Arsenal hammered Newcastle United 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday as a run of four successive draws in the Premier League came to an end. Goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil, and Alexandre Lacazette helped the Gunners return to winning ways after the winter break.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta handed 20-year-old striker Eddie Nketiah his first Premier League start after returning from Leeds United loan spell. The youngster got the nod ahead of Alexandre Lacazette who has not scored in more than four games until yesterday. Another surprise selection was Dani Ceballos who started his game since November after overcoming a crucial injury.
Arsenal were docile in the first half and spent the majority of it on the back foot, but it was Newcastle who took the bull by the horn and had two chances in the space of a minute to punish the Gunners. Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff’s long-range effort was deflected by Ceballos and forcing Bernd Leno to save the goal-bound effort.
The visitors also got another chance when striker Joelinton fired wide from Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross. The Gunners, however, showed a glimpse of what to come later in the game when Ozil’s stylish pass found Nketiah who saw his effort comfortably saved by Martin Dubravka.
The hosts came back to life and started showing the stuff they are made of after the break following a lackluster first-half display. Nketiah came close to recording his first-team goal for Arsenal when his close-range effort hit the crossbar after some movement from Pepe.
Arsenal finally broke the deadlock when Pepe sent a floated cross to the back post and Aubameyang rose above Valentin Lazaro to power home a superb header into the far corner. The Gunners doubled their lead within three minutes when Bukayo Saka produced a fine piece of skill to nutmeg Lazaro and found Pepe, who slotted home past Dubravka to record his fourth league goal of the season.
Newcastle had two chances to level but failed to take the opportunity. Captain Ciaran Clark fired wide from six yards and Allan Saint-Maximin struck the post as Newcastle. The Gunners then punished the Magpies with two late goals from Ozil and Lacazette to fire the Gunners to within seven points of the top four.
Speaking after the match, the Gunners manager Arteta said: “We said before the game that we wanted to put draws into wins, and the home form is going to be vital if we want to achieve anything important this season.
“We started to manage the game better after 25 minutes and at half-time, we had a talk, afterward, we improved a lot in the second half.”
Also speaking about his team’s performance, Newcastle boss Steve Bruce: “If we’re going to be honest, the disappointing thing is the manner of the goals we gave away.
“It was so not like us – they were too easy, and for an hour, we’ve been where we’ve been all season.
“We didn’t start the second half like we should have done, and we’ve gone sloppy, giving away awful goals, which has not been us. We’ve got to take it on the chin and move forward.”
Watch Arsenal’s coach Mikel Arteta post match interview below