Partey raises hopes, as Auba brushes rust

All smiles. Best home win of the season, fifth clean sheet and a brace for Aubameyang and into the top half of the table.

And for those with long memories – ball over the line payback time.

Partey back was the main change for Arsenal – and he impressed with simple and effective distribution.

Newcastle had eight changes and a different shape (4-4-2) from the Bramhall Lane defeat in attempt to get more players into attacking areas.

Arsenal had not conceded in last four.

Arsenal started slowly, but gradually gained the upper hand during the first half.

Aubameyang went on a run but was shepherded out by Lascelles.

On 13 Lewis clocked Saka in the face. Cedric Soares’ free kick was headed wide.

Smith Rowe – who reminds me of Alex Cropley, some call him the Croydon Grealish or the Croydon De Bruyne, set up Saka who ran down the line and sent a low cross which found Aubameyang who slightly off balance contrived to hit the junction of bar and post.

Partey sent some good passes to the wings.

Almiron drove to the Arsenal area and got a return ball from Carroll but it went over.

Newcastle were defending doggedly. Krafth used his body well against Aubameyang to shield a shot.

Everything was too slow.

Aubameyang was getting chances but his form got the better of him. Partey set him up but he drove over. On 40 he drove forward and poked the ball goal-wards – but wide.

The Gabonsese twisted in the Newcastle area and his deflected shot was cleared by Darlow. From the corner Luiz had a free header but sent it wide – in keeping with Arsenal’s lack of accuracy.

Xhaka and Aubameyang stood off as a cross came in from the right leading to a Newcastle corner.

At the start of the second, Lacazette hit a low volley from a high ball and Darlow saved.

But soon after, Partey set Aubameyang free on the left who drove in, was one on one with Krafth and he took it left and fired home past Darlow for his second goal of the Premiership season from open play.

Wilson and Carroll linked up with the taller man firing a left foot shot wide.

Saka and Lacazette linked well with a shot from the Englishman which was blocked.

Smith Rowe on the left turned Lascelles inside out and glancing up found Saka unmarked in the area for his fourth of the season.

Lacazette was provided two chances. Tierney and Aubameyang set him up for a touch in but the final pass was too fast and Saka sent in a looping cross for the Frenchman – saved by Darlow.

Elneny came on Partey half-way through the second half. Murphy came on for Carroll to a 4-3-3.

Newcastle looked done for. It was down to Arsenal’s discipline – how many more goals could be scored.

The one chance that counted was when Saka sent Cedric to the byline and taking it near to the goal cut it back for an unmarked Aubameyang, to hit home for his 14th brace for Arsenal. He went off for Willian soon after.

The Brazilian had a chance from a central free kick to win over some fans – but he hit the wall.

Luiz had a chance from a Willian corner, much like the first half, but it hit his shoulder.

Smith Rowe said: “We are coming together as a team. Coming together as a group. We had some meetings off the pitch. The whole group is stronger, and it is showing on the pitch.

“I have been unfortunate with injuries. The manager has given me a chance.

“The loan spell s have been massive – they have developed me on and off the pitch and as a person.

“If I know what I’m going to do before I get the ball, I play one touch.”

Mikel Arteta said: “In the first half we took a while to break a structure. We had some big chances. The idea was to keep it simple and attack the box. We corrected a few things at halftime we could do better.

“In the first half we had two or three big chances.

“On Aubameyang, he said: “It is really good for his confidence.”

On the youngsters, he said: “Smith Rowe and Saka are developing really well. Everyone supports them. The boys with personalities do and staff as well. There is a mixture passion and immaturity – they are not as tense.

“I’m happy with Partey – he got better and better and gave us things different to other players.”

Steve Bruce said: “ In the first half we got into decent positions but didn’t take advantage. We’ve been caught high up the pitch. Two passes and they are in on goal. The confidence ebbs away. We are trying to get people up the pitch – and we are punished.

On the formation: “In the five games we’ve won we’ve played with two strikers.”

Arsenal: 1Leno, 17Cédric Soares, 16Holding,  23David Luiz, 3Tierney,  18Partey (Substituted for Elneny at 67), 34Xhaka, 7Saka,  32Smith Rowe (Substituted for Martinelli at 81), 14Aubameyang (Substituted forWillian at 79),  9Lacazette.

Newcastle: 26Darlow, 17Krafth, 6Lascelles, 2Clark, 15Lewis, 24Almirón (Substituted for Anderson at 87), 8Shelvey, 4 M Longstaff (Substituted for Hendrickat 78), 9Joelinton, 7Carroll (Substituted for Murphy at 69), 13Wilson