Jose Mourinho showered Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with praise after the striker’s ‘genius’ goal sealed a 1-0 victory for Arsenal in their Premier League opener away to Newcastle.
Aubameyang latched onto Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ pinpoint cross and calmly dinked the ball over Martin Dubravka in the 58th minute after some lacklustre defending from Steve Bruce’s side at St James’ Park.
Newcastle came close to scoring in the first half, with Jonjo Shelvey and Joelinton both theatening Bernd Leno’s goal, but Arsenal looked comfortable after the break and managed to keep hold of their slender advantage.
After sharing the Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane last term, Aubameyang will have been delighted to get off the mark for the new campaign and Mourinho hailed the forward’s exquisite control and finish for his goal.
Asked about Aubameyang’s goal after the final whistle, Mourinho told Sky Sports: ‘I think he loves to be in front of the goalkeeper.
‘He’s cool, he loves to be there and of course, what I love to say, simplicity sometimes is genius. ‘That control looks simple but it’s not simple, it’s genius. Then the finishing is beautiful.’
Graeme Souness added: ‘The touch, he’s made that finish look very easy, Aubameyang.
‘That ball was skidding off the surface, he controls it with the outside of his foot and he’s made a difficult finish look very easy.
‘That’s the mark of a very good striker.’
Aubameyang believes Arsenal were deserving of the three points after a positive performance against a ‘good team’ in Newcastle.
‘I think so, we fought today a lot. It was a great game against a good team,’ the Gabonese attacker said.
‘It was important to start with a win, last season we started bad, so we are happy.
‘It is always positive for all the squad to win the first game, everyone is happy to get three points and we’re looking forward to winning more games.’
On whether he’s thinking about the Golden Boot, Aubameyang said: ‘Of course it is in the mind of a striker but first of all the team is the most important.
‘I’m really pleased the goal helped us win the game.’