Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal a winning start to the season with the only goal of the game to hand Steve Bruce defeat in his first game in charge of Newcastle.
Aubameyang's assured 58th-minute strike was enough to secure a 1-0 victory in a tight encounter at a rain-soaked St James' Park.
The game was played out in front of a crowd of 47,635, almost 5,000 below capacity, as some fans staged a boycott over owner Mike Ashley's running of the club, and while the Magpies gave as good as they got for long periods - Jonjo Shelvey hit a post before the break - they struggled to create chances and were made to pay for it.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery largely kept his powder dry as summer signings Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli were introduced from the bench, but they headed home satisfied with a sixth win in seven visits to St James'.
Arsenal enjoyed the better of the possession but, with defences on top, keepers Martin Dubravka and Bernd Leno spent the first 15 minutes of the season as virtual spectators.
That changed within minutes after Almiron turned and broke swiftly before setting up Javier Manquillo to send a cross just over the head of Joelinton, who sent a glancing effort just wide after Matt Ritchie had recycled the ball.
Leno was saved by the frame of the goal after Shelvey's deflected 20th-minute shot had eluded his outstretched arm, although Dubravka was relieved to see Henrikh Mkhitaryan sky his effort high over at the other end with Nacho Monreal causing problems down the left three minutes later.
Joelinton fired straight at Leno after barging his way through a flimsy looking Gunners rearguard as Newcastle warmed to their task, but Dubravka was called upon for the first time with 14 minutes of the first half remaining to beat away Aubameyang's stinging drive at his near post.
The visitors almost forced the breakthrough when Granit Xhaka picked out Aubameyang with an astute pass, but Paul Dummett blocked the striker's 52nd-minute shot and saw the ball loop up on to the roof of the net.
But the Gabon international was not to be denied and fired his side ahead six minutes later when full-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles picked off Dummett's attempted pass to substitute Jetro Williams and then crossed for the frontman to control before lifting the ball over the advancing Dubravka.
Bruce sent on winger Allan Saint-Maximin with 24 minutes remaining and the Frenchman wasted little time in forcing his way into the game with a dangerous run and cross within seconds of his arrival, then forcing Leno into a late save after cutting inside, but his efforts ultimately proved in vain.
Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal Opta stats
- Arsenal won and kept a clean sheet in their opening game of a Premier League season for the first time since 2008-09 (1-0 against West Brom). This clean sheet also equals their tally away from home for the entire 2018-19 Premier League season (one).
- Newcastle haven’t won their opening game in any of their last six Premier League campaigns (W0 D1 L5), losing each of the last three (2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20).
- Arsenal have won 13 of their last 14 games against Newcastle in the Premier League (L1), with current manager Unai Emery winning each of his three meetings with them in the competition.
- Newcastle manager Steve Bruce suffered defeat in his first game at a new club for the first time since December 2001, when he began his Birmingham City reign with a 2-1 defeat to Wolves in the second tier.
- Arsenal have recorded consecutive away wins in the Premier League for the first time since October 2018; a run that also included a victory at St. James’ Park against Newcastle (2-1).
- Arsenal have only lost one of their 25 Premier League games under Unai Emery when opening the scoring (W20 D4), with that only defeat coming away at Liverpool in Dececmber 2018.
- Since making his Premier League debut for Arsenal in February 2018, only Mo Salah (36) has scored more goals in the competition than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (33).
- Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made his 50th appearance in the Premier League, while netting his 33rd goal in the competition. The only players to have scored more than him through their first 50 appearances are Alan Shearer (41), Andrew Cole (41), Mohamed Salah (35) and Kevin Phillips (34).
- Arsenal named two English teenagers (Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson) in their starting XI for a Premier League game for the first time since February 1998 (Paolo Vernazza and Matthew Upson vs Crystal Palace), before either Willock or Nelson were born.
- Nicolas Pépé made his Premier League debut for Arsenal, becoming the 200th player to feature for the Gunners in the competition.