What new Newcastle United director Majed Al Sorour did after stunning win over Arsenal
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And it was stand-in captain Wilson, making his first start in more than four months, who forced an error from Ben White which got Newcastle United off the mark against Arsenal. A strike from Bruno Guimaraes saw the game end 2-0, but it could have been worse, much worse, for the visitors given the home team’s dominance.
The result, the club’s first win over Arsenal in more than four years, lifted the club up to 12th place ahead of Sunday’s final game of the season against Burnley.
Majed Al Sorour, this week appointed to the club’s board, flew in from Saudi Arabia to watch the game with co-owners Amanda Staveley, Jamie Reuben and Mehrdad Ghodoussi. Al Sorour embraced every player as they left the field after the game.
Head coach Eddie Howe had made two changes to his starting XI. Wilson – who replaced the injured Chris Wood – captained the team on what was his first start since December 27.
The game kicked off after an incredible display from Wor Flags on all sides of the stadium, which was bedecked in black and white stripes and topped off with a blue star at the Leazes end.
United’s players responded to the atmosphere, and put Arsenal on the back foot in the early stages. Newcastle looked to play early balls to Wilson, and he caused problems with his pace and movement.
Howe’s team didn’t get the early breakthrough they wanted, though it wasn’t through a lack of trying. Guimaraes kept on finding pockets of space in a congested Arsenal half, and United moved the ball quickly and intelligently.
The visitors started to get on the ball more at the midway point of the half, though Newcastle, roared on by their fans, never let them get comfortable under the lights at St James’s Park, and Allan Saint-Maximin forced a near-post save from Aaron Ramsdale in the 38th minute.
Visiting manager Mikel Arteta lost Takehiro Tomiyasu to an injury before the break, and Schar was forced off early in the second half after a collision with Eddie Nketiah. The defender was replaced by Lascelles.
United’s breakthrough wasn’t long in coming. Joelinton broke down the left and crossed for Wilson, who had got between two Arsenal defenders. White, under pressure from Wilson, put the ball into his own net.
Howe sent on Jacob Murphy and Ryan Fraser in the 77th minute.
And Guimaraes, very much the future of the club, scored United's second goal after reacting first to the loose ball after Ramsdale got to a Sean Longstaff pass before Wilson.
Wilson left the field to a standing ovation in added time, and he was replaced by Dwight Gayle.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka, Krafth, Schar (Lascelles, 49), Burn, Targett, Guimaraes, Longstaff, Joelinton, Almiron (Murphy, 77), Saint-Maximin (Fraser, 77), Wilson. Subs not used: Darlow, Dummett, Ritchie, Trippier, Fernandez, Gayle.
ARSENAL: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu (Cedric, 39), Gabriel, White, Tavares (Lacazette, 62), Elneny, Xhaka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka, Nketiah. Subs not used: Leno, Sambi Lokonga, Martinelli, Oulad M’Hand, Swanson, Patino.