Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (58″)
Newcastle United: No score.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the only goal of the game as Arsenal made a winning start to the Premier League 2019-20 campaign with a 1-0 victory at Newcastle on Sunday.
The 30-year-old, who shared the Golden Boot last season with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, opened his account for 2019/20 in the 58th minute, bringing down Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross before lifting the ball over Martin Dubravka.
It proved to be the crucial strike as the Gunners, who handed Premier League debuts to new signings Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli from the bench, ensured Steve Bruce’s reign as Newcastle head coach began with defeat.
In this game, Newcastle continued with their setup from last term and went with three central defenders. Aubameyang would have a tough time finding space centrally against that trio, whilst Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey, who each created three goals for the striker last season in the Premier League, were both missing – the former only fit enough for the bench after injury, and the latter departed to Juventus on a free transfer.
With two teenagers from Arsenal’s production line in Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson in the starting XI, it would have been tempting for the striker to drop off and try to link play more than usual. After a quiet start, there were three occasions where the duo linked up with the best of those coming in a 31st-minute counter-attack. Mkhitaryan sent Aubameyang into the space behind right centre back, Fabian Schar and the striker forced a good save with a left-footed attempt.
Lascelles moved out towards the left to defend a counter-attack, assuming Schar was picking up the Arsenal striker. When Ainsley Maitland-Niles picked out Aubameyang, he cautioned the pass as it skidded across the surface, then placed it over the goalkeeper calmly.
The goal was appeared to be easy, but it was not. He had 44 goals for Arsenal today. In his punditry role for Sky Sports, Jose Mourinho summed up the finish perfectly: “He’s cool, he loves to be there and of course, what I love to say, simplicity sometimes is genius,” the Portuguese coach began. “That control looks simple but it’s not simple, it’s genius.
???? One hour until kick-off ????
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 11, 2019
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 11, 2019