Arsenal bagged a vital three points in their quest for Premier League glory with a 2-0 win at Newcastle United. Captain Martin Odegaard opened the scoring with a wonderful strike from outside the box before Fabian Schar turned into his own net to hand the Gunners all three points.
Although Newcastle started brightly by hitting the post in the opening moments, Arsenal held their nerve and unlike in their previous away games, showed a brilliant level of composure and game management. St James’ Park was an absolute cauldron at the start, yet the Gunners were able to see the game out in comfortable fashion, as Newcastle failed to cause them any real issues in the second half.
Although neither of them ended up on the scoresheet, it was the wide men, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka who caused all of the problems. They got in behind the Newcastle defence on several occasions, with Martinelli back in the side having been dropped against Chelsea in midweek.
Saka was relentless down the right and Martinelli was brilliant, especially for the second goal as Gabriel Jesus continued to pull into tricky positions for the Newcastle defence to pick up. It looked like Mikel Arteta’s men had given the Geordies a leg up when the referee pointed to the spot but on second viewing, the ball was adjudged to have come off Kiwior’s knee rather than his arm.
Then, Arsenal were given far too much time on the edge of the area following a set piece and Odegaard fired one in from the edge of the box. The captain has come up with key goals in recent weeks and got another one here, as Arsenal moved just one point behind Man City.
The returning Gabriel celebrated a clean sheet and certainly solidified the back line as Arteta managed to get his side back to winning ways. Martinelli and Saka missed one on one chances before Ramsdale denied Willock as the English keepers had the advantage over the strikers. Odegaard had a wonderful opportunity just before the break but Nick Pope denied him with his feet. In truth, Arsenal should have gone in more than one goal in front.
They saw the game out despite Newcastle’s efforts though, as Martinelli first hit the bar but then raced down the left and Fabian Schar turned into his own goal. That was enough for Arteta and Arsenal looked as good as they were earlier in the season. It seems that they have relaxed a bit since losing top spot to Man City, and in doing so that has kept their title hopes alive.
This looked like being the toughest test of the Gunners’ run-in, but they have passed it with flying colours. Man City still have to go to Brighton and Brentford in their title run-in, all while handling the Champions League and FA Cup. But this Premier League title race is back on. Arsenal are not done yet.