Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Newcastle United was important in many ways.
Firstly, the Gunners got back on the winning trail a week after seeing their 10-game unbeaten run snapped at the hands of Liverpool, whilst Mikel Arteta kept faith in a couple of players that struggled at Anfield.
Instead of punishing Nuno Tavares for his mistake that led to Diogo Jota doubling the Reds’ lead, the Arsenal manager opted to start the Portugal U21 international over the fit-again Kieran Tierney at left-back.
And that decision paid dividends as the ‘brilliant’ 21-year-old claimed an assist for Bukayo Saka’s opener at the beginning of the second half and was a constant threat down the left-hand side.
But whilst Tavares grabbed most of the headlines, Albert Sambi Lokonga went about his business quietly yet effectively.
The £15m summer signing from Anderlecht also struggled with the Liverpool press at the start of the second half last week as he got caught in possession numerous times in the space of a minute.
With him being taken out of the firing line and replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles, there was a feeling that would be the change for the visit of Newcastle.
However, just like with Tavares, Lokonga was handed a chance to redeem himself and he did just that.
As revealed by the @OptaAnalyst on Twitter, he completed 82 passes and created six chances against the Magpies.
What is impressive about that is the fact that no Arsenal player has managed more in either category so far in the Premier League this season.
It was the perfect response to what happened at Anfield and as seen in the image above, Lokonga took to social media afterwards to share the mentality that will serve him well in the future.
“Fall 5 times, get up 8! Again and again,” he wrote on Instagram.
In addition to his creative masterclass and bouncing back from his struggles against Liverpool, Lokonga has handed Arsenal a major boost ahead of Thursday night’s clash against Manchester United.
The midfielder went into the game with Newcastle walking the disciplinary tight-rope as another booking would have resulted in him serving an automatic one-match ban.
But he managed to steer clear of the referee’s notebook meaning he will be available for selection against the Red Devils.
Source by Football London