Mikel Arteta was particularly pleased with Dani Ceballos as Arsenal romped to their biggest Premier League win of the season, taking Newcastle apart to score four times without reply at the Emirates.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang broke the deadlock after a goalless first half, before goals from Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette sealed the victory over Steve Bruce’s visitors.
There were 35 passes in the build up to Ozil’s goal – the most for any goal in the Premier League this season.
Ceballos, who has not played in the Premier League since November 2 mainly due to injury, was an integral part of Arsenal’s midfield engine room.
The Real Madrid loanee completed 87 passes out of 91, three of which were deemed key passes.
And Arteta was in no doubt after the win that Ceballos was the best player on the pitch, in his view.
Arsenal manager Arteta told BBC Sport: “After the break we started saying we had to start closing the gap on the top teams and turn draws into wins. Today was the first opportunity and we’ve done it. All good.
Dani Ceballos played his first Prem game in over 14 weeks
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“I’m so pleased for Laca [Alexandra Lacazette] – the reaction of the players and staff towards him. He fights hard for everyone. He’s been unlucky. He will gain confidence from this and knows how everyone appreciates him.
“Bukayo Saka is doing really well. He keeps his head down and wants to learn. He’s performing like a senior player.
“Dani Ceballos is a good example. He was injured and when he started to train I didn’t think he was fit enough. He completely changed his behaviour and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch.”
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