Arsenal fried a big fish on Thursday and then it can be hard to motivate yourself for a game in Tyne and Wear on an early Sunday afternoon. Wenger left midfield beasts Ozil, Jack and Rambo at home and also gave full back Bellerin and central defender Koz a break. With starts for Iwobi, Willock, and Holding and Chambers, Arsene rotated his squad and they started well.
In the first half we played well and should have been leading by one or two goals, but in the second half both tiredness and continued rustiness of our attackers showed and we paid the price for leaving our quality midfielders at home.
Cech: 7 – distribution was not great again and should he have been beaten so easily at the near post for the first goal?
Monreal: 6.5 – would have expected more composure from him at the back for the second we conceded. Some good crosses into the box and he always gives his all.
Mustafi: 5.5 – asleep for the first goal. Seems lost without the calm leadership of Koz next to him. Great block in the second half to prevent NU’s third goal.
Holding: 6 – relatively calm and solid, nothing spectacular.
Chambers: 5 – defensively okay but too slow and heavy to play as a full/wing back for Arsenal in the PL. Some poor decision and final touches when supporting the attack.
Xhaka: 7.5 – solid and intelligent play in midfield. Found his position in the team.
Elneny: 8 – the engine for us and could be found everywhere on the pitch. Such a tidy player. MOTM.
Willock: 6 – added bite to our midfield but not enough to our attacking play, but good game given his experience and age (18).
Iwobi: 7.5 – another engine for us on the pitch. Fine movement and intelligent play but the attacking three lacked telepathic connection to really hurt the Newcastle defence.
Laca: 6 – good goal and decent movement and involvement in the game but needs to stamp his authority on games more. Will come… next season.
Auba: 6.5 – great assists and good involvement in the game but did not get the midfield service he deserves.