As Arsenal moved to 10th in the Premier League with a 3-0 victory over an impotent Newcastle side, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a welcome brace.
Steve Bruce’s side kept firm before half-time at the Emirates, under increasing pressure after their limp setback at Bramall Lane last week, but were happy to see Aubameyang turn a rebound off the post from a close angle before the interval.
With just one goal in his last nine league matches, the Gabon striker eventually showed a glimpse of his scoring touch five minutes into the second period when beating Emil Krafth and shooting Karl Darlow at his closest opener spot.
The highlights of their latest resurgence were Arsenal’s young guns, and Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka combined to cement victory on the hour mark, with the former outpacing Jamal Lascelles before squaring Saka for a quick tap-in.
One of his fringe stars, Cedric Soares, set an open goal for Aubameyang on an already pleasing evening for Mikel Arteta, then set an open goal for Aubameyang to double his tally for the night and send his morale a shot in the arm, as the Gunners registered a fourth win in five league matches.
During half-time, gunners will come out shootingBruce selected an attacking line-up for Newcastle’s trip to the Emirates, maybe with one eye on detractors of his defensive style, but his side created an xG of just 0.04 before half-time as their forward-thinking game plan failed to materialize.
Aubameyang should have had the hosts ahead at the interval when presented with an empty net after Darlow had kept out Saka’s effort, but from a tight angle struck the far post on his weaker left foot as his barren spell threatened to continue.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fires Arsenal ahead against NewcastleImage:Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fires Arsenal ahead against Newcastle”It wasn’t an absolute sitter but Aubameyang will be disappointed,” said Gary Neville at half-time. The forward probably wasn’t listening, but he certainly provided the perfect answer five minutes after the interval.
From Thomas Partey’s pass, he darted away from Krafth, who gave him too much room into the Newcastle box, and fired left-footed inside Darlow’s near post for an opener of the kind of quality Arteta will want to see far more regularly.
History would suggest Andy Carroll would be the man to provide it, having scored more goals against Arsenal than any other Premier League rival, if there were to be a goal hazard from Newcastle. And minutes after falling behind, the visitors almost made their way through their goal guy, but he saw his left-foot drive flying past the upright Bernd Leno.
Instead, when Smith-Rowe danced past Lascelles and pulled the ball back for Saka, who got the target his success warranted, Arsenal would claim their supremacy with another preview of their future.
While they were never in danger of needing a third, by slotting in his second of the night after good work from Saka and Cedric down the right, Aubameyang would have done his faith no harm, with the latter setting him up for a clear finish 13 minutes from time.
The win places Arsenal in the top half of the Premier League and Chelsea in seventh with just two points, while Newcastle sits seven points clear of Fulham in 15th, third-bottom.