Arsenal’s young stars rewarded ‘real trust’, says Mikel Arteta

Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli scored in a 2-0 win over Newcastle.

Nick Purewal
Saturday 27 November 2021 15:51
Mikel Arteta was delighted after his team rewarded his trust (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Mikel Arteta was delighted after his team rewarded his trust (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal’s young Gunners for repaying his “real trust” to hit back from their Liverpool humbling and sink Newcastle 2-0.

Bukayo Saka netted the opener only to hobble out with a thigh problem, before his replacement Gabriel Martinelli delivered a sumptuous second.

Arsenal were hammered 4-0 by Liverpool at Anfield last weekend, leading to a difficult week’s training for the Gunners’ fast-developing talents.

Newcastle offered organised resistance for the first half but once Arsenal exploited the inside forward channels, the home side swept to victory as stylish as it was simple.

“The second half we had to be patient not to lose structure in our play,” said Arsenal boss Arteta.

“But we needed to threaten much more in certain spaces and we did.

“You have to try to give the players confidence after difficult moments – if not, it’s not real trust.

“I thought they deserved another chance and they’ve done it today.

“They showed in the week how much they were hurting after that defeat and how much they wanted to put it right today.”

Emile Smith Rowe could have put Arsenal ahead early in the clash only to head straight at Martin Dubravka.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had no excuses for missing the rebound however, tapping against the outside of the post from point-blank range when it appeared easier to score.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang misses a glorious first-half chance (John Walton/PA)

Arsenal targeted the channels after the break, rightly identifying points of weakness in the Newcastle system.

And the ruse twice paid full dividend, leaving boss Arteta impressed with his side’s fortitude.

“The finish and the combination from Bukayo and the composure to place the ball in the right area was excellent,” said Arteta.

“And Gabby’s great movement, run, the ball as well, the technique to keep the ball down and have that quality to finish, it’s impressive.”

With Saka’s injury concern the only blot on an otherwise positive day, Arteta added: “He said he felt something and he wasn’t comfortable to continue.

“We’ll have to assess him tomorrow and scan him to see if there’s an injury.

“He felt something muscular so let’s see.”

Eddie Howe insisted his Newcastle side deserved a penalty when Callum Wilson went down in the Arsenal box in the second half.

The officials both live and in review dismissed the incident, but Howe was adamant Wilson would not have turned down a chance to shoot on goal.

Asked if decisions generally went against his side, Howe said: “I’d say that’s a fair assessment, but it’s just my gut feeling.

“I’m not seeking any controversy here, but the 50-50 calls tended to go against us.

“Against top clubs, away from home, that can happen.

“When Callum gets goal-side of the defender in on goal, I don’t think he’s going to go down in that situation unless he’s fouled.

“The key moment came with that one-on-one.”

Newcastle have now leaked 29 goals in 13 Premier League matches, remaining both winless and rooted to the foot of the table.

Howe still believes he can turn the situation on its head however, having just taken the St James’ Park helm.

“When you’re lacking in confidence you’ll naturally attract criticism, and we’ll have to take that and be broad-shouldered,” he said.

“But if we stay committed like we were today, then we will have a chance.

“We can only do our talking on the pitch and try to fight back.”

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