Free-flowing Gunners vindicate Mikel Arteta's stance on Mesut Ozil

Arsenal turn on style to sweep Newcastle away in second half
Free-flowing Gunners vindicate Mikel Arteta's stance on Mesut Ozil

JUMPING FOR JOY: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates in style after scoring Arsenal’s first goal against Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium. Picture: Catherine Ivill/PA

Arsenal 3

Newcastle 0

No wonder Mikel Arteta was prepared to risk his job and reputation by getting rid of Mesut Ozil. This was the sort of free flowing football Arteta has craved since he started his managerial career just over a year ago and was the perfect start to life after Ozil.

The former German international was tweeting on from Turkey where he was completing his Fenerbahce medical, but there is little he could have added to Arsenal's second half performance — even at his best.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to goalscoring form with two quality goals and Bukayo Saka scored the other to lift Arsenal into the top half of the Premier League table and leave Steve Bruce's job under threat at Newcastle.

Bruce said the gloves were off before this match, but it now be the manager who is looking for a turn of form to match Arsenal's five-game unbeaten Premier League run. They are only three places above the relegation zone and falling fast. Investment is needed, but managers are so often the first to feel the pinch in these situations.

The first half was fairly even and relatively dull before Arsenal found their way after the break.

Arsenal had come closest to scoring when a Saka shot deflected off keeper Karl Darlow to Aubameyang who struck the ball against a post when he should have scored. Darlow then sliced the ball behind his own goal for a corner. Keystone Kops football in the greatest league in the world!

Aubameyang had scored in each of his previous three appearances against Newcastle and that should have been four. It would be later, of course, but the Arsenal captain has been so poor this season he was fortunate to be in the starting line-up and that miss showed just how low he has been in confidence and form.

An Almiron shot over the bar was Newcastle's first decent attempt on goal, which was surprising in that Bruce had set his side up to be more positive last night.

They were so negative in the FA Cup a week or so ago they seemed to be playing for penalties from the warm-up. This time they showed attacking intent on the back of a pre-match blast from Bruce. The Manchester United former captain is a proud Geordie in his dream job but has had enough of the sniping from the demanding Toon Army and the disinterested club owners.

He made eight changes as attack-minded players Andy Carroll, Joelinton, Callum Wilson and Almiron all started for Newcastle as he looked to arrest an eight-match winless run in all competitions.

Arsenal, with Thomas Partey exemplary in midfield, initially looked comfortable while lacking a cutting edge. Their next close effort came courtesy of an Emil Krafth deflection off an Aubameyang shot which ricocheted off a post for a corner.

As has so often been the case under Arteta, Arsenal were more direct at the start of the second half and Lacazette had a low shot brilliantly saved by Darlow in the very first attack after the restart.

The Newcastle keeper was beaten for power and placement moments later when Aubameyang scored a goal that very few other players can. The move started when Cedric cleared a Newcastle attack, Lacazette found Partey, who sent Aubameyang away down the left with a cushioned curling pass.

Krafth had got away with it when the Gabon striker went at him at the end of the first half, but this time he was left for dust when the Arsenal man bore down and goal and unleashed a left foot shot into the roof of the net from about ten yards.

Newcastle were on the attack when Arsenal struck in devastating fashion to double their lead three minutes later. It came from the left again and this time Emile Smith Rowe ghosted inside his defender to lay on a straight forward finish for his old Arsenal academy team-mate Saka.

Darlow saved brilliantly from a close range Lacazette header before a shattered Newcastle conceded a third to a brilliant Arsenal passing move in the 77th minute. It culminated with Cedric, playing ahead of Hector Bellerin, cut the ball back from the byline for Aubameyang to side foot in from the edge of the six yard box.

That is the first time the Gabon international has scored twice in a game since July and was a mark of his improvement and just how poor Newcastle were. Bruce's men folded under Arsenal's pressure and these two clubs are going in opposite directions.

ARSENAL: Leno 6, Soares 6, Holding 7, Luiz 6, Tierney 7, Partey 8 (Elneny 67), Xhaka 6, Saka 7, Smith-Rowe 7 (Martinelli 82), Aubameyang 6 (Willian 79), Lacazette 6.

NEWCASTLE: Darlow 7, Lewis 6, Clark 5, Lascelles 5, Krafth 5, M Longstaff 5 (Hendrick 78), Shelvey 5, Almiron 6 (Anderson 88), Carroll 6 (Murphy 69), Joelinton 5, Wilson 5. 

Referee: David Coote 6.

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