Newcastle United v Arsenal: Five Things We Learned
- Credit: PA
Five things we learned from Arsenal's 2-0 victory over Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday.
1. For once, Arsenal put in a clinical and controlled performance, to move back into the top half of the Premier League table. Guilty of either being too erratic or wasting their chances, Mikel Arteta’s side were accomplished in all areas against Newcastle United on Sunday.
Visibly boosted by an early Mohamed Elneny opener, the Gunners didn’t take long to get going and, once they were ahead, they never looked like relinquishing control to a Magpies side who mustered a solitary shot on target.
2. Starting for the first time since 3 April, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was heavily involved, doubling Arsenal’s lead after playing a key part in the first goal.
His return to action after recovering from malaria is a timely one, especially so given that the team face a season-defining clash at home to Villarreal in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday.
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3. Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney are unlikely to feature against Villarreal, as both were absent from the matchday squad against the Magpies.
Whilst a much-changed outfit impressed on Tyneside, Arteta knows that missing two key players in Europe could be the difference between advancing to the final in Gdansk and suffering a humbling elimination.
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As a result, he will be desperately hoping that the pair recover in time for their midweek encounter.
4. Some surprise names could make their way into the starting line-up against Villarreal.
Coasting to victory against Steve Bruce’s side, returners such as David Luiz and Aubameyang performed impressively.
The likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Pablo Mari and Rob Holding have benefitted from injury to other players, thus causing a selection headache for Arteta ahead of Arsenal’s upcoming make or break match.
5. Having all but secured Premier League football for another season, Newcastle must be wary of celebrating too early.
Despite being nine points ahead of 18th placed Fulham with just four games remaining, Bruce will be keen to remind his players that the job is not yet done.
Outplayed on Sunday, Newcastle have to put in better performances over their final four fixtures, or they could end up being dragged into a nervy relegation dogfight with the Cottagers.