Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil Score in Arsenal's 2-1 EPL Win over Newcastle

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2018

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15:  Granit Xhaka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1 during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal FC at St. James Park on September 15, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal stretched their Premier League win streak to three matches on Saturday after beating Newcastle United 2-1 at St James' Park. Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil got the goals for the visitors. 

The Magpies frustrated the Gunners before half-time, but Unai Emery's men switched gears after the break to secure the win. Xhaka opened the scoring after 49 minutes, and less than 10 minutes later, Ozil doubled the tally. Ciaran Clark pulled one back late, but time ran out for the hosts.

The result leaves Newcastle 18th on just a single point, while the Gunners have climbed to seventh in the standings after a poor start to the season.

Here are the key takeaways from Saturday's contest.

   

Emery Needs to End Ozil Winger Experiment

Ozil may have scored the second goal on Saturday to secure the win, but his first-half performance in combination with the struggles of Hector Bellerin and Aaron Ramsey showed once again why the German has to switch positions.

Emery has tried him on the left wing, where his lack of defensive ability puts far too much pressure on Bellerin.

The Spaniard also isn't an elite or willing defender, resulting in plenty of space for the hosts:

Ramsey also struggled in a central role, making the solution to these issues as clear as day: simply switch the Welshman with Ozil. The latter has always been at his best as a primary playmaker in the centre, and Ramsey has the range and stamina to play in front of Bellerin and take on full-backs.

By removing some of his defensive duties, Emery would give Ozil more chances to use his tremendous vision and passing range, and that could only aid in attack. It's a switch the tactician has to make, and he should waste no time doing so.

   

The Leno Era Needs to Start Against Vorskla

Petr Cech is a veteran of many matches who has made some key saves already this year, but his passing issues persisted against the Magpies. It's something that has held the Gunners back so far, and an area where summer signing Bernd Leno could provide the solution.

The German has patiently waited for his chance, and it should come in midweek. Vorskla are not expected to put up much of a fight in the Europa League, giving the Gunners the perfect excuse to rotate and put Leno between the sticks.

Club legend David Seaman believes the former Leverkusen man will have to wait a little longer:

Thursday's match would be the perfect excuse, however, and Emery has to go with the German.

It doesn't have to be a permanent switch, although there's a good chance the 26-year-old won't give up his spot once he gets his chance.

   

Torreira Has Earned a Starting Position

Like Leno, Lucas Torreira should be given more chances to start.

The former Sampdoria man replaced Matteo Guendouzi at half-time on Saturday, and there were more than a few who questioned the decision, as the Frenchman had barely made a mistake:

But it was no coincidence Xhaka bagged the equaliser shortly after, with Torreira making up for his defensive shortcomings and allowing the Swiss to contribute further up the pitch. It was Torreira who created the free-kick with a dangerous pass to begin with.

The 22-year-old appears to be the perfect partner for Xhaka, and while Guendouzi is a special talent, it's too early for him to be playing every week. Emery needs to let the youngster progress at his own pace, and in the meantime, Torreira deserves to start.

      

What's Next?

Arsenal host Vorskla in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, and Newcastle will travel to Crystal Palace in the Premier League next Saturday.   

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