Arsenal leave it late against Newcastle to begin FA Cup title defense

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Mikle Arteta, Joe Willock, Bernd Leno, Andy Carroll. Kieran Tierney, Emile Smith-Rowe,  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Martin Dubravka, David Luiz,

Photo: Emile Smith-Rowe scored the opener for Arsenal in their 2-0 win over Newcastle in the FA Cup on Saturday (Getty Images) 

 

 

 

 

Extra time goals from Emile Smith-Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped Arsenal see off a dogged Newcastle 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium as they began their title defense of the FA Cup on Saturday.

With neither team able to find the back of the net after regulation time and no replays on the cards this season, the tie was forced into extra time in which the holders were able to secure the victory and move on to the next round of the competition.

A forgettable first half saw few goal mouth opportunities with the Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka producing his first save of the game midway the half.  Aubameyang ran onto a long ball from David Luiz and fired from a tight angle on the right side of the box, which Dubravka pushed into the path of Willian who blazed over from eight yards.

Kieran Tierney, who was busy down the flank all evening, fed in a cross for Reiss Nelson who took too long in possession and was closed down inside the box.

Arsenal continued to pressure Newcastle who defended stoutly, with Andy Carroll’s height advantage being used to repel Arsenal crosses, instead of attacking his opponent’s goal.

Carroll threatened the Arsenal goal on a number of occasions in the second half, the first of which came four minutes after the restart, when his header went just wide of far post.

Ten minutes later, the ball bounced nicely for Carroll who fired from the corner of the box, but straight at Bernd Leno for a comfortable save.

Newcastle should have been ahead in the 56th minute but Carrol missed the goal with his left foot effort from six yards, as he steered the ball wide of the far post.

Another effort from a tight angle from Aubameyang drifted harmlessly past the far post as the holders found it difficult to put pressure on the Newcastle goal.

Joe Willock had a glorious chance to put Arsenal ahead, but his header went down into the ground and bounced up at a comfortable height for Dubravka to push behind for a corner kick.

Substitute Saka threatened with a powerful left foot drive from the edge of the area, but it went just over the crossbar.

With less than ten minutes to play, another Tierney cross was wasted by Aubameyang, who headed the  ball away, instead of towards, goal.

Carroll was then presented with the chance to knock out the holders in the second minute of added time, but he fired directly at Leno after Anderson’s shot was blocked by the Arsenal custodian, into the path of the Newcastle striker.

The visitors would then pay dearly in extra time.

Mikle Arteta’s men went in for the kill and Xhaka’s volleyed effort was palmed over for a corner by Dubravka in the 95th minute, while a 100th minute near post effort from Saka went straight to the Newcastle goaltender.

Smith-Rowe then found the opener when his shot went just inside the far post to give Arsenal the lead in the 109th minute of the game. Rowe had been lucky to be on the field after being given a red card in added time at the end of regulation time, which was reduced to yellow after VAR review.

Aubameyang finally got his name on the score sheet when he steered home a Tierney cross to make it 2-0, four minutes from the final whistle as Arsenal threw their hat into the ring for round four of the competition.