling their worst return after five Premier League games – although they had much the better of the first-half chances as they pressed an Arsenal defence determined to build from the back.
The early pressure forced errors, as keeper Petr Cech passed the ball out for a corner and defender Shkodran Mustafi’s stumble was indicative of an Arsenal back-line still trying to get comfortable with a new style of play under Emery.
However, Arsenal returned the stronger side after the interval and scored twice in 10 second-half minutes to secure the points – despite a late Newcastle rally.
Arsenal build momentum under Emery
Following a tough start to Emery’s reign, with opening league fixtures against champions Manchester City and Chelsea, victory at St James’ Park is the Gunners third consecutive win and they now appear to be gaining some momentum under Arsene Wenger’s successor.
Arsenal, who managed to see off a resurgent Cardiff prior to the international break, knew they would face a stern test against a Newcastle side that had adopted a defensive approach against Chelsea and Manchester City already this season – and were unable to settle into the match as the hosts pressed from the start.
Newcastle’s first-half approach demonstrated exactly how to disrupt Arsenal’s play under Emery, and both Cech and Mustafi, in particular, appeared hesitant on the ball under relentless pressure from Joselu and Ayoze Perez.
But the Gunners were able to take control of the game as the hosts’ early energy faded – although it took Xhaka’s sublime strike to really give the visitors confidence. Arsenal then took firm control following Ozil’s cool finish and was able to see the game out fairly comfortably despite Clark’s late reply as Emery’s side continued to amend a poor recent away league record that had seen them lose eight of their last 10 prior to kick-off.
And it did appear, once they got into their stride, that Arsenal’s players are adapting to Emery’s philosophy – although on the evidence there remains plenty of work to do.
Source: BBC News