Unai Emery says Granit Xhaka’s goal gave Arsenal the confidence they needed to see off Newcastle United following a poor first half performance.
The Swiss curled home a free-kick from 25-yards to break the deadlock on 49 minutes before Mesut Ozil stroked home to double the Gunners lead just before the hour mark.
It took until two minutes from time for Rafael Benitez’s side to muster a shot on target although they did jangle Gunners’ nerves in stoppage time when Ciaron Clark headed home to reduce the deficit.
“In the first half we didn’t control the match like we wanted to,” Emery told his post-game press conference.
“Also, we needed that control to input our ideas. We conceded a lot of chances for transitions and counter-attacks, but not giving away major chances.
“They had a lot of corners and a lot of possibilities to arrive in our box. In the second half, the balance on the pitch was better – our positioning and when we were attacking we didn’t make the transition easy for us.
“I think the key is the first goal. This goal gave us the confidence to continue to improve in the match. We finished the match with the result.”
For the fifth game in a row, Emery picked Matteo Guendouzi ahead of Lucas Torreira, but when the Uruguayan came on at the break his impact was obvious and immediate.
“I want to give every player confidence. I am very happy with Matteo and also very happy with Lucas. Maybe in the second half we needed a little more balance on the pitch with the positioning. Lucas gives us this balance.”
Emery also had warm words for Mesut Ozil who on his 200th appearance for Arsenal bagged what turned out to be the winner.
“For me, every player is the same – I want to give them the confidence and push them.
“Today I’m happy because I want every player to have chances to score.
“Today Mesut scored and I think that’s important. He continued his process on the team, helping with his quality and working every day to continue with the performances we want the team and him to have.”