By Ayebare Mariam and Agencies
It was not a performance to live long in the memory yet grim, rain-sodden environments like this have become something for Arsenal fans to fear in recent years.
Pierre–Emerick Aubameyang provided the strike which divided the teams. There should be plenty more goals once Pepe is into his stride and loading the bullets from the left for both Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to fire.
Aubameyang is at his most effective when operating in predatory, uncomplicated moments like the one he seized to score from. He required one touch of the outstep to kill a ball sent skidding across a wet surface by Ainsley Maitland-Niles two minutes before the hour mark, and a second to dink it over Martin Dubravka.
Those who are looking for signs of a genuine renaissance can point to Arsenal’s struggle to achieve so much as a clean sheet away from home in recent years. It was April 15 before they achieved one last season. But there was not enough on offer from Steve Bruce’s Newcastle to provide any meaningful assessment.
The outcome of Unai Emery’s second season will be contingent on how a defense which was barely tested on Sunday comes to perform. Newcastle’s £16.5m signing from Nice, Allan Saint-Maxim, threatened in a late cameo from the bench which revealed why some believe he is equal to the best of his compatriot Hatem Ben Arfa. Consistency will be his challenge.
The £40m Brazilian Joelinton threatened just once, navigating a ball into the Arsenal box to bring a sharp save at close quarters from Bernd Leno. First impressions suggest it is a stretch to see him scoring the 15 goals a season Newcastle need in a prime striker.