Newcastle United might just have ended their relegation worries by winning 2-1 against Arsenal at St James’ Park tonight. The Magpies crossed the 40-point mark and have come within touching distance of Everton’s 9th place spot in the Premier League table with a game in hand.
The Gunners did get the lead through their French forward, Alexandre Lacazette within the first 15 minutes of action but struggled to hold off the charged Rafael Benitez-headed squad.
Shkodran Mustafi did well to see the run of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang behind the Newcastle backline and launched an inch-perfect ball forward. The latter found a bit of space on the left and lobbed in a perfectly-weighted ball towards the far post which was skillfully volleyed in by Lacazette. 0-1
The Magpies did not have to wait long for an equaliser as nine of their players combined to score the equaliser through Ayoze Perez. Deandre Yedlin found himself with space on the right and drilled in a low driven ball inside the Arsenal box. The Spaniard got in front of the clueless Mustafi and slammed in a first-time effort towards the near post. 1-1
A back and forth contest ensued despite Arsenal maintaining majority of the possession. The hosts were full of intent with their defensive approach and Arsene Wenger’s side did not. And the punishment was well earned by Arsenal as Benitez’s men got the winning goal in the 68th minute.
An advanced throw-in from the Arsenal half was badly handled by the backline and Newcastle took advantage. Rob Holding was left alone to stop two United players as Dwight Gayle calmly laid of Matt Ritchie clear on the right. The winger launched a well-hit shot over Holding and Cech with his weaker right. 1-2
Here is how the Newcastle United players rated on the night.
Martin Dubravka – 6/10
Did try to reach for Lacazette’s well-struck volley but couldn’t. Cannot be faulted otherwise.
Paul Dummett – 5/10
Very lazy with his marking which allowed the Arsenal forward to score without facing any resistance. Did make amends in the second half with his well-timed challenges.
Florian Lejeune – 6/10
Did well to hold off the clever Lacazette except on one occasion. Very calm in the pressure situations to clear out the United backline.
Jamaal Lascelles – 6/10
Very dominant on the air and equally solid with his clearances.
DeAndre Yedlin – 6/10
Did get beaten by Aubameyang on a couple of occasions but worked hard to redeem himself. Squared off a well-timed cross to earn himself the equaliser.
Jonjo Shelvey – 7/10
A cool and composed head in the middle of the park. Clever to release the ball in timely fashion and to find Gayle upfront in clear spaces.
Mohamed Diame – 6/10
Other than one literal slip up in midfield he was very disciplined and clinical tonight.
Matt Ritchie – 7/10
Worked hard to track back and cover the right. Quality finishing to get himself the match-winning goal.
Kenedy – 6/10
Can almost be considered as a fullback tonight.
Ayoze Perez – 8/10
A pest in the Arsenal half with his off-the-ball movement and quick dribbles. A wonderful finish to get his side the goal.
Dwight Gayle – 7/10
Another night without a goal but so impactful even without one. He almost single-handedly tore open the Arsenal defence with his backdoor runs and impressive hold-up play.
Islam Slimani – 5/10
Got clear of Mustafi inside the Arsenal box but could not set up Perez for a clear chance.
Joselu – NA
Jacob Murphy – NA
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