Aubameyang strike edges Arsenal past Newcastle

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Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second-half strike edged his side to a 1-0 victory over Newcastle in their Premier League season opener at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Arsenal dominated possession in a goalless first half, and midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan should have scored on 19 minutes, blazing his shot over the bar when the ball landed at his feet from a deflected pull back from left-back Nacho Monreal.

Newcastle’s new record signing Joelinton, making his Premier League debut, went close on 25 minutes after meandering through a crowd of Arsenal players before firing straight at goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Last season’s joint Premier League top goalscorer Aubameyang broke the deadlock on 58 minutes, taking down a cross from Ainsley Maitland-Niles before chipping the ball over Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

“We fought today a lot. It was a great game against a good team,” Aubameyang said. “It was important to start with a win, last season we started bad, so we are happy.”6

The Gabon international has now scored 33 goals in 50 Premier League appearances since joining Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in February 2018, with only Liverpool’s Mo Salah having scored more league goals in that period.

Arsenal’s club-record signing Nicolas Pepe, who joined from Lille for £72 million in July, came off the bench in the 71st minute. New arrival Dani Ceballos also made his Premier League debut after he was substituted on for Joseph Willock on 64 minutes.

The Gunners had to wait until April to keep their first away clean sheet in the Premier League last season, but looked solid as they opened their campaign in far better fashion than a year ago when consecutive defeats marked the start of Emery’s tenure following the end of the Arsene Wenger era.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce took charge of his first Premier League game for his hometown club after he replaced former manager Rafa Benitez in July.

Arsenal midfielders Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac, who escaped unhurt after an attempted carjacking last month, were not included in the matchday squad due to “further security incidents,” the club said on Friday.