Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle: Double-fortuned Smith Rowe clinches win for Gunners
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their sides first goal during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on January 09, 2021 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The Gunners were dealt a blow before kick off when Gabriel Martinelli injured himself in the warm-up, the Brazilian’s misfortune therefore handed a start to fellow youngster Reiss Nelson.

Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe’s chances were the closest Arsenal came to scoring in the opening encounters, Andy Carroll for The Magpies, however the cagey affair remained level at the half.

Newcastle asserted their dominance early on in the second half, but it was Bukayo Saka and Aubameyang that came closest to finding the match winner.

Emile Smith Rowe and Aubameyang sealed the win for Arsenal late on in extra time, putting them in the hat for the fourth round.

Story of the match

Arsenal started brightly and came out the blocks firing with a collection of chances within the opening minutes. Martin Dubravka was called into action early on, but a tame effort from Gunners record signing Pepe was comfortably saved by the Slovakian.

Newcastle grew in confidence after riding the early wave of pressure from the home side and target man Carroll threatened with his aerial presence throughout.


Mikel Arteta’s men bounced back and came close themselves when a trademark David Luiz through ball found Aubameyang whose drilled half-volley was palmed away by Dubravka.

Minutes later, Kieran Tierney embarked on a marauding run down the left flank squaring it to Nelson, the chance was squandered though after the ball got trapped under the winger’s feet.

Both teams continued to probe, Pepe for Arsenal coming closest, but the two sides failed to convert their chances leaving the tie goalless at the break.

Carroll continued to be a thorn in Arsenal’s side after the break and his deflected volley gave Bernd Leno something to think about for the first time in the match.

The ex-England international came agonisingly close to opening the scoring after he found himself free at the back post, but his effort narrowly edged past the post.

Aubameyang kept on pestering Newcastle in behind with his pace. The Gabonese captain came close on a few occasions, including an audacious volley attempt from outwards of 25 yards.

Substitute Smith Rowe was wrongly dismissed minutes before the final whistle, but after consulting VAR Chris Kavanagh reversed the decision keeping the home side intact with eleven.

Debutant Elliot Anderson, whose Grandfather Geoff Allen played for The Magpies in the 1960s, nearly sealed the win for Newcastle with a last ditch attempt, but Leno was quick to prevent both the youngster's and Carroll’s late efforts.

With extra time ahead of them both teams returned the the hollowed turf for another half an hour of action.

Dubravaka once again came to the rescue of Newcastle, this time from a Granit Xhaka strike as Arsenal continued to pile on the pressure in search of a winner.

Late on, in the depths of extra time, Smith Rowe capitalised on Ciaran Clark’s error and clinched the decisive goal with a cultured finish from an acute angle.

The Gunners doubled their advantage when Aubameyang rounded off a superb move set up by Tierney which proved to be the nail in Newcastle’s coffin.