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Aubameyang 7/10 after scoring on return to starting XI at Newcastle

Arsenal moved back into the top half of the Premier League table after winning 2-0 against Newcastle United at St. James’ Park.

The Gunners got off to the perfect start when Mohamed Elneny reacted quickly to a loose ball on the edge of the box to strike home in the sixth minute. And Mikel Arteta’s side continued to control the game, leading 1-0 at half-time without any real threat from Newcastle.

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Gabriel Martinelli looked dangerous throughout the game and it was the Brazilian who would help double Arsenal’s lead in the second half, finding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a precise cross in the 66th minute.

The result never looked in doubt after the second goal as Newcastle continued to be stifled by Arsenal’s hard-working midfield and defence. The day went from bad to worse for the home side when Fabian Schar was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Martinelli in the 90th minute.

Positives

Arsenal were able to control the majority of the game while getting back in numbers to nullify Newcastle’s counter-attacking threat. The Gunners had the better of possession and found a good balance between advancing up the field and maintaining a solid defensive structure.

Negatives

Granit Xhaka could have been sent off on another day, which could have altered the result of the game. While Arsenal’s central players could have produced more, it’s difficult to be critical with the Gunners who exploited the weakest areas in Newcastle’s system.

Manager rating out of 10

8 — Arteta’s balanced team selection helped Arsenal have the better of the chances while making it difficult for Steve Bruce’s side to get on the scoresheet. The Spanish manager’s tactical approach made the game look like it was never in doubt.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Mat Ryan, 7 — The Australian goalkeeper didn’t have too much to deal with on Sunday afternoon but was alert to the danger when called upon.

DF Hector Bellerin, 7 — Runs down the right flank helped Arsenal transition quickly into dangerous crossing areas and this was vital in the build up to the opening goal. The Spanish defender also worked hard on defence, reacting well to movement from Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron.

DF David Luiz, 7 — A long pass down the line released Hector Bellerin in the lead up to Arsenal’s opener and Luiz was performing strongly before being forced off with what looked to be a hamstring injury in the second half.

DF Gabriel, 7 — The 23-year-old didn’t have too much to deal with as Arsenal defended in numbers against Allan Saint-Maximin, leaving Newcastle few opportunities to create anything meaningful. The Brazilian could have done better when heading over from a well-worked set piece.

DF Granit Xhaka, 6 — A careless tackle for yellow card meant Xhaka had to be careful playing as left-back on Sunday afternoon, but the Swiss international was lucky to not be sent off after taking a chance with a challenge in the second-half.

MF Mohamed Elneny, 7 — The Egyptian midfielder scored his first ever Premier League goal when guiding a volley past Martin Dubravka in the sixth minute. The 28-year-old almost got a second, but saw his header cleared off the line at the near post.

MF Dani Ceballos, 6 — Arsenal controlled the ball for large parts of the game with Dani Ceballos the more advanced of the double pivot. The Spanish midfielder kept the play ticking and worked well as the link between the midfield and attack.

MF Willian, 6 — The Brazilian linked well with Hector Bellerin and put in some dangerous set-pieces but could have been more positive on the ball from open-play.

MF Martin Odegaard, 6 — Final ball could have been better at times from the on-loan Real Madrid attacking midfielder, though the Norweigan faced a difficult task with Steve Bruce’s side compact defensively in the central areas of the pitch.

MF Gabriel Martinelli, 8 — The 19-year-old attacked the line without fear against Jacob Murphy and was able to work some good attacking situations from tight spaces. Newcastle were eventually hurt by the Brazilian after a pinpoint cross found Aubameyang for Arsenal’s second goal of the game.

FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 7 — The Arsenal frontman, making his first start for the club in a month, worked hard and his persistence was rewarded when finding space at the back post to convert a Martinelli cross.

Substitutes

DF Calum Chambers , 6 — Chambers came on early in the second half for the injured Luiz and was tested early with a ball delivered in with vigour towards the near post and the defender was alert to the danger.

FW Nicolas Pepe, N/R — The Ivorian winger was brought on for Aubameyang as a counter-attack threat against a higher Newcastle United line.

MF Thomas Partey, N/R — The defensive midfielder replaced Odegaard with five minutes remaining to help see out the remainder of the game.

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