Arsenal breeze past rock bottom Newcastle with two superb second half goals
Saka and Martinelli on the scoresheet for the Gunners
Saturday, 27th November 2021 — By Tom Foot at the Emirates
ARSENAL 2 (Saka 56, Martinelli 66)
A SUMPTUOUS volley and a passing goal to make Wenger weep helped the Gunners breeze past Newcastle at the Emirates.
Bukayo Saka broke the deadlock with a thumping strike into the bottom corner after some expert one-touch build up play with Emile Smith Rowe and Varela Tavares.
Gabriel Martinell’s goal was Bergkamp-esque, he caressed a controlled volley past Martin Dubravka after the ball fell over his shoulder.
But it was not all plain sailing and Arsenal fans have Aaron Ramsdale to thank, yet again, for heroics between the strike.
His fingertip save, pushing Jonjo Shelvey’s long range strike onto the crossbar, was arguably the highlight of a painful pedestrian and forgettable first half.
There had been a series of bizarre long range shots from full backs Nuno Tavares and Takehiro Tomiyasu. Worse still there was another lacklustre display from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang,
The Arsenal captain missed an absolute sitter, but more worrying is that he looks sluggish and unmotivated.
Both goals came through good off-the-ball movement from the forwards. Martinelli bent a darting run across the box making space to receive the through ball from Tomiyasu.
The Saka goal came about because of quality first time passing and running into space.
There was little of that in a dreary first half, but the second half started with more pace.
The breakthrough came from Saka driving in from the left wing after he switched over from his normal right side.
There was a lovely bit of interplay with Emile Smith Rowe and Tavares before he got in behind Lascelles and lashed it across Martin Dubravka.
Saka was substituted off injured after playing on for ten minutes after a bad tackle.
But after the match Arteta suggested it may not serious: “He was uncomfortable to continue. We will have to probably scan him tomorrow and see if there’s any injury there.”
Martin Odegaard started ahead of Alexandre Lacazette. Manager Mikel Arteta may prefer a naturally creative midfielder behind the front three over the bustling presence of French frontman.
But the side as a whole often looks flat when Lacazette doesn’t start. He does chase and try and the fans get behind him. The same cannot be said for Odegaard, who did not have a bad game but did not exactly inspire either.
On Martinelli, Arteta said: “It is a big moment for him. I’m especially happy for him because the way he behaves. Some players are respectful when you make some decisions, some players are very respectful like he is.
“He makes every decision you make even harder because he deserves more.”
Albert Lokonga had a solid game in the middle of the park and looks to be forming a good partnership with Thomas Partey.
Arsenal remain fifth in the Premier League, while Newcastle are five points adrift of safety with just over a third of the season gone.
For all the Saudi richest, Newcastle are rock bottom with six points from 13 games.
Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares, Saka (Martinelli 64), Partey (Elneny 85), Lokonga, Smith Rowe, Ødegaard, Aubameyang (Lacazette 76)
Subs not used: Leno, Tierney, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Pépé, Nketiah
Newcastle: Dubravka, Krafth, Lascelles, Schar, Ritchie, Fraser, (Almiron 67), Shelvey, Willock, Saint-Maximin, Wilson, Joelinton (Murphy 67)
Subs not used: Clark, Lewis, Hayden, Hendrick, Manquillo, Murphy, Darlow, Longstaff