Report and free match highlights as Arsenal move back to within a point of Premier League leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand; Martin Odegaard and a Fabian Schar own-goal was enough for the important victory at St James’ Park
Arsenal showed their mettle and came through a devilishly difficult fixture at Newcastle to keep the title race alive with a 2-0 win at St James’ Park.
In a compelling encounter played in a ferocious atmosphere, Arsenal stood firm and stuck to their principles with Martin Odegaard firing them in front from 30 yards on 14 minutes before a Fabian Schar own-goal wrapped it up in the second half.
Newcastle had won eight of their last nine games and suffered defeat just twice in their last 24 Premier League home games but could not find a route to goal despite Jacob Murphy and Alexander Isak both striking the woodwork.
It leaves the Gunners a point behind Pep Guardiola’s side, who still have a game in hand. It might prove a chase in vein but Arsenal are staying hot on Manchester City’s heels as this fascinating title race rolls on.
Newcastle: Pope (8), Trippier (6), Botman (6), Schar (6), Burn (6), Joelinton (6), Willock (5), Guimaraes (6), Murphy (6), Wilson (6), Isak (7)
Subs: Almiron (6), Anderson (6), Saint-Maximin (6), Gordon (6), Targett (6)
Arsenal: Ramsdale (8), White (7), Gabriel (7), Kiwior (7), Zinchenko (6), Xhaka (8), Jorginho (8), Saka (7), Odegaard (8), Martinelli (8), Jesus (7)
Subs: Nketiah (6), Partey (6), Nelson (6), Trossard (6)
Player of the match: Jorginho
For the Magpies, who saw an early penalty decision in their favour overturned, the result does leave them with work still to do to claim a top-four finish.
How Arsenal showed bottle in hotbed atmosphere…
Arsenal’s season came crashing down on Tyneside last year when a 2-0 defeat meant a top-four finish was out of their hands going into the final weekend – but this is a more resilient and battle-hardened group now.
Mikel Arteta admitted that defeat was part of the motivation ahead of this clash: “My players had revenge in their minds after last year,” he said.
That said, Newcastle started very brightly. Murphy was unfortunate to see a second-minute shot come back off the foot of a post and Arsenal were rocking and looked to be in trouble when referee Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot after defender Jakub Kiwior appeared to block Bruno Guimaraes’ shot with his hand.
- Eddie Howe paired Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson in his attack for the first time in the Premier League as Anthony Gordon dropped to the bench.
- Mikel Arteta made one change from the win over Chelsea with Gabriel Martinelli replacing Leandro Trossard in attack as Jorginho continued to keep Thomas Partey out of the side.
Arsenal were given a reprieve, though, as the official changed his mind after being advised to review the incident which showed the ball deflected off the defender’s knee.
Newcastle fans were still venting at the referee when Odegaard was given time and space on the edge of the box to fire a left-foot drive past the helpless Pope to give the visitors the lead against the run of play.
That moment of brilliance settled the away side into their stride as they took control of the game.
Pope had to save from Gabriel Martinelli and Odegaard in quick succession and then denied Bukayo Saka one-on-one after he had been played in by Granit Xhaka.
Aaron Ramsdale was called into serious action within four minutes of the restart when, after Isak’s header had hit a post, he clawed away Schar’s header from close range.
Martnelli then clipped an effort off the top of the crossbar as there was little break from the breathless pace of the game as play switched rapidly from end to end.
The next goal was going to be crucial and Arsenal got it 19 minutes from time when Martinelli’s driven cross ricocheted past Pope off Schar and into the net.
Gabriel Martinelli celebrates after his cross is turned into the Newcastle goal by Fabian Schar
This was a victory to dispel any notion that this Arsenal team will not be able to sustain the charge. They are still fighting for this title.
‘Arsenal grew up’
“The reason why Manchester United players and Pep Guardiola have said Paul Scholes is their favourite player was because in moments in the hardest atmosphere in a difficult away game those players are unique. They have the composure, the balance to get the team playing. That’s what Jorginho reminded me of – he was fantastic.
“Arsenal have gone up a lot in my estimation [on Sunday] as I didn’t expect that. I expected them to fall. Those Manchester City players will go to bed, not panicking, but it’s a little dig in the ribs. They will have wanted a cushion going into the Real Madrid game.”