The only people looking forward to this one were some Geordies hoping to finally take some points from Arsenal and Joe Willock making his debut. My mate, Nick had a tenner on 2-1 so at least some good came of it.
A beautiful sunny scene at St James’ was brightened further by an excellent volleyed goal from Laca with the assist coming from our new Gabonese left winger.
Then came the inevitable. Mustafi should have been trying to block Perez’ near post effort by getting his whole body in the way between ball and goal, not poking a hopeful foot out. Cech would have only saved it if it had hit him.
Unfortunately our best chances during the first half fell to Calum Chambers.
Nothing happened worthy of note except for the usual déjà-vu.
Cech – Beaten by two good finishes … 6
Chambers – Hector had a prior engagement at Brent Cross, so we were left with more proof that Calum isn’t really a full back (p.s. he ain’t no striker either) … 5
Mustafi – without Kos there to mop up, Shkodran looked a little limited. Beautiful pass to Auba for the goal …6
Holding – Tried as hard as anyone else … 6
Monreal – Missed Mesut and Rambo when looking for a pass … 6
Elneny – Couldn’t recreate the heights of Moscow in a team lacking movement and creativity … 6
Xhaka – Should have stayed in bed with the flu … 6
Willock – Didn’t look out of place, comfortable on the ball (as you always expect from an Academy player). Unfortunately got in the way of a pass to Auba in our best first half breakaway … 6
Iwobi – Best of a poor bunch, enjoying his freer role and taking some responsibilty … 7
Aubameyang – Looked to have initiated a perfect partnership with his striking buddy early on with a beautiful left footed assist, but sank into relative anonymity – 6
Lacazette – Cracking finish for his goal, but ultimately drifted off to sleep like the rest of us – 6