Arsenal extended their poor form away from home with a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United.
Matt Ritchie scored the winner as the Magpies went past the 40-point mark, 13 clear of the relegation zone. Ayoze Perez had earlier equalised in the first half after Alexandre Lacazette gave the visitors the lead.
The defeat leaves Arsenal in sixth place, just two points above Burnley and with plenty to ponder.
AUBA AIDS LACAZETTE
When Arsenal signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January, it didn’t seem to bode well for Lacazette whose inconsistency had already put him under pressure. With one of the most prolific strikers joining the Gunners, the Frenchman’s place during his first season at the Emirates Stadium came under serious threat, especially given Arsene Wenger’s preference to field a system with one up front.
However, against Newcastle, the two strikers showed that they can coexist. Starting together for the first time, Aubameyang was deployed on the left side but played as a narrow left winger with Lacazette through the middle. The former Borussia Dortmund hitman did well to tee up his team-mate for the opening goal.
Aubameyang’s arrival has lightened the goal-scoring burden on Lacazette, bagging six goals in seven league appearances. If Wenger can get the duo firing alongside each other on a regular basis, both halves of the £113 million partnership can thrive.
Arsenal managed to secure the win against Southampton at home last week but even then, their defending was hardly convincing as the Saints struck twice. After conceding another two against the Magpies, they have now leaked six goals in their last three games in all competitions.
Shkodran Mustafi is supposed to be an experienced head in that back-line but he has been just as guilty as anyone else of lapses in concentration. For a second time in a week he was beaten by a run at the near post with Perez this time the benefactor.
With Atletico Madrid to face in the semi-finals of the Europa League, Wenger will have to tighten things up at the back.
Arsenal are the only team in England’s top four leagues not to win an away game in 2018. Let that sink in. Their form on the road is becoming increasingly worrying as they have now lost five consecutive away games in the Premier League for the first time in their history.
It’s understandable that Wenger has chosen to put all his eggs in the Europa League basket but carrying on the way they have in the league cannot bode well for their confidence. It’s an unwanted record such as this that can have a toxic affect on the squad and seep into their campaign in Europe as well.
Jose Mourinho’s men will be looking to keep up their recent form ahead of the FA Cup semi-final with Tottenham next week while the Baggies need a miracle to avoid the drop.
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Arsenal suffered a 2-1 defeat away to Newcastle United in the Premier League as their poor form away from home continued.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set up Alexander Lacazette who gave the Gunners the lead before Ayoze Perez equalised.
Some sloppy defending at the back led to a second for the hosts in the second half as Matt Ritchie’s strike proved to be the winner.
Here’s a look at how the Gunners performed.
Petr Cech – 5: Beaten at the near post for the equaliser. Made a couple of routine saves.
Calum Chambers – 5: Did well to get forward and have a few shots. Was relatively solid at the back.
Shkodran Mustafi – 7: Shoulders some of the blame for the first goal as he failed to track Perez’s run at the near post. Did make a crucial last man tackle later on though and made some good clearances.
Rob Holding – 5: Didn’t do too much wrong but lacked the presence to command situations in the box.
Nacho Monreal – 3: Sloppy play that led to the winner for Newcastle. Saw plenty of the ball but could not make an impact going forward.
Alex Iwobi – 6: Was a threat going forward and had a couple of shots from decent positions that he could’ve done better with.
Granit Xhaka -4: A nothing display from the Swiss. Had enough possession but his passing was safe.
Mohamed El Neny – 5: More industrious than his midfield partner and made some good interceptions but otherwise ineffective.
Joe Willock – 5: Not the dream Premier League debut he would’ve hoped for and one that most people will forget.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7: Played out wide and did his best to threaten the defence. A fine assist for the opener.
Alexandre Lacazette – 7: Took his goal well and got into good positions. Better from the Frenchman.
Danny Welbeck – 5: Replaced Willock in the 68th minute and didn’t have an impact.
Ainsely Maitland-Niles – N/A: Came on for Chambers late on.
Eddie Nketiah – N/A: Played the final few minutes in place of Iwobi.