By Rob Kelly at St James' Park.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang picked up from where he left off by scoring the only goal of the game as we beat Newcastle in our opening game of the season.
The Gabon international won the Golden Boot last term, and when presented with the only real clear-cut chance of a hard-fought game, he made no mistake by dinking the ball in.
The travelling fans were also treated to first sightings of new boys Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli as we kept a hard-fought clean sheet – already equalling last term’s total on the road.
Played under driving rain on Tyneside, the game got off to a typically frantic start as challenges flew in as both sides tried to stamp their authority on proceedings.
But in truth, neither side were able to truly find any fluency, although the hosts came close through a glancing Joelinton header, before Bernd Leno was called into action to make a fine save from Jonjo Shelvey.
Up the other end, Henrikh Mkhitaryan blazed a shot over the bar when well placed, and the Armenian was involved again when his lofted pass released Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the box, but his shot was well saved by Martin Dubravka.
But we stepped things up after the interval, and we finally broke the deadlock when Ainsley Maitland-Niles picked out Aubameyang in the area and the striker took a touch, before calmly finishing in front of the travelling Arsenal fans.
Ceballos, Pepe and Martinelli came on as we saw out the game impressively to kick off the new season in style.
HOW IT HAPPENED
WHAT IT MEANS
We host Burnley next Saturday in the lunchtime kick-off in our first home match of the new season.
The last time we faced the Clarets at Emirates Stadium, back in December, we beat them 3-1 after a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and an injury-time Alex Iwobi goal.
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