Arsenal never really had to hit top gear to beat Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night, though they left it late to secure the victory in the end.
Aaron Ramsey gave the Gunners the lead twice in the first half, with his first effort disallowed for a foul by Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Arsenal just couldn’t find that second goal to kill the game, even though their opponents barely had a chance to speak of throughout the match.
Eventually, with less than 10 minutes to go, Alexandre Lacazette executed an inch-perfect chip to make it 2-0. The striker then scored another disallowed goal, and this one was extremely harshly ruled out. Nonetheless, 2-0 was enough to secure the three points and move up into third place in the table.
Let’s have a look at our individual player ratings for the match.
Goalkeeper and Centre-Backs
Bernd Leno 7
Leno only had to make one save all match, and he made it. The German wasn’t even particularly involved in possession. His strong recent form has certainly earned him a clean sheet or two, even if he didn’t have to do much for this one.
Shkodran Mustafi 7
In the first half, Mustafi was defending pretty well, but he kept giving the ball away in dangerous areas. In the second, he tightened up that side of his game and was consistently on the front foot to win the ball back and keep the Gunners on the attack.
If his earlier mistakes were punished, the game might have been a different story, but as they weren’t, Mustafi ended up having a pretty good match.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos 6.5
Sokratis really had a game of two halves. In the first, Salomon Rondon was all over him. The Greek centre-back won just two of his six individual duels and let the Newcastle striker in for his only shot on target of the match, after falling over far too easily.
After the break, the 30-year-old was much improved, winning four out of five duels and killing any hope of a Newcastle fight back. He also did well not to pick up a yellow card that would have ruled him out of the next two league games.
Nacho Monreal 7.5
Monreal quietly had a solid and dependable performance, without any of the lax passing or inconsistent defending his centre-back partners suffered from at times. Only the midfield pairing completed a greater percentage of their passes from the Arsenal starters, no one won more tackles and the Spaniard won the majority of his duels too.