Valentino Lazaro given brutal welcome to the Premier League
Welcome to the Premier League, Valentino.
Steve Bruce tried to add more attacking quality to starting XI against a seemingly vulnerable Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium – and that was evident for 20 minutes.
But Newcastle United’s head coach also took something away from his team by leaving out Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden.
Bruce named an attack-minded starting XI this afternoon, but three minutes of madness proved costly as on-loan Lazaro, playing as a right wing-back, was schooled by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka on his full league debut.
Arsenal won 4-0 thanks to goals fro Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette, though the result looked anything but a forgone conclusion for 45 minutes at the stadium, where Newcastle had lost on their previous seven visits.
Mikel Arteta’s side were pedestrian for much of the first half. United, by contrast, attacked with pace and purpose.
Lazaro overlapped and attacked down the right, and Allan Saint-Maximin looked to run at Arsenal down the left. For 20 minutes, they had the better of the game, and a diverted shot from Sean Longstaff was stopped by Bernd Leno.
The home side slowly picked up the pace as the break approached, but United defended well under pressure.
Arsenal pressed on in the second half, and Eddie Nketiah struck the crossbar from six yards. Newcastle were far too deep, and Arteta’s side were soon ahead. Pepe swung in a ball from the right in the 54th minute, and Aubameyang got in front of Lazaro to head across Dubravka from six yards.
It soon got worse for Bruce’s side. Saka nutmegged Lazaro on the left three minutes and picked out Pepe, who swept the ball home from 10 yards.
Saint-Maximin struck the post, but, unlike at Everton last month, there was to be no way back, and Martin Dubravka helped an Ozil shot into his own net late in the game. Lacazette added a fourth.
Bruce has more attacking options, but this team’s defensive foundations are all-important.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka, Lazaro (Ritchie, 75), Fernandez (Hayden, 75), Lascelles, Clark (Schar, 83), Rose, S Longstaff, Bentaleb, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.