Arsenal bounced back from last weekend’s Anfield mauling with a comfortable 2-0 victory over bottom side Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon at the Emirates.
In a first-half largely dominated by the Gunners, Bukayo Saka went close after an excellent through ball from Albert Sambi Lokonga, while at the other end in-form England international Aaron Ramsdale tipped a Jonjo Shelvey stunner onto the crossbar.
The best opening of the half came just before half-time, however, as Emile Smith Rowe saw his close-range header beaten away by the returning Martin Dubravka, with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inexplicably striking the post on the rebound.
That miss would not prove costly, however, as the hosts deservedly took the lead after the break, the heavily involved Saka drilling home from the angle after some clever build-up play involving both Smith Rowe and Nuno Tavares.
A note of concern for manager Mikel Arteta will have been a potential injury to the goalscorer as he was forced off on the hour mark, albeit with his replacement Gabriel Martinelli making an almost instant impact with a lovely dinked volley over the onrushing Dubravka.
There was to be no Magpies fightback as they limped to yet another defeat to continue their winless run this season, while for the home side it ensures they are now level on points with fourth-placed West Ham United.
Speaking after the match, Arsenal boss Arteta was happy with the ‘patient’ display of his side as they got back to winning ways.
“I am happy with the points after losing [to Liverpool last weekend]. You have to win straightaway. Overall I’m pleased,” Arteta told BBC Sport.
“The word was we had to be patient. We had to play with urgency and rhythm. That’s what we did in the second half. We found spaces and that’s how we scored the goals.
“When you have chances you have to put them in the net. In the first half we shot from every range without composure.”
The Gunners’ second goal saw substitute Martinelli net his first goal of the season in style, the 20-year-old volleying in superbly after an excellent pass from summer signing Takehiro Tomiyasu.
“The movement, the pass from Tomi is great. It’s really difficult to keep the ball down when it’s flying over your head but that’s what he can do.”
Arsenal are next in action against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday, before they take on Everton at Goodison Park on Monday 6 December.
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