Emery and Benitez react as Ozil and Xhaka stun Arsenal in 2-1 Newcastle win
Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil stunned fans by scoring the goals which gave Arsenal a 2-1 victory over Newcastle at the weekend to make it three wins on the spot.
After a lacklustre first-half at St James’ Park, Granit Xhaka’s stunning free-kick broke the deadlock before Mesut Ozil doubled his side’s advantage on his 200th appearance for the club.
The performance of both players had come as a real shock to Arsenal fans, as both have been worse than poor this season for Emery and have had critics once again claiming they should both be dropped from the side.
However, they stepped up when Emery needed them the most and the Gunners are starting to look like a side that are very capable of challenging for the Champions League spots come the end of the season.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery said on the BBC website: “We are improving. We need to continue working individually and collectively to improve more things. In the first half we didn’t control like we wanted but the second half we were better and the victory is just.
“We need to improve and score more individually. We need to work, every player – not only the attacking players but the midfielders and centre-backs from set-pieces.
“For me I see the players are the same, each has quality. His [Ozil’s] quality helps the team. It is important he scored. I want not only for him to assist, we need him to go in the box and score like today. I will work with every player and continue our process to create the team as we want.”
Benitez’s approach had been questioned earlier in the season but against Arsenal, Newcastle started on the front foot and the Spaniard will be disappointed to walk away from this game with nothing to show for it.
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez: “We did really well in the first half. The feeling was we could get something, then we conceded an early goal – two moments of quality and it is difficult for us. The first half was better, we were creating and pushing but you have to take your chances.
“That’s what happens when you have quality like they do, it is difficult for anyone. To react against a good team, you have to attack and push higher and you are more exposed. It is a pity, still we are scoring and having chances.
“We knew it could be like that, it is tough. Where we are, we have to keep the belief the same way we did last season.”