Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-0 to move within one point of Manchester City in Premier League title race.
|Martin Odegaard dominated the Newcastle midfield and helped Arsenal past the Geordies at St. James's Park on Sunday. Arsenal won 2-0. (Photo credit: Arsenal.com)|
Arsenal beat Newcastle to move within one point of Manchester City with a solid performance and a statement win at St. James’s Stadium on Sunday.
Mikel Arteta restored Gabriel Martinelli to the starting lineup, and Gabriel was able to return despite hobbling off against Chelsea in midweek.
As widely predicted, Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson got the nod to start together for Newcastle, and the game was ready to deliver on its promises.
Newcastle was the quicker side off the blocks; less than two minutes in, Jacob Murphy rattled the woodwork with a crisp effort from inside the Arsenal area.
The hosts pelted Arsenal and asked questions of the Arsenal defence, which had Jacob Kiwior returning in place of Rob Holding.
Newcastle thought they had a penalty when referee Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot for an alleged handball by the Polish defender, but VAR intervened.
And replays showed the ball hit the player’s right thigh and not his arm.
The incident raised the roof at St. James’s Park, and the game became feisty.
Arsenal settled into the game and eventually broke the deadlock just before the quarter-hour mark.
Martin Odegaard received the ball from Jorginho outside the Newcastle area and looked a long way off and a little harmless, but Joelinton decided against closing down the Norwegian, and it proved costly.
The Arsenal skipper unleashed an unstoppable low drive that sailed past Nick Pope in goal.
Newcastle fans felt some sense of deja vu; they’d seen their team overturn a goal deficit many times this season.
But Arsenal took the ascendancy.
Gabriel Martinelli saw his effort saved, and Bukayo Saka also fired at the Pope.
Pope and Aaron Ramsdale had important saves to keep the score line at 1-0 at halftime, and yet again, it was Newcastle that started brightly in the second half.
Isak struck the upright, and Ramsdale saved repeatedly at point-blank range to keep Arsenal’s lead intact.
Arsenal managed the game better, won fifty-fifty duels, and dominated the midfield battles when it mattered the most.
Gabriel Martinelli made sure of the points in the 71st minute.
The Brazilian received a pass from Gabriel Jesus and raced down the left; his dangerous cross was diverted past Pope by Fabian Schar.
Newcastle couldn’t get back into the game as Arsenal continued to plug away with neat passes and precise defending.
The win took Arsenal within just a point of Manchester City, who do have a game in hand against Brighton.
Newcastle remains third on the log as Manchester United failed to capitalise on the Geordies’ slip-up after losing away at West Ham.
Champions League football is still possible for Newcastle, and two wins from their remaining four games could well land them in the elite continental championship.