Bengaluru, April 16: Newcastle United, coached by Rafa Benitez, snapped their 10-game winless record against Arsenal to register a 2-1 come-from-behind win in the Premier League on Sunday. While Alexandre Lacazette put the Gunners ahead in the 13th minute of the game, the lead was overturned by Newcastle through goals from Ayoze Perez and Matt Ritchie.
The win pushed Newcastle, grappling with relegation in the early stages, to the 10th spot on the Premier League table, 13 points clear of the relegation zone. The victory at St James' Park more or less helps Newcastle stay in the Premier League, while Arsenal are now just two points above Burnley in the sixth place.
Here are the talking points from the match between Arsenal and Newcastle United:
The Frenchman appears to have regained his scoring prowess after returning from injury recently. His goals against CSKA Moscow helped the Gunners go through to the semis of the Europa League. After a good show in the Europa League, Lacazette found himself on the starting sheet against Newcastle in the Premier League and promptly converted the assist by Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in the 13th minute.
Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding were paired up in the central defence for the Gunners. Mustafi, who failed to react against Southampton last week, looked out of form again. Holding too was unable to hold off the Newcastle threat as Arsenal clearly missed the experience of Laurent Koscielny at the back. Nacho Monreal and Calum Chambers were also poor at the full-back positions. Ayoze Perez and Matt Ritchie scored without much resistance to seal the three points for Newcastle.
The Gunners had won the Premier League in the 2003-04 season with a 4-4-2 formation. But after that, Arsene Wenger never returned to that formation again. In the previous season, he used to play with a 4-2-3-1 formation and now prefers a 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 system. The absence of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan caused a lot of problems for Arsenal in this match. Wenger now has two able strikers - Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang - but the absence of the three leaves a big hole in the midfield. Alex Iwobi could have played as a central midfielder instead of a winger to save the invisible midfield.
Jonjo Shelvey can surely be considered as the best performer of Newcastle United against Arsenal. In this match, he had taken the full control of the midfield on his own. Shelvey’s ball control and playmaking ability made him superior to the other players on the pitch. His long balls to Ayoze Perez were causing problems most of times for the Arsenal defenders. With this show, Shelvey has just increased his chances of making the England squad for the upcoming World Cup in Russia.
Stay strong Arsenal fans. Still feel you’re capable of finishing above Burnley.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 15, 2018
The Gunners are currently placed sixth with 54 points in 33 matches. Burnley are just two points behind with the same number of games played. Arsenal still have to play against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Premier League and it's very much possible for Burnley to finish the top six now. If Arsenal finish outside the top six and are unable to make something of the Europa League, their season will be a disaster.