Arsenal ace and last season’s golden boat co-winner, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has helped his side secure a starting points after breaking a slack Newcastle defending to give gunners victory at St James’ Park.
Beginning with many of their £125m worth of bench signings and without midfielders Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac, boss Unai Emery watched his team fight in the first half to cut through their rivals.
That everything altered just before the mark of the hour when Aubameyang was left unmarked on the brink of the region, gathered the cross of Ainsley Maitland-Niles from the right and shot past Martin Dubravka to ensure his side bags all three starting points .
Emery handed out £72 m of club record signing debuts from Nicolas Pepe and midfielder Dani Ceballos, but they didn’t make a big impression.
As for Steve Bruce, his Newcastle managerial debut was about what could have been.
The Magpies’ record signing Joelinton went close with a shot blocked by Bernd Leno, before Jonjo Shelvey saw his drive crash off the woodwork.
The home side were flat for much of the second half, although another new recruit, the exciting wing prospect Allan Saint-Maximin, tested German Leno with a near-post drive.
Unai Emery went through a range of emotions in his dugout area during the first period, ranging from anguish to anger.
His somewhat makeshift Arsenal starting XI, without the experienced Ozil and Kolasinac, struggled with both the conditions and the five-man Newcastle midfield.
They only opened up the Magpies’ defence twice in that opening period, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan firing wildly over before Aubameyang struck a firm drive at Dubravka.
Both sides had pacy frontmen, but only one was proven at this level. And when Aubameyang, who scored 22 Premier League goals last season, was given a second chance at goal he took it brilliantly.
The Gabon international was inexplicably given a free run into the area as Jamaal Lascelles went AWOL, and slotted in Maitland-Niles’ delivery from the right.
Ivorian winger Pepe and Ceballos were given a run-out but made little impact, although had Maitland-Niles’ cross reached the record signing in the area late on, then we might have seen a goal on his debut.
No doubt we will see why Arsenal paid £72m to Lille for him in the coming weeks.