Arsenal comfortably beat Newcastle United 3-0 to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to six games.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged a brace while Bukayo Saka hit his fifth goal of the season to move the Gunners into the top half of the Premier League table.
Here are our main takeaways from the Emirates …
Late to the Partey
Injuries and a search for match sharpness have halted the start to Thomas Partey’s Arsenal career but supporters got a real glimpse of the talents he has in store tonight.
We were only treated to 66 minutes of the Ghanian midfielder tonight but with him involved suddenly Mikel Arteta’s side makes a lot more sense.
The 27-year-old can play the role of the ‘connector’ for this team – transitioning from the defence to the attack quickly and effectively which is what he managed for the opening goal.
His turn to escape the Newcastle press and pass to set up Aubameyang was the perfect display of this and after a subdued, slow-tempo first-half – it proved to be exactly what Arsenal needed.
Arsenal’s midfield appeared to be a lot more balanced with Partey positioned next to Granit Xhaka in a double-pivot and although there will be question marks over whether this team can move forward as a possession-based side there will be excitement about what they can do on the counter attack.
Auba back to his old self
Arsenal’s captain had quite the game.
The 31-year-old was the butt of all jokes on the internet when he somehow spurned a chance against the post in the 15th minute of the game as the ‘Aubameyang is finished’ thinkpieces began to get typed up.
However, what we saw in the second half looked like echoes of the striker back at the top of his game.
The first finish was ruthless and on his weaker foot after Emil Krafth thought he had done his team a solid by showing Aubameyang on to his weaker foot.
Aubameyang looked like the weight had been lifted from his shoulders at that stage and found himself in the right place at the right time to tap home his second and Arsenal’s third 13 minutes from the end.
With just five goals to his name at this stage, this has been a poor season so far for the striker but this was much more like it.
Aubameyang has two incredible young talents in Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe buzzing around him and creating chances at the moment which will can surely only help his output.
He could be about to explode again …
Steve Bruce was subject to heavy criticism after Newcastle’s 1-0 defeat to the Premier League’s bottom club Sheffield United last time out.
It was a performance that Bruce himself referred to as “absolute sh*te” before claiming that he hasn’t been able to set up the team in the way he wanted this season.
The Newcastle manager promised that the “gloves were off” going into tonight’s game and suggested that we were finally going to see ‘his way’.
So, this was Bruce’s way.
Newcastle have scored one of the last 13 goals in Newcastle games.
@Richard Jolly –
It was a 4-4-2 with Joelinton and Miguel Almirón operating on either flank which appeared an uncharacteristic, attacking line-up but the Magpies soon fell into old habits.
Bruce’s side reverted to a low-block in an attempt to frustrate their hosts without ever really offering any sustainable threat going forward.
Newcastle produced just one shot on target all game and even though there may have been more attackers on the pitch than in recent matches – they were still starved of service.
It may be too early to judge ‘Newcastle 2.0’ under Bruce but if this is a sign of things to come then leopards and never changing their spots comes to mind.