MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Mikel Arteta is making believers out of Arsenal doubters, while his predecessor Unai Emery has unfinished business in the Premier League.
It was a good day for Gunners managers past and present as Arsenal moved back to the top of the table with a 1-0 win against Chelsea on Sunday and Aston Villa stunned Manchester United 3-1 in Emery’s first game in charge.
The win at Villa Park saw Emery taste triumph — at the first opportunity — with his new club, something the Spaniard hadn’t achieved in his previous seven games with Arsenal. That run ultimately saw Emery replaced by Arteta.
Emery has returned to England three years later to see his former team transformed.
Arsenal’s win against Chelsea overcame the latest test of its title credentials. Victory in the final round of games before the World Cup will ensure Arsenal is top of the table for Christmas, with the domestic calendar resuming Dec. 26.
The celebrations at Manchester City after a late 2-1 win against Fulham on Saturday underlined the level of threat Arteta’s Arsenal presents to the reigning champions.
And when Gabriel pounced after 63 minutes at Stamford Bridge it strengthened the growing belief that Arsenal can maintain a genuine challenge.
“Individually, collectively, that’s as good as I’ve seen an Arsenal team in years,” former defender Martin Keown told BT Sport. “Desire, tenacity, hunger, it’s all there. They’re ready to win.”
Arsenal fans have experienced many false dawns in the past, but a run of 11 wins from 13 games at the start of the season has set a pace that even City cannot match.
Not that Arteta is ready to publicly declare his team is in contention for the title.
“Just look at the last six years, what Manchester City have done,” he said. “With the best manager in the world, the best team in the world.
“They have shown it consistently in every single competition. We have to be very, very respectful of that.”
“The overall performance was below where it has been,” Howe told BBC Sport. “Recently we’ve played at a really high level consistently and today dropped below it.
“I don’t think we were particularly good with the ball. I’m not being over dramatic or critical, the players have done brilliantly and it’s not easy to win in the Premier League at home or away. We’ve won comfortably but I think the lads know they weren’t quite there today.”
Miguel Almiron, Chris Wood, Joe Willock and Bruno Guimaraes scored for Newcastle.
TEN HAG: UNACCEPTABLE
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag criticized his players after the defeat at Villa.
It is the third time United has lost away in the Premier League this season.
“Our players are experienced,” he told Sky Sports. “You have to read the game and get right the organization. Not concede two (early) goals — that’s totally unnecessary.
“It starts with the players following the rules. It looked like they (Aston Villa) were fresher. That’s not acceptable. Players have to take responsibility and be ready.”