On the back of an impressive turn around, Arsenal began the defence of their 14th FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Newcastle at the Emirates.
Arteta made 7 changes to the team that beat Sam Allardye’s Westbrom 4-0. Cedric and Luiz returned to the starting line up while Elneny partnered Joe Willock in the middle.
Pepe, Willian, Aubameyang and Martinelli were upfront but the latter was replaced by Nelson before kick off after picking up an injury in warm up.
The Gunners needed Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka to see off the Toon Army. The young lads started on the bench but were subbed on the 57th and 67th minute respectively.
Willian had been pedestrian and there are a lot of question marks over his continuous start for the Gunners despite Arteta’s marble words of “non-negotiables” and “footballing reasons”. I believe Arteta has given so much chance to Willian compared to other ostracised member of the team.
Arsenal had two scares in the later part of the 90 minutes. Leno made a very important save to keep the scoreline at 0-0 in added time. It was a good decision to start the German ahead of Runnarson who had a poor game in his last appearance.
Arsenal were almost reduced to 10-men but thanks to VAR, the decision was overturned to a yellow card. Smith Rowe had his heart in his mouth and his hand over his head. He was relieved to see that VAR came to his rescue.
He capped his performance with the opener in Extra Time. Saka and Laca were involved as the ball fell for Emile to roll the ball beyond Dubravka into the net for 1-0. Aubameyang made it 2-0 after a sweet cutback from Tierney. Xhaka laid the beauty pass to Tierney.
The introduction of Xhaka and Lacazette were instrumental to the win. It was a relief to see Aubameyang score again. It was sad to see Martinelli injured.
We go again against Crystal Palace in the Premier League.