LONDON (AFP) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to scoring form with a double as Arsenal’s rise up the Premier League table continued with a comfortable 3-0 win over Newcastle early yesterday.
The Gunners were facing an unlikely battle for survival less than a month ago, but 13 points from a possible 15 have lifted Mikel Arteta’s men into 10th and within seven points of the top four.
Despite Aubameyang doubling his tally of league goals from open play this season, it was again Arsenal’s dynamic young duo of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka who caught the eye as the later slotted home the hosts’ second goal in between the captain’s brace.
“When we are winning they put a smile on my face,” said Arteta of Smith Rowe and Saka’s impact.
“I know what they are capable of doing. They are developing really well, that’s merit to them, to their teammates and everyone who is involved to help them develop and protect them. The performances they are putting in are extraordinary.”
Newcastle do remain firmly in a relegation fight after a ninth consecutive game without a win despite Steve Bruce making eight changes. He said “the gloves were off” after a scathing analysis of his side’s display in becoming the only team to lose to Sheffield United in the Premier League this season last week.
However, there was no change from the Magpies, who showed little ambition in failing to force Bernd Leno into a single save of note.
Newcastle still enjoy a seven-point cushion above the relegation zone.
“We’re having a difficult moment, that little bit of confidence has ebbed away,” said Bruce, who pointed to Arsenal’s first two goals as example of why he has not played in a more expansive style this season.
“That’s why we’ve been deep in the past to avoid situations like that. Unfortunately we’re throwing bodies forward trying to score a goal and one pass and we’re caught.”