Arsenal’s Saka earns 8/10 after leading second

Arsenal’s Saka earns 8/10 after leading second half until injury.

Arsenal’s Saka earns 8/10 after leading second half.

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka scored the game’s first goal after a brilliant passing sequence. Getty Images/Richard Heathcote

Arsenal held off a tenacious Newcastle United team at the Emirates Stadium to clinch a comfortable 2-0 Premier League victory.

Many thought this wasn’t going to be the hosts’ day after a slew of squandered chances in the first half, only for Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli to score two goals in 10 second-half minutes to send the Gunners on their road to three points, tying them with fourth-placed West Ham United.

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Positives

Arsenal’s patience in the build-up was obvious throughout the game, and they definitely fought hard to sustain it for the whole 90 minutes. The fact that they had over 80% possession at one point in the game speaks for itself, with their greatest success coming when they drove through Newcastle’s spine, continually keeping them guessing with fast passing moves.

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Negatives

Mikel Arteta’s side were much too eager to welcome any pressure from Newcastle, which might have cost them the game if the Magpies had been a little more accurate in front of goal. From long balls over the top to the aggressiveness shown by Newcastle’s attackers, they were always troubled by the aerial danger, which is something that has to be addressed when facing bottom-half teams in particular.

Manager evaluations (out of ten)

8 — The greatest thing that can be stated about Arteta is that he’s committed to the rebuilding mission, as seen by his starting XI. There was a distinct mix in the squad between the junior players and the experienced heads, and despite a tight start to the second half, he didn’t let his side’s head sink, which shows true character. In terms of substitutions, even after taking the lead, the Spaniards wanted to press for additional goals, which is exactly the mindset they need to have if they want to challenge for the top four.

Those are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best and players inserted after 70 minutes receiving no rating.

GK Aaron Ramsdale, 8 years old — Ramsdale added another highlight to his 2022-22 highlight reel with a world-class save that was pushed onto the bar from a Jonjo Shelvey strike.

DF Takehiro Tomiyasu, 8 years old — His commitment while rushing forward was matched by his timing in making challenges, resulting in a lovely chipped assist for the second goal.

DF Ben White, 7 years old — In yet another great game in red and white, he kept his cool, was assured in possession, and seldom put a foot wrong.

DF 8-year-old Gabriel Magalhaes — Especially in his duels with Wilson, the Brazilian wasn’t hesitant to go down in the trenches and clean up any defensive blunders.

DF Nuno Tavares (nine), Nuno Tavares (nine), Nuno Tavare Nuno Tavares has deft footwork, is quick, tracks back, and provided a wonderful assist for the game’s first goal, but he has to quit shooting from distance.

In the first half, Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wasted a wonderful opportunity to score the game’s opening goal. Getty Images/John Walton/PA Images

MF 6-year-old Thomas Partey — I was caught chasing shadows a few times too many, but I didn’t make any noticeable blunders in the early stages of the game.

MF 7-year-old Albert Sambi Lokonga — Lokonga was there to clean up in the center of the park on a daily basis, and if he can nail one of those perfect crosses, he’ll start scooping up assists with ease.

MF 8-year-old Bukayo Saka — Saka was boxed out for lengthy periods of time in the first half, but he provided a moment of magic in the second by beginning and concluding a wonderful movement of play to open the score.

MF Martin Odegaard, 6 years old — Had some good ideas, but didn’t really get into the game until the victory was signed, sealed, and delivered.

MF Smith, Emile 7 Rowe — The Englishman is still a little inexperienced when it comes to rushing into the final third, but his relentlessness makes him one of Arsenal’s most dangerous attacking threats.

5 — FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang The veteran endured a forgettable day, with his most significant contribution coming in the 41st minute when he missed an absolute sitter from 2 yards out.

Substitutes

MF N/A, Mohamed Elneny — Served as a reliable midfield presence to keep the minutes ticking away till the final whistle.

Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Martinelli Just seconds after entering the game, the kid made the most of his chance by lifting a stunning volley past the keeper to make it 2-0.

Alexandre Lacazette, FW Alexandre Lacazette, N/A — When he first came in, he kept the ball well and even had a couple half-chances that didn’t quite go his way.

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