Granit Xhaka’s excellent free-kick set Arsenal on their way to a third consecutive victory under Unai Emery as Newcastle remain without a Premier League win. Despite being frustrated in the first half, Xhaka opened the scoring for the Gunners with a long-range free-kick that flew past Magpies goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. As the visitors grew in confidence, Mesut Ozil met the rebound of Alexandre Lacazette’s blocked effort to double his side’s advantage and ensure Arsenal won consecutive away league games for the first time since May 2017. Ciaran Clark responded in stoppage time for the hosts, but Newcastle remain 18th in the table with just one win in their past 10 league games.
Rafael Benitez’s side remain on one point, equalling their worst return after five Premier League games – although they had much the better of the first-half chances as they pressed an Arsenal defence determined to build from the back. The early pressure forced errors, as keeper Petr Cech passed the ball out for a corner and defender Shkodran Mustafi’s stumble was indicative of an Arsenal back-line still trying to get comfortable with a new style of play under Emery. However, Arsenal returned the stronger side after the interval and scored twice in 10 second half minutes to secure the points – despite a late Newcastle rally.
Following a tough start to Emery’s reign, with opening league fixtures against champions Manchester City and Chelsea, victory at St James’ Park is the Gunners third consecutive win and they now appear to be gaining some momentum under Arsene Wenger’s successor. And it did appear, once they got into their stride, that Arsenal’s players are adapting to Emery’s philosophy – although on evidence there remains plenty of work to do.