Arsenal secured a 2-0 extra-time win over Newcastle in the FA Cup third round.
Arsenal opened their FA Cup campaign with a home game to Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United and really struggled to break down such a resilient defence. Many thought Mikel Arteta might opt for a partially rotated squad given the upcoming match to Crystal Palace on Thursday, however that was not the case.
The strong set of starters were without a doubt the better side throughout the first half, but despite that, no real chances were made in the first 45. The likes of Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson looked dangerous at times, threatening with pace, however the final ball was severely off. Kieran Tierney was the only attacking outlet that had any joy in the first half – he burst forward with his typical, tenacious intent and appeared the most likely player to break Bruce’s low block.
The back four and Bernd Leno were almost completely untroubled throughout the entirety of the first segment. That changed in the second portion of the match, though.
The second half was just as cagey but Newcastle started to create chances and Andy Carroll missed an absolute sitter in the 56th minute. The Gunners struggled to break down the Toons’ stubborn blockade and Arteta had to look towards his ever-willing and promising youth in hopes of breaking the opposition down.
In regular time the ankle biters and side as a whole were unable to break them down so extra-time came and then Emile Smith Rowe dramatically scored. Aubameyang also scored in the second period of ET to seal the victory.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Bernd Leno (GK) – 7/10 – After a completely untroubled first half, he was also mostly unfazed in the second. In the dying moments of the match he made a world class save that kept Arteta’s men in the competition though.
Cedric (RB) – 5/10 – Cedric was pretty heavily involved in the first half but then was pretty anonymous in the second and extra time. He was rarely troubled but at times he was beaten for pace.
David Luiz (CB) – 7/10 – The 33-year-old lead by example and vocally as well. Apart from Tierney he was the most ambitious player in the back line and was always willing to give the long-pass over the top a go. The veteran did very well dealing with the ever-tricky task of Andy Carroll.
Pablo Mari (CB) – 6/10 – At times the big man’s clunky manner put him into danger. That said, the majority of his passes were on the mark and his preference of the short pass complemented Luiz’s long-ball predilection well. His positioning made up for his lack of pace once again.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – 8/10 – The former Celtic man was the best player in the first half and also very good in the second. He showed his qualities going forward and tracked back to help the defense exquisitely as well throughout.
In the second half the team constantly looked for him in hopes of the former Celtic man creating some magic. Eventually, Tierney assisted the second goal of the match in extra time, brilliantly finding Aubameyang.