Elneny gets first ever Prem goal to set up Arsenal win at Newcastle

Date published: Sunday 2nd May 2021 3:55 - Samuel Bannister

Arsenal ended a run of three games without a win in all competitions by beating Newcastle 2-0 at St James’ Park.

Arsenal started sharply and took the lead after just five minutes. David Luiz floated a ball forward for Hector Bellerin, who cut it back into the box. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miskicked it, but it bounced kindly on the edge of the box for Mohamed Elneny.

The Egyptian midfielder struck the ball on the bounce to get his first ever Premier League goal.

Newcastle tried to respond to the early setback, with Allan Saint-Maximin unsurprisingly proving central to their forays forward. One of his deflected shots forced a smart tip over the bar from Arsenal keeper Mat Ryan.

Opposite shot-stopper Martin Dubravka was called into similar action when Granit Xhaka struck a left-footed shot from distance. The Magpies keeper met it with a one-handed save.

Arsenal were growing back into it after a period of Newcastle pressure. Another chance came when Martin Odegaard took a free kick from an inviting range, but struck it into the wall.

The Gunners were forced into a change early in the second half when David Luiz limped off. Calum Chambers came on for the Brazilian, who may be wondering if he will get to play again this season.

Arsenal double advantage after break

Midway through the second half, Ryan was kept alert as he came to claim a cross. Newcastle had not fashioned many chances but it was a reminder that they were still a threat.

But Arsenal went straight down the other end and doubled their lead. After some patient build-up play, Odegaard slid the ball to Gabriel Martinelli, who played a first time cross. Aubameyang glided through the air and connected with the inside of his foot to guide it home.

There was a quick VAR check, as Martinelli had looked to be offside. But the goal was allowed to stand, giving Newcastle plenty of work to do.

The wind wasn’t knocked out of their sails just yet and Jonjo Shelvey had a shot from outside the area blocked by Chambers.

Trying to reduce the deficit, Steve Bruce turned to his bench. In recent weeks, he would have brought Joe Willock on at this stage, but the Arsenal loanee was ineligible. Instead, he withdrew Ciaran Clark and sent on Dwight Gayle, adding an extra attacking body.

But their fading hopes of a comeback took another hit when Fabian Schar slid through the back of Martinelli with his studs showing. The defender, who had only come on with 20 minutes to go, was shown a straight red card.

It further dampened Newcastle’s spirits as Arsenal saw out the victory. The hosts should still be safe from relegation, but it was a disappointing day for them overall.

As for Arsenal, their confidence will have increased as they await the second leg of their Europa League semi-final against Villarreal.

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