Auba at the double
Mikel Arteta’s men returned to action a short time ago, in a Premier League meeting with the Magpies in north London.
The Gunners of course headed into proceedings in search of a bounce-back result, having seen a 4-game win streak brought to an end in disappointing fashion by Crystal Palace last time out.
As outlined above, though, when all was said and done at the Emirates, bounce back is precisely what Arsenal managed.
When a lifeless opening 45 minutes came to a close, during which the hosts again majorly struggled to carve out chances, the Gunners faithful could have been forgiven for fearing the worst.
The interval, though, appeared to breathe new life into Arteta’s troops, with a much-improved 2nd-half display having eventually seen the north Londoners emerge on the right side of a 3-0 scoreline.
The evening’s scoring was opened with 50 minutes on the clock, when, after picking the ball up deep inside his own half, Thomas Partey burst forward, before setting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang free with a pinpoint pass.
And the Gabonese hitman, who had looked some way short of his best throughout proceedings to that point, made no mistake, surging beyond Emil Krafth, before finishing high into the visitors’ net with his left foot:
The Arsenal skipper makes no mistake this time 🔴
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 18, 2021
Then, on the hour mark, it was two.
Bukayo Saka was the scorer on this occasion, rounding out a wonderful team move on the part of the hosts.
After Emile Smith Rowe was slipped in down the left, the youngster did superbly to beat his man, before laying the ball on a plate for Saka to slot home in typically confident fashion:
Smith Rowe x Saka 😍
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 18, 2021
Arsenal weren’t done there, though, with a fine day all-round on the part of the capital heavyweights having been rounded out inside the final quarter of an hour, courtesy of the jubilant Aubameyang.
Another incisive move, on this occasion down the right, allowed Cedric Soares to pull back for the unmarked Gunners captain to add some gloss to the scoreline, and solidify his return to form in front of goal.
Arteta’s outfit have now, for the time being at least, climbed back into the top half of the Premier League table, amid a fine run of 4 wins from 5 in the English top-flight.
Evidently, amid such a dominant display this evening, a number of Arsenal’s stars impressed over the course of the 90 minutes.
Bukayo Saka was once again superb in his berth on the right wing, Alexandre Lacazette continued to link up play to fine effect, and Cedric Soares provided his boss with a right-back quandary courtesy of an excellent all-round showing in place of Hector Bellerin.
It would feel remiss, however, not to highlight the Gunners’ midfield as the key versus Newcastle.
On the back of a weekend during which Mesut Ozil’s departure from north London was all-but finalised, a pair of the club’s stars stepped up, to remind fans that there is life in Arsenal’s ranks in the middle of the park yet.
First and foremost was Thomas Partey.
The summer arrival at the Emirates returned for his first start in over a month this evening, and wasted no time in showcasing exactly why his new club pushed so hard for his signature prior to the campaign getting underway.
Partey is simply a ‘Rolls Royce’ midfielder.
The Ghanaian boasts a complete mastery of the game, combining touch, vision, aggression, athleticism, and ability to thread the needle, the latter trait of which was on full display in setting up the game’s opening goal.
If Arsenal do go on to turn their campaign around with a surge up the Premier League table over the months ahead, Partey will, without doubt, prove central as to why.
Thomas Partey’s game by numbers vs. Newcastle:
95% pass accuracy
14 final third entries
9 ball recoveries
2 chances created
0 fouls committed
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 18, 2021
The former Atletico Madrid man, however, was not alone in lighting up the centre of the pitch at the Emirates this evening.
Whilst Partey was shining from deep, though, the man in front of him – in the form of Emile Smith Rowe – was doing so in a more advanced position.
Smith Rowe has of course come to life of late, having finally been handed the opportunity to showcase his talents on a consistent basis by Mikel Arteta.
And tonight proved no different, with the English starlet having seemingly been at the heart of everything positive his side mustered up from an offensive standpoint.
Smith Rowe just gives the Gunners something different, another dimension, with his ability to float between the lines and link midfield to attack an absolutely joy to behold.
His latest assist proved just rewards for the 20-year-old’s efforts over the course of the 90 minutes versus Newcastle, with Smith Rowe looking a better player each and every time he steps foot on the pitch.
2 & 5 – Emile Smith Rowe has either scored (2) or assisted (5) in seven of his 10 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions this season, whilst the Englishman has provided two more assists than any other player for the Gunners this campaign (5). Returns. #ARSNEW pic.twitter.com/SWmWx4BAfq
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 18, 2021
The most naturally gifted midfielder to line out for Arsenal over the course of the last decade may be inching ever-closer to bringing an end to his time with the club… But, in Partey and Smith Rowe, the stage is set for a new, dynamic pairing to light up the Emirates for years to come.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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