Mikel Arteta believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can build on his latest goals against Newcastle United after his brace led Arsenal to their 3-0 win on Monday.
Aubameyang scored in a fourth consecutive meeting with Newcastle in all competitions, adding to openers in both Premier League encounters last season and a winner in the FA Cup earlier in January.
The Arsenal captain broke the deadlock as he beat Karl Darlow at his near post shortly after half-time and then completed the scoring from Cedric Soares’ cutback.
It was Aubameyang’s first Arsenal double since last season’s FA Cup final and should give the forward a lift, having failed to score with his prior 10 shots in the league before netting at Emirates Stadium.
“He tried even in the first half; I thought he had two or three really big chances and didn’t score,” manager Arteta told Sky Sports.
“He scored two today and I think it’s going to be really good for his confidence. Obviously it’s great for the team because he helped to win the match. Overall, I’m really pleased.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 18, 2021
Arsenal were also boosted by Thomas Partey’s return to the starting XI for the first time since December’s derby defeat at Tottenham.
Partey completed 67 minutes and registered his first assist in English football for Aubameyang’s opener.
“I’m really happy,” Arteta said. “I think he got better and better as the game went on. He had a big influence. He gives us things that are different to any other player.
“Still, we have to protect him because he’s missed a lot of football in the last few months, but I’m really happy with the performance.”
The manager reserved special praise for Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, who combined for Arsenal’s second.
Smith Rowe forged four chances, more than any other player, and laid on the assist for Saka to sweep in on the hour mark, all but ending Newcastle’s interest in the contest.
3 – Emile Smith Rowe has assisted three of Bukayo Saka’s Premier League goals – they are the first English duo to combine for as many as three Premier League goals before either player has turned the age of 21. Future. #ARSNEW pic.twitter.com/1CrEzLhPPi
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 18, 2021
Smith Rowe, still just 20, has now either scored or assisted in seven of his 10 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions this season.
“When we are winning, they put a smile on my face,” Arteta added of the pair. “I know what they are capable of doing.
“They are developing really well and that’s merit to them, merit to their team-mates and to everybody that supports them and protects them as well. The performances that they are putting in are extraordinary.
“I think it is [a boost] for everybody, to have that mixture of energy, passion and a little bit of immaturity that, at times, is good, so you don’t play as tense like the senior players. I think they’ve been doing really well.”