By Lloyd Webb at Emirates Stadium
Jack Wilshere played 65 minutes of Arsenal’s 3-1 win against Newcastle United on Friday.
The England international played his first game in nine months while Tomas Rosicky made his return from a short injury lay-off.
Dan Crowley got Arsenal off to a flying start when he tricked his way into the box and curled the ball into the bottom corner.
Mavididi made no mistake from a few yards out when Rosicky played him through a minute later, but Krystian Bielik’s own goal gave the visitors a lifeline.
Serge Gnabry’s ferocious drive moments before the break killed off the game and wrapped up a much-needed victory.
Setting the scene
Steve Gatting made five changes to his side following consecutive 1-0 defeats at Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers.
Wilshere and Rosicky started in midfield, while Matt Macey replaced Ryan Huddart in goal.
Mavididi was given the nod up front ahead of Donyell Malen and Marc Bola was included in defence.
Arsenal couldn’t have wished for a better start in front of the expectant crowd at Emirates Stadium as Crowley wriggled into the box and poked the ball home after seven minutes.
The Gunners only required 60 seconds to double their advantage, as Mavididi latched onto Rosicky’s weighted pass and fired low into the bottom corner.
Against the run of play, the visitors managed to pull a goal back when Bielik’s attempt to cut out a cross wrong-footed Macey at his near post.
While Rosicky and Wilshere were the centre of attention, Gnabry gave fans a reminder of what he is capable of when he rifled the ball past Nathan Harker after racing past his marker.
Wilshere almost marked his return with a goal a minute after the restart, but his low drive from outside the box shaved the far post.
Substitute Chris Willock was next to try his luck after he managed to drift past his marker, but he could only drag his shot wide of the target.
The Gunners continued to get joy from the left flank and Jeff Reine-Adelaide came close to adding a fourth just past the hour mark but was denied by Harker.
Wilshere’s final contribution was a burst from midfield that teed up Willock for a shot, but the teenager was tripped before he could pull the trigger, prompting mass cries for a penalty that were waved away by referee Lee Venamore.
Dan Barlaser gave the hosts a late scare when he fired low into the side-netting, but Arsenal remained in the driving seat until the final whistle.
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