LONDON — Mesut Ozil answered his critics and lifted Arsenal out of its slump.
Arsenal's record $70 million signing ended an eight-match scoring drought stretching back into last season, and also set up Danny Welbeck's first goal for the club in a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa in the English Premier League.
The playmaker's influential performance came after manager Arsene Wenger said he should not be a "scapegoat" for a trio of domestic draws and Champions League loss.
The emphatic win ended Villa's unbeaten start to the season.
There were late goals in three of Saturday's games. Under-pressure Newcastle manager Alan Pardew saw his side stage a late comeback to draw 2-2 with Hull. Queens Park Rangers twice came from behind to also draw 2-2 with Stoke, and Victor Wanyama's 80th-minute goal gave Southampton a 1-0 win at Swansea.
In the late game, Liverpool was at West Ham looking to hit back from a home loss to Villa last weekend.
Villa started brightly against Arsenal, with American owner Randy Lerner at his first home game in almost two years, before collapsing and conceding three goals in four minutes.
Welbeck, who joined from Manchester United this month, teed up Ozil to run through and roll past goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 32nd minute. Ozil turned provider by crossing from the left flank and Welbeck powered in the ball from close range. Villa's capitulation was capped by defender Aly Cissokho sliding in to turn a cross from Kieran Gibbs into his own net in the 36th.
At St. James' Park, Newcastle fans stepped up protests against manager Alan Pardew, with the team now without a league win five matches into the season.
What will encourage Pardew, though, is Papiss Cisse making an instant impact on his return from knee surgery.
When Cisse went on in the 69th, Newcastle was 2-0 down to Hull after conceding from Nikica Jelavic and Mohamed Diame. The Senegal forward, who had been sidelined since April, scored after four minutes on the pitch, and stabbed in the equalizer in the 87th.
Like Newcastle, both Burnley and Sunderland remain winless after they drew 0-0. QPR and Stoke have just one win each after their draw at Loftus Road.