The victory over Newcastle was exactly what the doctor ordered. After the Anfield humbling it was essential that Arsenal got back to winning ways in comfortable style.
A 2-0 scoreline may seem a touch uninspiring when taken at face value, especially when factoring in how dreadful the Magpies are, but in terms of domination and chance creation, two goals and a clean sheet did the job.
Acting as the starter for a mouthwatering main course at Old Trafford, the only major drawback for Arsenal from the win was the injury sustained to Bukayo Saka.
Scoring the crucial opening goal in delightful fashion as he played a clever triangle with Emile Smith Rowe and Nuno Tavares on the left before firing low beyond Martin Dubravka after the left-back’s neat assist, he didn’t last much longer.
Arsenal reveal huge Bukayo Saka injury update ahead of Premier League clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford
Seen holding his hip region just minutes later, Saka was eventually replaced by Gabriel Martinelli, who made his own introduction count with a sumptuous volley to wrap the points up less than two minutes after coming on.
While the impression the Brazilian made after taking the star boy’s place on the right side, as the Manchester United showdown awaits, it was all eyes on having 2020/21’s Player of the Season back and fit.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday’s Premier League match, Mikel Arteta provided a huge update.
“Granit and Kolasinac are not ready, we have a doubt with Bukayo and another few knocks,” he said. “I am hopeful on Bukayo, let’s see how it is today in training.”
You never know with Arteta but him being hopeful is cause to…well, be hopeful.
Being seen walking around the pitch relatively comfortably after the 2-0 win, all fingers and toes will be crossed that he gets through Wednesday’s training well enough to be passed fit for the evening clash. His presence will be sorely needed, even if Martinelli is chomping at the bit to come on in his stead.
So too will be Nicolas Pepe, although Arteta’s decision to bring the Brazilian on instead strongly hints who is trusts more and who is performing well in training.