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Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal: match report

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Arsenal took all three points with an extremely average performance.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Mitrovic Red Card 16'
1-0 Coloccini OG 52'

A win is a win, or so they say, and Arsenal went to St. James Park and did the bare minimum required to get three points, and Newcastle, down to ten men after Aleksandr Mitrovic's red card in the 16th minute, barely threatened Petr Cech in goal. But Arsenal's performance was average to the extreme, and does little to allay fears after a so-so beginning to the Premier League campaign.

Arsenal made three changes from Monday night: Mesut Özil missed out with a minor knee injury, and was replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Laurent Koscielny returned to the side in place of Calum Chambers and Theo Walcott started at centre forward. Arsenal started brightly and should've had a penalty early on when Hector Bellerin was trod on by Florian Thauvin. Andre Marriner was in a poor position, however, and gave a goal kick.

Moments later, Newcastle went down to ten. Mitrovic went over the top while challenging for a ball with Coquelin, and the Newcastle striker was shown a straight red card by a referee who showed little tolerance for the usual cynical and overly physical play that Arsenal face, with Newcastle getting seven yellow cards in addition to the red card.

With Newcastle down to ten, it looked as if Arsenal would have a field day, but instead, they only frustrated. Theo Walcott should've put Arsenal ahead when Alexis' strike was parried by Tim Krul, but he shinned it over the crossbar. And without Mesut Özil, Arsenal showed little ability to create, and without Giroud, against a deep block, playing crosses was effectively useless. Santi Cazorla had a poor game, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was very ineffective, and there was little fluency. Come back soon, Mesut.

Arsenal's goal had a strong element of fortune. Alexis' shot was blocked, the follow up from the edge of the box from Ramsey was saved by Krul, and the rebound fell to Oxlade-Chamberlain who drove the ball across the box, with the ball flicking into goal off of Coloccini. That would be enough for Arsenal, who created few chances to add to the lead, though Alexis had a decent effort saved and Giroud missed a sitter. Mikel Arteta came on with ten minutes to play, and his passing and control helped Arsenal comfortably see out the game, with Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny alive to any danger. Three points, but a fourth average performance in a row; the front six for Arsenal, particularly the midfield, isn't really doing it at the moment.