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Shkodran Mustafi, Petr Cech culpable again as Arsenal's road woes continue

Arsenal's away day woes continued as they let slip a lead to go down 2-1 to Newcastle. The Gunners have yet to win a single point on the road in 2018 and despite taking an early lead through Alexandre Lacazette, their defensive weaknesses shone through to let the home side grab all three points.

For the first, Shkodran Mustafi once again allowed a striker to get in front of him to finish, just as he did last week against Southampton. Petr Cech won't have been pleased to be beaten at his near post either.

The second goal was like a comedy of errors, a poor Mustafi header, an even poorer one from Nacho Monreal, with the German stood watching as substitute Islam Slimani headed the ball into the danger area and Newcastle's Matt Ritchie took advantage of a ridiculous overload to score the winner.

Arsene Wenger's decision to use one of Europe's most potent strikers on the wing was, despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's assist for Alexandre Lacazette, not a great one as the former Dortmund man struggled. This is not his game, and it hindered the team and blunted his goalscoring talents.

But once more Arsenal let a winning position slip, and once more they've been deservedly beaten away from home.


The goal was nice, and it was good to see youngster Joe Willock handed a Premier League debut in midfield. The 18-year-old did well in general, and it's good to see young talent being given a chance.


The defensive ineptitude is an ongoing problem, and not one that Wenger seems in any way minded to fix. He can't legislate for players making individual mistakes, but he continues to pick the players who make them. Their poor performances have no negative consequences for them as individuals, but they're hurting the team.

Manager rating out of 10

4 -- Another bad day for Wenger. His team selection wasn't great, his substitutions were worse -- Arsenal ended up with four strikers on the pitch and nobody to create anything for them. 

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Petr Cech, 5 -- Time waits for no man and it's definitely catching up with the 35-year-old. No 'keeper likes to be beaten at their near post, and he'll have regrets over Newcastle's first.

DF Calum Chambers, 5 -- He was almost the most dangerous attacking player at times in the first half, but full-back really isn't his best position and he seemed to run out of steam.

DF Shkodran Mustafi, 4 -- He is costing his team goals at the moment. For an experienced player, his decision making is terrible, and he was found wanting for both Newcastle goals. He did play a lovely pass to help create the Arsenal goal but his defending is awful at the moment.

DF Rob Holding, 6 -- He was generally OK, but was a little careless with the ball at times.

DF Nacho Monreal, 5 -- It was a poor header in the build-up to the second goal but the way Arsenal's defence was exposed in that moment speaks to bigger issues. They lack structure and organisation, and that's on Wenger.

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reacts to Matt Ritchie's winning goal for Newcastle
It was another frustrating away day for Arsenal and their supporters, as the Gunners fell to Newcastle 2-1.

MF Mohamed Elneny, 6 -- Tidy if unspectacular, the Egyptian found the second half a bit gruelling after playing 90 minutes in Moscow on Thursday.

MF Granit Xhaka, 6 -- Passed it well, but too often left with no options, it was a hallmark of the game, and he wasn't the only one to suffer.

MF Alex Iwobi, 6 -- Looked the most creative player on the day, showing good strength and skill at times, but the lack of movement ahead of him didn't help.

MF Joe Willock, 6 -- He can be pleased with his Premier League debut and he'll have learned a lot about the pace of the game, and how you need to make decisions more quickly at this level.

MF Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 6 -- Got an assist but one of the best penalty box strikers in Europe is wasted when played out to the left. If Wenger thinks this is the best way to use him then it's a worrying development.

FW Alexandre Lacazette, 6 -- Took his goal very well, but could have been a bit more selfish a couple of times when he had a sight of goal and chose to pass.


MF Danny Welbeck, 5 -- Had no real impact at all when he came on.

DF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, N/R -- Replaced the tiring Chambers at right-back.

FW Eddie Nketiah, N/R -- The young striker was sent on in the vague hope he could repeat his Carabao Cup heroics against Norwich, but had barely any time to get into the game.

Andrew Mangan is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @arseblog.


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