LONDON: Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finally ended his scoring drought in the Premier League with two second-half goals in a 3-0 win against Newcastle United on Monday as the Gunners try to claw their way out of mid-table.

After a dreadful start to the season, Mikel Arteta’s side are now up to 10th place on 27 points, within seven points of the top four, and they never looked in danger against a Newcastle side that looks demoralised and are a ninth game without a win in all competitions.

Aubameyang struck the post in the first half and Alexandre Lacazette forced a good save out of the Newcastle keeper just after the interval.

But Aubameyang finally fired the Gunners ahead in the 50th minute, finishing off a counter-attack, running at the Newcastle defence and then blasting home a powerful left-foot drive at the near post.

Ten minutes later Bukayo Saka made it 2-0 with a confident slot home after good work down the left flank from impressive youngster Emile Smith Rowe, who jinked his way around the back of the Newcastle defence before delivering a pinpoint pass.

Aubameyang completed the comfortable victory after Cedric Soares got to the byline and pulled the ball back into his path.

VAR examined whether the ball had crossed the line before Cedric’s pass but allowed the goal to stand.

“We’re all coming together as a group,” attacking midfielder Smith Rowe said. “We’ve had some meetings off the pitch. The whole group is so much stronger and it showed on the pitch.”

Newcastle remained in 15th place, only seven points from the relegation zone.

“There’s no denying that confidence is low,” manager Steve Bruce said. “We have to keep plugging away at it.”

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2021

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