Newcastle: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired Arsenal to a 1-0 win at Newcastle in their Premier League opener on Sunday, providing hope of an improved run this season for Unai Emery’s side.
The Gunners finished last season in turmoil after blowing their bid for a top-four place with a disastrous spell in the final weeks.
Adding to Emery’s woes, Arsenal were crushed by Chelsea in the Europa League final to shatter their dreams of Champions League qualification.
But Arsenal have enjoyed a profitable close-season, with a host of new signings raising morale around the Emirates Stadium.
And Aubameyang gave Arsenal fans renewed belief they can get back in the top four this term with a typically predatory second-half finish to give the north Londoners a winning start.
Arsenal had a wretched away record last season, keeping just one clean sheet on their travels, so taking three points without conceding was the perfect way to turn over a new leaf.
Their often-criticised defence held firm, with centre-backs Calum Chambers and Sokratis keeping Newcastle at bay.
Aubameyang’s strike ruined Newcastle manager Steve Bruce’s first match in charge of the club he supported as a boy. Bruce left second-tier Sheffield Wednesday to join Newcastle in the close-season following the departure of fan favourite Rafael Benitez, who had grown tired of a lack of backing from controversial owner Mike Ashley.
There were starts for 19-year-old academy graduates Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock, but Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac were absent after two men were arrested following a fresh incident after the pair were the victims of an attempted carjacking in July.
Joelinton made his first Newcastle start after his club-record 40 million pounds switch from Hoffenheim and the Brazilian striker needed to impress to lift the gloomy mood on a rainy day in the north-east.
He had his first sights of goal when he flicked a header just wide from Matt Ritchie’s cross and then blasted straight at Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno.
Jonjo Shelvey went even closer for Newcastle as the midfielder hit the outside of a post with a stinging strike.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan squandered a golden chance to give Arsenal the lead, the unmarked midfielder firing wildly over the bar from 10 yards.
After a quiet start, Arsenal star Aubameyang, the joint top-scorer in the Premier League last season, sprang to life when he tested Martin Dubravka with a powerful strike after superbly controlling Mkhitaryan’s long pass.
It was a warning that Newcastle failed to heed as Aubameyang put Arsenal ahead in the 58th minute.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the provider, making a timely interception of Paul Dummett’s under-hit pass to Jetro Willems and surging away from inside his own half.
Unfurling a pinpoint pass that curled over the back-tracking Newcastle defence, Maitland-Niles found Aubameyang in space and the Gabon striker took a touch before clipping his cool finish past Dubravka.
Wolverhampton Wanderers had a goal by Leander Dendoncker ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in an entertaining 0-0 draw against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
Wolves thought they had scored six minutes into the second half when Dendoncker blasted in from close range but VAR deemed that the midfielder had headed the ball onto team mate Willy Boly’s arm off a corner before taking the shot.
Manchester United sign Monaco teenager Mejbri
Manchester United have won the race to sign Monaco’s highly rated teenager Hannibal Mejbri, the Premier League club announced.
Mejbri’s future has been a hot topic since United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Lyon were reported to be competing for the 16-year-old’s signature.
United revealed they had “reached an agreement with Monaco for Hannibal Mejbri to join the club subject to FIFA approval”.
Reports claim the deal is worth up to £9.3 million (Dh41 million or $11.1 million), with the Ligue 1 club receiving half up front and the rest in potential add-ons.
France youth international Mejbri will complete the switch to United when he turns 17 in January.
Leicester City 0 Wolves 0
Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1
Manchester United vs Chelsea