Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang give Arsenal comfortable win at Newcastle United

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Luke Edwards
·19-min read
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Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal celebrates his first PL goal
Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal celebrates his first PL goal
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At first glance, Mikel Arteta has a few difficult selection calls to make ahead of the game that will define his first full season as Arsenal manager following this classy win over Newcastle United.

This was as well as Arsenal have played for a while, but before he rips up his plan for the second leg of the Europa League semi final against Villareal, he would do well to remember that Arsenal always beat Newcastle.

That is not flippant, it is fact. In all competitions, Arsenal have won 17 out of the last 18 games between these two sides. Newcastle do not even manage to get a draw every now again, the solitary win coming at St James’ Park three years ago.

It is just one of those strange, illogical things about football. Newcastle and Arsenal play each other and the team from London wins.

Arteta should be wary of reading too much into it other than this was a nice easy afternoon which included a welcome goal from Aubamayeng, who will start against Villareal after proving he has fully recovered from malaria. The only blow was a potentially season ending hamstring injury to David Luiz.

“Patrick was struggling last week still,” said Arteta, after the striker had scored only his second goal since February. “He could only manage 10 or 15 minutes, but he has been recovering well, was fine today, performed well, scored and it’s a real boost.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang enjoys returning to scoring ways - REUTERS
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang enjoys returning to scoring ways - REUTERS

“We had the right players with the right mentality. It was a strong and convincing performance [to take into Thursday].

As for Newcastle, this was the sort of poor performance that shows why supporters remain unconvinced by Steve Bruce.

Having lost just one of their previous eight games, this was Newcastle at their worst and it is displays like this which weaken Bruce’s position. This is his second season as head coach and these capitulations still happen far too often. When his team plays badly, it tends to be dreadful.

“We’re disappointed, we didn’t do enough and we didn’t play well enough to get anything, regardless of the Arsenal side we were facing” said Bruce. “We gave away an awful goal and never really recovered. We sat too deep and had no penetration.”

At the very least it was a reminder that this is still a poor side which deservedly finds itself fourth from bottom. If it is not strengthened, regardless of whether Bruce is manager, it will be back in the bottom seven again this time next year.

Arsenal made eight changes to the side that lost 2-1 in the first leg in Spain and still should have had the game won before half time.

Newcastle were awful, with and without the ball. They are not mathematically safe from relegation yet, sitting nine points above Fulham with four games to play, but played like it.

Fabian Schar gets his marching orders after a heavy tackle on Gabriel Martinelli - GETTY IMAGES
Fabian Schar gets his marching orders after a heavy tackle on Gabriel Martinelli - GETTY IMAGES

The centre midfield of Jonjo Shelvey and Sean Longstaff was cumbersome and slow. The wing backs Matt Ritchie and Jacob Murphy were constantly exposed while the centre backs were all static and troubled by players moving around them.

Even in attack, Allan Saint-Maximin was quiet alongside the largely anonymous Callum Wilson, who was starting his first game for three months after injury.

Newcastle’s only shot on target was a scuff from Saint-Maximin that hit his standing foot and needed back up goalkeeper Mathew Ryan to tip over the bar.

Three times before the break Arsenal players were given free headers from corners, one of which Miguel Almiron did well to head off the line, denying Mohamed Elneny.

Elneny had not scored a Premier League goal and almost had two inside the opening half an hour.

His first was a smart finish, after a simple pass, albeit with some lovely back spin applied, was played over the top by Luiz for Hector Bellerin to run on to.

He picked out Aubameyang, who made a mess of the initial effort, but Elneny was left completely unmarked to drill a low shot beyond Dubravka.

The Newcastle goalkeeper might have done better with that but pulled off an excellent save later tip away another from Granit Xhaka.

Newcastle, as Liverpool discovered to their cost the previous weekend, are dangerous if you do not kill them off but Arsenal got their second just after the hour mark when the lively Gabriel Martinelli pulled away from Murphy and crossed for Aubameyang to prod home with an outstretched leg.

It felt like game over and was. Fabien Schar, on as a substitute, picking up a harsh-looking straight red card in stoppage time for a foul on Martinelli, summed up Newcastle’s afternoon - pointless.

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02:56 PM

90+ mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2

Arsenal fiddle around with the ball in injury time, Newcastle don't look especially bothered about getting it, and everyone is just waiting for Mike Dean to pull the cord now.

02:52 PM

90 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2

Schar gets a straight red card! He has only just come on. The game is basically done, Arsenal are pootering around with the ball and he's absolutely cleaned out Martinelli from behind. Nowhere near getting the ball. What a berk. The ball was in midfield, nobody is going anywhere, and now Schar is going to miss three games.

Martinelli up eventually but is limping around in some pain.

Looking at the foul again, it was stupid and it was definitely a yellow, maybe a yellow-and-a-bit, but it wasn't studs up. Maybe a little bit harsh to get a straight red. But VAR upholds it...

Anyway, there will be limited sympathy because it was just so pointless.

02:49 PM

88 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2

Ryan has done his claims no harm with his performance in goal today. Commandingly gathers a cross here.

the Man United game IS going ahead, but the kick off time has been pushed back and is as yet TBC.

02:47 PM

87 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2

Schar with a good interception that denies Ceballos's cross.

02:46 PM

85 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2

Newcastle take off Clark and bring on Gayle.

Partey's coming on for Odegaard.

Sean Longstaff sets up Alain Saint-Maximim for a shot.

02:41 PM

79 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2

Decent bit of play from Newcastle, Joelinton getting himself involved. They tee up Shelvey, who hits a good drive, that deflects off Wilson.

02:39 PM

75 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2

Pepe's coming on, Aubameyang is coming off.

Sounds like the Man United match might be off...

02:35 PM

72 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2

Couple of changes for Newcastle. Almiron and Fernandez, both of whom were on a yellow, are off. Schar comes on. And more importantly, Big Joe Linton is getting a run!

02:33 PM

70 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2

Arsenal playing really well now, if there's gonna be a third goal in this game all the signs are that it will be scored by the North Londoners.

02:31 PM

67 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2

Willian with a useful cross, he's having an alright game.

02:27 PM

GOAL! Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 2 (Martinelli 66)

Ah this is the real Arsenal. Lovely give and go football, it's played out to Martinelli on the left and a supreme leaping finish from Aubameyang as he volleys it home at the far post.

Not a massive amount of quality from Arsenal in this half, or indeed this match, but that was classy.

02:26 PM

64 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Arsenal looking dangerous here.

02:23 PM

62 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Fernandez into the book for treading on the instep of an opponent. I didn't see which one. Some pea-hearted passenger or other. Ah, it was Xhaka.

Freekick into the box - Gabriel close with a diving header. Odegaard delivered it.

02:21 PM

59 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Chambers might be trying to get himself in the XI for the big Euro game, he's come on and absolutely running his socks off for the team. Brilliant covering run here to stop Saint-M in his tracks.

02:19 PM

57 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Arsenal have a chance to deliver a corner into the Newcastle box. Not great. Arsenal are about as threatening as a gerbil from set pieces in general, and with big David Luiz off injured they are even less imposing.

02:17 PM

56 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Newcastle have been better since the interval.

02:14 PM

53 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Superb cross from Ritchie, turned behind for a corner by Chambers. Arsenal clear that.

02:14 PM

52 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Luis trudges off. Chambers gets a run out to replace him.

02:12 PM

52 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Shame, that looks to be the end of David's afternoon.

02:12 PM

51 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

David Luiz is hurt. Looks to have done his left hammy.

02:11 PM

50 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Don Goodman says: "that kind of contact does not merit falling over, but that is the world we are living in." Hear hear. Wilson brushed Gabriel with the lightest contact you could imagine but down he went.

Arsenal at it again.

02:07 PM

46 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

The Gunners stroke the ball around at the back.

02:06 PM

Players out for the second half

No riots here...

02:05 PM

Don Goodman

"This has been a doddle for Arsenal. Newcastle have not got in their face at all." Don on Sky there. BIg fan of Goodman, I think he's one of the best pundits.

02:02 PM

Scenes at Old Trafford

Wow. Several hundred protestors have stormed the ground.

Old Trafford protestors - AFP
Old Trafford protestors - AFP

Manchester United fans break onto Old Trafford pitch in anti-Glazers protest

01:49 PM

Half time: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

That's the half. Newcastle never really got going, Arsenal deserve their lead.

01:48 PM

45+ mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Arsenal deal okay with a corner, Wilson heading over. Aubameyang and Fernandez both under a long ball. The Arsenal man goes down under the slightest touch. Been some sly stuff from the Goons so far. They are awarded a freekick for that but it comes to little.

01:46 PM

44 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

After negotiation with Willian, Luiz et al, Odegaard himself wins the right to take the freekick and... not do a lot with it.

01:46 PM

43 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Almiron has blundered into Odegaard, who hits the deck. An accidental foul, if you know what I mean. Almiron kind of tripped and fell into him. Would have been one of the great unjust red cards had he got the second yellow.

Sadly, Dean denies us that piece of comedy.

01:43 PM

40 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Fernandez tackles Ceballos, who again goes down very easily.

01:41 PM

Arsenal

have had 12 shots, Newcastle 2. The visitors have been very dominant. But at one-nil, and Arsenal being Arsenal, the Mags should not give up hope.

01:38 PM

35 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Arsenal corner. Luiz with a trademark run to the near post and the flick-header on. Clark loses him. Wilson does enough to clear.

01:33 PM

31 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Almiron is booked for catching Ceballos from behind, although it is far from clear that he did actually make contact with the Arsenal player. That's pretty cheap if Ceballos has faked that. Anyway.

01:30 PM

29 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Fernzndez has lost his man and it is Elneny with the header! Almiron heads it off the line - well done that man.

Elneny has opened his Premier League scoring account and he's absolutely flying.

01:29 PM

28 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Bellerin having a good game, he's causing plenty of problems down that right. He's the key figure in a move here that ends with Xhaka striking a hard shot with his left from range. Tipped over for a corner.

01:25 PM

24 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Decent work from Arsenal down the right, Willian with a busy little bit of play and a cross: Aubameyang meets the ball but puts it wide. Think that the commentator just said Aubameyang has four in five against the Geordies. No further increase on that with this shot, though.

01:23 PM

22 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

One word to describe this so far: "inessential"

Comedy's David Luiz on the ball - Pool/AFP via Getty
Comedy's David Luiz on the ball - Pool/AFP via Getty

01:22 PM

20 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Xhaka, for me one of the least impressive 'big' players at a 'big' team in living memory, has just gone into the book for a pointless hack at Saint-Maximin. He really is a clot, that Granit.

01:20 PM

17 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Handy save from Mat Ryan as Saint-Maximim hits a shot that takes a huge deflection.

Arsenal clear the corner.

It's been a bit better from the Mags after that supine start.

01:13 PM

12 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Newcastle have a freekick and they swing it into the box but, surprisingly enough, Arsenal deal with it calmly and competently.

01:12 PM

9 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Elneny apparently said in an interview recently that he has been working hard on his shooting and doing extra training. Certainly gave that strike the full gun. Dubravka got a hand to it but he'd smacked it so well that it still went in.

01:09 PM

7 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Newcastle haven't turned up. They had barely had a kick before that.

But here comes Al Saint-Max to drive forward with his movement and pace. Feeds Ritchie, who delivers a hard low cross in, but Ryan snaffles it.

Mat Ryan of Arsenal - Telegraph
Mat Ryan of Arsenal - Telegraph

01:07 PM

GOAL! Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1 (Mohamed Elneny 6)

Luiz starts an attack with a nice ball, good work again by Hector B to cut it inside. Aubameyang with a glorious chance... that he makes a total pig's ear of. But the ball breaks kindly for Arsenal, and Mohamed Elneny has smashed it home from about 15 yards. He rattled that in for his first goal in the Premier League.

01:05 PM

4 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 0

Bellerin plays it inside to Gabriel, he has a go but the shot is charged down.

Newcastle: Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Almiron, Sean Longstaff, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Wilson. Subs: Matthew Longstaff, Schar, Joelinton, Gayle, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Gillespie, Anderson.

Arsenal: Ryan, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Xhaka, Elneny, Ceballos, Willian, Odegaard, Martinelli, Aubameyang. Subs: Leno, Saka, Cedric, Thomas, Pepe, Chambers, Pablo Mari, Nketiah, Smith-Rowe.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

01:03 PM

3 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 0

Quiet start to the match.

01:02 PM

2 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 0

Here's David Luiz carrying the ball out of defence.

01:01 PM

1 mins: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 0

Sun's out there now. Which team will it smile upon?

12:59 PM

Right then!

The players are out on the park.

12:45 PM

Newcastle just

needs a point or two really, even if you think that Fulham can win their last four games. Newcastle are on 36 points and the Cottagers on 27.

12:44 PM

Steve Bruce

"We have only lost one in eight. It was vital we put a run together, and that has coincided with players getting fit. There has been a change in formation, but having our big players at the top end fit has made a difference. We have been decimated up front and at centre half which are key positions. Getting players fit has given us a new dimension."

"Wilson is ready. When he burst through against Liverpool last week I knew."

12:19 PM

Team news

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is handed a first start since February 6 against Arsenal as the Magpies look to edge closer to securing Premier League safety.

The hosts' leading scorer returns to the starting line-up after making three appearances as a substitute following his recovery from a hamstring tear.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta makes eight changes to the side beaten 2-1 by Villarreal in the Europa League on Thursday evening as skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mat Ryan, Hector Bellerin, Gabriel, David Luiz, Mohamed Elneny, Willian and Gabriel Martinelli replace Bernd Leno, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe.

12:17 PM

Aubameyang makes his first start in a month

Arteta on why he has changed eight: "We want to prepare the best we can for this game. We have lost so many players recently. We learned our lesson with Lacazette recently. He and Tierney have not trained with us so they will not be available for a few games."

Arsenal stayed on in Spain to train this week - here they are in Valencia - Arsenal FC via Getty Images
Arsenal stayed on in Spain to train this week - here they are in Valencia - Arsenal FC via Getty Images

12:06 PM

This match is followed by

Man U vs Liverpool, and both of those are on Sky Sports. The broadcaster has given this one the full-court press: Souey and Keano, Gurreh, Carra and Micah are all on hand at Old Trafford to give their views.

A sense that this Arsenal/Toon match is something of an undercard event... The sad fact for Arsenal is that they are not currently relevant to the business end of this league.

12:03 PM

Teams

Newcastle: Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Almiron, Sean Longstaff, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Wilson. Subs: Matthew Longstaff, Schar, Joelinton, Gayle, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Gillespie, Anderson.

Arsenal: Ryan, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Xhaka, Elneny, Ceballos, Willian, Odegaard, Martinelli, Aubameyang. Subs: Leno, Saka, Cedric, Thomas, Pepe, Chambers, Pablo Mari, Nketiah, Smith-Rowe.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

12:02 PM

Team news

Eight changes for Arsenal.

12:02 PM

Grey day up in the North East

SJP awairs - Telegraph
SJP awairs - Telegraph

11:24 AM

Arsenal travel to Newcastle United

Good afternoon, Mikel Arteta brings his Arsenal team to the North East this Sunday afternoon as they face Newcastle United. The kick off is at 2pm and we will have team news for the match between Newcastle and Arsenal at 1pm. The Arsenal find themselves in the deeply uninspiring 11th place in the Premier League table; Newcastle are 17th which also represents a pretty rotten if hardly unsurprising season. But they are nine points better off than Fulham so it would be a huge surprise if the Mags are not stinking up back to take their rightful place in the Premier League next term.

Arsenal, 11th as I say, have nothing to play for in the Premier League but a pivotal match on Thursday in the semi of the Europa League. Arteta has acknowledged that their only realistic route into the Champions League is to win the second tier European comp.

"The Premier League is the competition where it is not in our hands to achieve what we wanted to do, because there are other teams in front of us," he said.

"The only thing we can control is our performances and results and this is our main focus. Then we know that the semi-final is the crucial moment of the season."

"From the position they're in, Newcastle are going to come at us," added Arteta.

"They're a really organised team, they've been playing much better recently so it will be tough.

"The amount of games that we are playing, every team has the capacity to make it difficult for you.

"Let's see who is available. We had a really demanding game again, the boys have had so many minutes so we will assess them in the training session and see how everyone is, and try to get the line-up right.

"The best way to prepare for a big game is with a good performance and that helps preparation for the next game so (it would) be helpful if we can go to Newcastle and get a good result."

As for the Arsenal players, captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is likely to play some part having come off the bench late on in the defeat at Villarreal on Thursday following his recovery from malaria.

Alexandre Lacazette will also be hoping for involvement after returning to training from a hamstring issue, while Kieran Tierney and David Luiz are both in contention having overcome knee injuries.

As for Steve Bruce, he says: "We've been in the bottom half of the division now for a number of years, that's where we are at this particular moment. If we can match [the points total from] last year, where we got to, then I think we would all accept that would be, considering the problems we've had, acceptable.

"Can we finish above where we did last year? I doubt it, but considering the problems we've had this year, then I would be delighted if we could get there."

The only blemish in the last eight fixtures is a 3-0 defeat at Brighton on March 20 in which Newcastle turned in an abject display, although that appears to have served as something of a watershed.

Bruce said: "Certainly when you throw in the horror show at Brighton, then you have to have a response and all of them have responded in a positive way to say, 'Look, we weren't good enough on the night and we've got to be better than that if we're going to stay in this division'."

The latest point was hard-earned as the Magpies struck late through substitute Joe Willock - his third goal from the bench in as many appearances - to deny reigning champions Liverpool victory at Anfield last Saturday.

It is not the first time they have shown a gritty resilience this season - indeed, 13 of their 36 league goals have come inside the final 10 minutes of games, nine of them in or after the 85th minute.

Bruce said: "It's quite remarkable that we have the ability to hang on in there, but it gives everybody a lift to get a result against a big, big team."