Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1: Emery gamble to bench Arsenal’s summer signings against Newcastle paid off and showed Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock could be surprise stars this season

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SO Unai Emery’s opening-day gamble paid off.

Arsenal fans were questioning their manager’s thinking when he did not name a single summer signing in his side for their visit to Newcastle.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery gambled by leaving the new signings on the bench – and it paid off, just
PA:Empics Sport

But boss Emery’s decision to give his new boys another week to get up to speed looks a good one now, as the Gunners took three points back from St James’ Park.

The Spaniard spent almost £140million on six new players in the transfer window, giving Gooners hope of a return to the top four this term.

But Emery named four of those signings – Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos, David Luiz and Gabriel Martinelli – on the bench at Newcastle.

It meant Reiss Nelson, back from his loan at Hoffenheim, was the only starter who was not at the club last season.

And after a goalless and disappointing first half, supporters would have been crying out for one of the new arrivals to make their bow.

SIGNINGS NEED MORE TIME

But after 58 minutes, last season’s joint winner of the Golden Boot, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, put Arsenal ahead.

And Emery was then able to introduce £72m Ivory Coast winger Pepe with 20 minutes to go when the Gunners were already in control.

The Arsenal boss clearly feels Pepe, and some of his other signings, need more time on the training ground before they are ready to start.

So getting through this tricky trip to Newcastle without really needing them counts as a perfect day for Emery.

The performance of his two English 19-year-olds, Nelson and Joe Willock, will also have given Emery heart.


As would the fact match-winner Aubameyang has carried on from where he left off last term.

Arsenal host Burnley next week, when we may see more from the new faces.

But Emery’s call not to throw them in at the deep end was vindicated today.

Arsenal’s bench was a surprising one with the new signings sat on it
Getty Images – Getty

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