Newcastle United lost 1-0 at Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil stumbles during a challenge with Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino (L)
Newcastle United's torrid Premier League form continued on Saturday afternoon as they were beaten 1-0 away at Arsenal.
The Magpies lost 1-0 at home to Everton in midweek to make it seven defeats in their last eight games – and that run has now stretched to eight defeats in nine.
Mesut Ozil's stunning first half volley was enough to give Arsenal a 1-0 win, though Newcastle can count themselves somewhat unlucky to have left empty-handed.
Granit Xhaka of Arsenal is challenged by Mikel Merino of Newcastle United
With just one point from the last nine games, Newcastle sit in the relegation zone, one point adrift of safety as the misery continues at St. James' Park.
Many fans are already looking towards the January transfer window, given that a takeover of the club could give Rafael Benitez a bumper transfer budget, but it was one of his summer signings who caught the eye of Magpies fans on Saturday.
Midfielder Mikel Merino, signed from Borussia Dortmund over the summer, had left some fans underwhelmed in recent weeks, but he returned with a top performance against Arsenal.
Jack Wilshire of Arsenal holds up Mikel Merino of Newcastle United
Fans took to Twitter to name him as Newcastle's man of the match, noting that he is something of a bargain given that Arsenal counterpart Granit Xhaka cost exponentially more just over a year ago.
However, many criticised manager Benitez for substituting him instead of Isaac Hayden, suggesting that the change surrendered momentum and ultimately left Newcastle defeated in North London.
Merino is man of the match for us. Despite just being subbed off. #NUFC— Newcastle Fans TV (@NewcastleFansTV) December 16, 2017
Merino was the best player on the pitch including arsenal and he takes him off unbelievable #NUFC— Dance t'ya Daddy (@grazsutt) December 16, 2017
Lost all our momentum as soon as Merino went off #nufc— Althanan Hamilin (@furrygiblets) December 16, 2017
I really do not understand why Merino made way instead of Hayden. He was looking lively.#NUFC— Tyler Stevens (@TylerStevens133) December 16, 2017
Imagine paying 35 million for Xhaka when Merino was avaiable for 1/4 of the price. Thought he was very good today. #nufc— Jordan Gibbon (@Gibbo2910) December 16, 2017
Mikel Merino was absolutely fantastic today by the way. Imagine if he was playing with players of the same caliber, can’t wait #nufc— Ben Mancebo-Thomas (@BenMancebo) December 16, 2017
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