Arsenal managed a win over Newcastle in the FA Cup deep into extra-time after a dire affair at the Emirates. Mikel Arteta made a number of changes but still fielding a strong XI including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Willian, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney.
Emile Smith Rowe opened the scoring with an outstanding finish from a tough angle following a Ciaran Clark mishap in the second-half of extra-time.
Aubameyang made sure of the result with a tap-in but it was all about Kieran Tierney, who put it on a plate for the Arsenal captain with a brilliant run and cross.
The youngster was sent off by referee Chris Kavanagh on the stroke of full-time but VAR saw the decision overturned but the match was not a classic by any means.
Arsenal’s attack was largely disjointed and lacking any shape or system, with Aubameyang, Pepe and Reiss Nelson all guilty – despite the former’s goal.
But none were worse than Willian, who failed to get anything right except a series of sideways passes.
He was hauled off in the second-half for Bukayo Saka, who must now be first-choice at the Emirates over his more experienced teammate.
A largely uneventful first-half coasted by with Aubameyang having the best opportunity of the 45 minutes.
The Gabon international was sent through on goal and thundered a shot that Martin Dubravka got a good hand to, though the deflection dropped to Willian.
However, the Brazilian’s subsequent effort was not good enough – nearly booting the ball out of the Emirates ground.
Andy Carroll had a brilliant chance after the break to net the opener after the ball was fizzed in by Jeff Hendrick.
The giant frontman stuck a leg out but went wide with Bernd Leno beaten all ends up, and while he was flagged offside TV replays showed he was on – meaning the goal would have stood.
Not long after the match dragged into extra time, Granit Xhaka was nearly the super sub after a fantastic volley that was met by Dubravka with an equally as good save.
Arsenal player ratings
Leno – 6
Largely had nothing to do throughout the match until right at the end of the 90 minutes when he made a fantastic save against Carroll.
Cedric – 4
Third-choice at Arsenal and easy to see why, poor going forward and picked up a booking in the first-half.
Luiz – 8
A real performance from David Luiz, who battled with Carroll throughout the evening, and his balls forward were always positive.
Mari – 7
It is easy to see why Pablo Mari is rated by Arteta, he works hard at the back and is comfortable on the ball.
Tierney – 8
Arsenal’s best player by a mile, his drive and determination serves as a reminder to his teammates how they should play for the Gunners, and fully deserved his late assist.
Elneny – 6
Never one to take risks, kept everything simple with his passing. But his lack of vision hurt Arsenal going forward.
Willock – 3
Passes too short, not enough invention going forward and never seemed to click with his teammates. A real mess of a performance.
Pepe – 5
This was another chance Pepe blew if he wanted to make a name for himself at the Emirates, though he grew more into the match as it went into extra-time.
Willian – 3
Every match the Brazilian plays makes the decision to sign him look more baffling. For such an experienced player, he looks clueless going forward.
Nelson – 4
A late inclusion after the injury to Gabriel Martinelli, Nelson just could not get going against Newcastle.
Aubameyang – 6
Had a couple of decent chances to get on the scoresheet but failed to take them, earlier in the match and got his goal in the end from a fine cross from Tierney.
Subs: Smith Rowe (7), Saka (6), Xhaka (6), Lacazette (6).