Arsenal lost potentially fatal ground in the top four hunt as an own goal from Benjamin White and another from Bruno Guimaraes secured Newcastle a 2-0 win in the Premier League on Monday.
Mikel Arteta was sweating on the fitness of his first-choice central defensive pairing after Benjamin White missed the 3-0 defeat to Tottenham and Gabriel hobbled off late on.
Both were fit, and both started.
The other changes saw Takehiro Tomiyasu move to right-back, Nuno Tavares slot in at left-back, and Emile Smith Rowe replace Gabriel Martinelli in the forward line.
Arsenal player ratings vs Newcastle as Gunners’ top four ambitions suffer potentially fatal blow with 2-0 Premier League defeat
Arsenal were at sixes and sevens in the opening period with mistakes aplenty and careless giveaways out from the back. Aaron Ramsdale nearly got caught out by Callum Wilson when he dallied on the ball, with nerves noticeable across the whole team.
Tomiyasu was forced off with a hamstring injury, in a half that Newcastle utterly dominated. The Gunners couldn’t get any modicum of control on the match, with pass sequences barely surpassing three or four.
After the break there was hope for an improvement, only for Arsenal to once be the victims of their own downfall. This time White poked into his own net with Wilson lurking.
Arsenal didn’t look like scoring in a month of Sundays. Bruno Guimaraes’ goal to make it 2-0 was the least the Gunners deserved. Now hopes entirely rest on Norwich beating Tottenham.
So, yeah, that’s top four gone. Gutless showing.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – 4/10 – While the slipping wasn’t his fault, Ramsdale was anything other than a calming influence in goal. His kicking was way off in any case and he floundered in and out of possession, with every long kick coming straight back to him.
To his credit, he made three solid saves. Not enough, though.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB) – 3/10 – Saint-Maximin had the beating of Tomiyasu every single time, who did not look his usual robust and solid self. In the challenges he wasn’t as secure and this was a real test of his defensive credentials. Got run ragged until his withdrawal.
Benjamin White (CB) – 4/10 – Coming back from injury, this was a nervy performance from White. Too often he wanted to go long into Saka as opposed to playing through Newcastle’s press, and the ball kept coming back each and every time he did. The own goal soured a game where he did have some decent moments defensively.
Gabriel (CB) – 4/10 – Looked shaky, but who wasn’t? Almost as if he had his hamstring injury in the back of his mind. Showed his leadership with constant berating and communication with his teammates, yet still looked uncertain on the ball despite some big blocks.
Nuno Tavares (LB) – 4/10 – Worries were that he would be Arsenal’s big problem on the night and he wasn’t. Defended his side decent enough, not causing any usual chaos, and was subbed for Lacazette with half an hour to go. A foul throw though, really?
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