Defending FA Cup champions, Arsenal started their quest to retain their title with a third-round encounter against Newcastle United. The Gunners, who have come into a bit of form recently, began the road to title number 15 with a hard-fought 2-0 win over the Magpies.
However, Arsenal needed to wait till extra time to score their first of the game when Emile Smith-Rowe would burst into the box in the 109th minute.
Arsenal then put the game beyond doubt when Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang tapped in from close range with three minutes to go. The win sees the Cup holders cruise into the fourth round.
On that note, here are five talking points from Arsenal’s 2-0 extra-time win over Newcastle United.
#5 Nicolas Pepe blows hot and cold for Arsenal
In recent weeks, Nicolas Pepe has found himself getting minimal minutes on the pitch for Arsenal.
Bukayo Saka has displaced him at RW, with the youngster showcasing everything Mikel Arteta wants in a winger. Pepe, on the other hand, has repeatedly put in lukewarm performances consisting of wayward shots and too many ball turnovers.
However, with only his fifth domestic start of the season, the 25-year-old blew hot and cold. Pepe completed 42 passes and four dribbles, while he produced two key passes and lost the ball 18 times in 105 minutes on the pitch. Will we ever see why Arsenal paid £72million for Pepe?
#4 Andy Carroll rolls back the years
It’s incredible to think that Andy Carroll has been playing at the top level for over 15 years.
The target man has made 288 appearances across his career, and against Arsenal, he showed why Newcastle decided to bring him back at the age of 32.
Not only was he a menace in the air offensively, but he was also a rock at the back for Newcastle at every set piece. Add to that his sublime linkup play and ability to bring others into the game, Carrol turned in an impressive performance against Arsenal.
Out of 19 aerial duels against the Gunners, Carroll won an impressive 14 which encouraged his teammates to continually launch the ball upfield. On another day, Andy Carroll would have bagged a brace, but he didn’t because of the brilliance of Bernd Leno.
Published 10 Jan 2021, 03:27 IST