Arsenal post impressive win at Newcastle, keep title hopes alive
Arsenal made it back-to-back wins to keep the pressure on Manchester City by beating third-place Newcastle United 2-0 at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
Martin Odegaard scored early and a late Fabian Schar own goal helped salt away the three points as Arsenal pulled back within a point of leaders Man City, who have played one fewer match.
Arsenal had slumped in recent weeks but now have consecutive two-goal wins after adding the win at Newcastle to a 3-1 midweek win over Chelsea. Can they finish the season strongly and push City all the way?
Newcastle’s 65 points through 35 games are two more than fourth-place Manchester United, who play West Ham at 2pm ET Sunday.
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Newcastle vs Arsenal player ratings: Stars of the Show
Martin Odegaard: What a player. Fifteen goals and seven assists put him seventh in goal contributions amongst Premier League players.
Granit Xhaka: Newcastle fans will hate reading this, but the supreme pest was all over the pitch and had the Magpies off their game at times.
Nick Pope: Five saves on the day, three of them point blank, to keep the Magpies in the match.
Aaron Ramsdale: Five saves as well. Arsenal’s keeper kept control of his area late as Newcastle won the xG battle but couldn’t find a goal.
Arsenal turns in professional show to keep title hopes alive
The Gunners were under fire early at a boisterous St. James’ Park but weathered the storm and truly had been the better team -- if only by a bit -- over 45 minutes.
The second half saw Arsenal play a smart, dedicated game with and without the ball. This wasn’t a show of pure superiority, but that’s not going to happen often at SJP against top-four Newcastle.
Aaron Ramsdale made four saves and Jakub Kiwior joined Gabriel Magalhaes in keeping things tight at the back. Once the Gunners went ahead, it was old hat for Jorginho and company to manage the game and the second goal made things just a bit easier down the stretch.
Newcastle won’t lament its effort, which went to the final whistle, but it will know that matches like these will carry certain expectations, not just realistic hope, next season.
Newcastle vs Arsenal as it happened:
FIRST HALF: Newcastle is busy off the jump, as Jacob Murphy cranks a shot off the far post and is threatening the Arsenal end plenty in the first dozen minutes.
PENALTY (OVERTURNED): Jakub Kiwior appears to have handled inside the box but Chris Kavanagh is asked to go to the screen, where he sees the ball glance of the defender’s thigh first. No pen.
GOAL! Martin Odegaard hits a seeing-eye shot through traffic that beats an unsighted Nick Pope’s dive to the near post. Jorginho with the assist. Arsenal, 1-0.
A little bit sloppy and/or frenetic since the goal, with touches betraying both teams and more than a few coming-togethers. Still 1-0 to the visitors.
Wow! Nick Pope’s had to make two saves down the stretch, essentially 1v1, to keep the Magpies in this one. Quite an affair so far at St. James’ Park.
HALFTIME: Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal -- A very even, tight affair separated by Odegaard’s long strike. Newcastle shaded possession and Arsenal had seven of the half’s 13 shots, with xG favoring the visitors 1.04-0.37. Very close, but a deserved-enough lead for the Gunners considering the venue.
SECOND HALF: Close! Alexander Isak is in tight to meet Jacob Murphy’s little chipped cross but his header clanks off the post and back into the field of play. It leads to a free kick and Aaron Ramsdale makes an acrobatic stop to deny Fabian Schar’s header of Kieran Tripper service.
What a block! After Gabriel Martinelli rattles the cross bar and Arsenal misses a chance to make it 2-0, Newcastle races back in the other direction. Ex-Arsenal man Joe Willock looks set to make it 1-1 when Xhaka comes sliding into play to block the attempt. Huge. Still 1-0, 60'
GOAL! 2-0 Arsenal! Gabriel Martinelli’s close-range hit toward the near post goes off Fabian Schar and behind Nick Pope. Unlucky for sure, and it’s a doubled lead for the Gunners.
It’s all Newcastle down the stretch but Arsenal’s keeping the Magpies away from the dangerous areas and Ramsdale is there for all the high claims necessary to put it away.
Arsenal hosts Brighton at 11:30am ET Sunday, while Newcastle’s off to Leeds for the 7:30am ET Saturday kickoff.
Martin Odegaard goal video: Distance strike makes it 1-0
Fabian Schar own goal: Clever Martinelli cues up 2-0
How to watch Newcastle vs Arsenal live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 11:30am ET, SundayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Newcastle’s Callum Wilson has been back to his best in recent weeks, while Bruno Guimaraes is running games and the likes of Joe Willock, Joelinton and Alexander Isak have been unplayable at times. When this Newcastle side gets going and St James’ Park is fully behind them, there are few teams who can stop them.
Arsenal’s top four hopes unravelled at Newcastle at around this time last season and Arteta will be hoping his young side learned from that harsh lesson. Even if they don’t win the title they have still taken a huge, and unexpected, step forward this season as they’ve already qualified for the Champions League. But there is now a bit of a negative vibe around the Gunners as defensive mistakes have crept in all over the place over the last few weeks as their title bid has stalled. The likes of Jorginho, Trossard and Kiwior came in and played well against Chelsea and are likely to keep their place.
Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Emil Krafth (knee), Ryan Fraser (undisclosed), Allan Saint-Maximin (thigh) | DOUBT: Sean Longstaff (foot)
Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: William Saliba (back), Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee), Mohamed Elneny (knock)