Granit Xhaka scored a peach of a free-kick and Mesut Ozil struck on his 200th appearance as we came on strong in the second half to beat Newcastle.
Our Swiss midfielder is no stranger to goals from long-range but this effort had precision as well as power, a curling effort into the top corner shortly after the restart.
That gave us a grip on the game that was tightened by Ozil at the end of a patient, probing move that came alive when Nacho Monreal’s deft pass found Granit Xhaka in space on the left.
He picked out Alex Lacazette for a shot that was blocked, and Ozil was calmness personified to slot the rebound past Martin Dubravka.
It was an impressive change of pace from us after a pretty humdrum first half, during which Newcastle gave us a few problems.
They tested Petr Cech with a string of deliveries from wide positions, but our goalkeeper’s handling has been solid all season and it was here too.
We got going once Ozil got the measure of the game. As ever Hector Bellerin was a reliable outlet on the right but our best chance of the first half came down the left.
Lacazette slid in Aaron Ramsey with a clever pass and we waited to see if the Wales midfielder would take on the shot or pick out Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang on the edge of the six-yard box. But Ramsey did neither - to his immense frustration.
Sokratis made three crunching challenges to stop Newcastle in their tracks but, despite bossing possession, we struggled to carve out openings for ourselves.
That changed after the break when the team - including half-time substitute Lucas Torreira - went up a gear.
A third goal looked well within us and Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Lacazette all went close.
But two was enough, despite a stoppage-time header from Ciaran Clark.
HOW IT HAPPENED
FOUR THINGS WE NOTICED
Unai Emery kept faith with the same team that lined up against Cardiff City before the international break.
Indeed, there were no changes to our 18-man squad. Alex Iwobi - ill for the trip to Wales - did travel to the north east, but didn’t make the final squad.
Laurent Koscielny, Sead Kolasinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Carl Jenkinson are still recovering from injuries.
We kick off our Europa League campaign at Emirates Stadium on Thursday against Ukrainian side Vorskla.
That starts a run of four home games in 10 days, continuing with Everton in the Premier League and then Brentford in the Carabao Cup.
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