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Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle: Saka and Martinelli fire Gunners to victory

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Nov 2021

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Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli were on target as Arsenal edged past Newcastle United 2-0 in Saturday’s Premier League clash.

Mikel Arteta’s side saw their eight-game unbeaten league run end at Liverpool last weekend, while Newcastle, with Eddie Howe in the dugout for the first time, were the only winless team in England’s top four tiers after 12 games.

Jonjo Shelvey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both struck the woodwork in the first half at Emirates Stadium before Saka eventually broke the deadlock after 56 minutes.

Substitute Martinelli added a second just 93 seconds after his introduction as Arsenal moved level on points with fourth-placed West Ham, who play Manchester City on Sunday.

Saka poked narrowly wide and Martin Dubravka excellently parried away Martin Odegaard’s free-kick as the hosts looked to score first for the 17th consecutive top-flight meeting with Newcastle.

Aaron Ramsdale then pushed Shelvey’s long-range attempt onto the crossbar before Aubameyang inexplicably hit the right-hand post from point-blank range following Emile Smith Rowe’s saved header.

Saka’s low drive was denied by Dubravka after the interval, though there was no stopping the 20-year-old when he drilled into the bottom-right corner after Nuno Tavares’ offload.

Martinelli, who replaced Saka, doubled the damage 10 minutes later with a volley past the incoming Dubravka from Takehiro Tomiyasu’s chipped pass.

Substitute Jacob Murphy looked to respond but prodded wide as Arsenal continued their 22-game unbeaten run against sides starting the day bottom of the table.

What does it mean? Gunners see off Magpies again

Arsenal attempted the second most first-half shots in the Premier League this term without scoring (12), behind only Manchester United against Aston Villa (15), but were made to wait for their breakthrough.

When that eventually came, it appeared a straightforward task for Arteta’s side, who collected their 17th win in 18 top-flight meetings with Newcastle to move level on points with fourth-placed West Ham at least temporarily.

Lovely Lokonga

Albert Sambi Lokonga was the key to keeping Arsenal’s creativity through the middle as he proved to dominate the midfield battle against Shelvey and former Gunners midfielder Joe Willock. 

The ex-Anderlecht man was unlucky to not assist Saka in the first half with an incisive deep cross, one of a game-high six key passes – one more than the whole Newcastle team combined.

Nu-no need to shoot

Tavares delivered an underwhelming performance in the 4-0 crushing at Liverpool, but still retained his spot ahead of Kieran Tierney at left-back.

The 21-year-old enjoyed a lot of room down the left flank but was incredibly wasteful, blasting a game-leading six attempts from seemingly any angle with none of those finding the target.

Key Opta Facts: Fortress Emirates

– Arsenal have never lost a Premier League home game against the side starting the day bottom of the table (W16 D6), winning the last nine in a row by an aggregate score of 25-2.

– The Gunners have won seven consecutive competitive games against an opponent without conceding a single goal for the first time in their history.

– Arteta’s side have opened the scoring in their last 17 Premier League games against Newcastle, the longest run of one team scoring first against another in the competition’s history.

– Since Arteta’s first home game in charge in December 2019, only three teams (Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea) have won more points at home in the Premier League than Arsenal (67).

–  Newcastle boss Howe has taken just five points from 33 available in his Premier League meetings with Arsenal (W1 D2 L8), losing all six of his visits to Emirates Stadium to face the Gunners.

What’s next?

Arsenal travel to Manchester United on Thursday, while Newcastle will continue searching for their first win when they host fellow strugglers Norwich City on Tuesday.

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