Arsene Wenger’s side faced off against Newcaslte United at the Emirates on Saturday, in their first match of 2016 after being on top of the Premier League at the end of the previous year. The Gunners were looking to extend their lead on top of the points table, with Leicester City dropping points after a goalless draw against Bournemouth.

The game did not produce any goals in the first period, though there were chances for either side which they should have taken. Opportunities were wasted as the two sides went into the break after a goalless half.

The Gunners wanted to retain their top spot and looked to push for a goal, to secure all three points on the night at home. The second half started with more positive intent shown by both sides, with the hosts taking the lead in the 72nd minute.

Center-back Laurent Koscielny gave the north London side the lead, as he scored from a well taken volley. Keeper Petr Cech also made a few good saves to keep the opposition out and the game ended at 1-0, with Arsenal securing a narrow win.

Here are how the players performed for Arsene Wenger’s side on the night:

Player Ratings:

Petr Cech: 4/5

Made a few good saves in the match to keep his side in the lead, as he maintained yet another clean sheet on the night.

Nacho Monreal: 3/5

Did a good job as he prevented Newcastle from really attacking too much from his side in the game.

Laurent Koscielny: 3.5/5

Though he was not the strongest at the back and was troubled by the opposition players at times, the center-back scored
the only goal of the game which won his side the match.

Per Mertesacker: 3/5

Newcastle were really quick with their offensive play, though the tall German did really well to defend as well.

Hector Bellerin: 3/5

Not settled well in the game as his speed was never really a threat and he had to work really hard right through the game.

Aaron Ramsey: 3/5

Not always the most influential player when it came to attacking the opposition, as he had to fulfill his defensive duties and 
track back with the opposition on the front foot.

Mathieu Flamini: 3/5

Had a tough testing night and Newcastle’s inability to finish off their chances and Petr Cech’s keeping saved the Gunners.

Mesut Ozil: 3/5

Not really influential in the game, though he did show some signs of creativity in the game at times.

Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain: 3/5

Started his new year with a rather ineffective performance, as he tried to attack but chances were rather wasted.

Theo Walcott: 3/5

Looked quite weak on the night as the opposition defence rather dominated that battle and kept him quiet.

Olivier Giroud: 3/5

Looked stranded alone for most of the game, as Newcastle defended well against the offensive threat of the home side.

Substitutes:

Calum Chambers: 2.5/5

Came on late to put in a decent performance and hold on to the win.

Joel Campbell: 3/5

Added some much needed pace and energy to the Arsenal attack after coming on into the game in the second half.

Kieran Gibbs: 2.5/5

Reinforced the defensive line with his introduction on the left to hold out the opposition attacks.

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