Xhaka’s stunning strike turns the tide for Arsenal
Midway through an initially awkward afternoon, Unai Emery was quite possibly bracing himself for the sort of uncomfortable post- match scrutiny with which Arsène Wenger eventually became so wearily familiar .
Emery’s Arsenal ended the fi rst half seemingly barely able to string two passes together and apparently struggling to embrace their new philosophy of advancing with intricacy right from the very back.
With Newcastle pressing their guests into fl ustered submission, Rafael Benítez was winning his battle of wits with Wenger’s successor. Yet as good as Benítez’s tactical plan appeared, he lacked a striker suffi ciently predatory to polish off Matt Ritchie’s stellar crosses and Jonjo Shelvey was only fi t enough for the bench.
The scene was consequently set for Granit Xhaka to secure an ultimately restorative win by reminding everyone that a moment’s inspiration is sometimes all it takes to undo any amount of
Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka tries in vain to reach the curling free- kick of Granit Xhaka ( below) )