Newcastle United 2 Arsenal 1 – Premier League Match Report

Arsenal travelled to St James Park off the back of a long midweek trip to Russia, however it didn’t show in early proceedings as they started by dominating possession.

Newcastle were looking to make it four wins in a row, but some hesitant defending initially gave the Gunners opportunity to forge chances, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette started together for the first time.

Shkodran Mustafi was then given time and space on the halfway line to release Aubameyang in the Newcastle box, he showed excellent awareness to play the ball across goal to the onrushing Lacazette, who buried the ball at full stretch. Arsenal deserved their lead after initiating the game with intent.

The hosts responded in the ideal manner to conceding, instantly increasing the tempo of the game. Despite their efforts, the Gunners gained a stroke of luck when Petr Cech slipped and mis-kicked the ball. Somewhat fortunately he still managed to find Alex Iwobi on halfway, who quickly shifted play to Aubameyang in space out wide. Although after choosing to cut back onto his right foot, the Gabonese international fired over.

Jonjo Shelvey’s influence on the game grew as it continued, he remained a central figure to the Magpies build up play and a superb long ball released Dwight Gayle. Gayle showed good decision making by choosing to hold the ball up after he couldn’t evade the Arsenal defence, releasing Yedlin on the right channel. The overlapping defender then hit a low cross in the direction of Ayoze Perez, who caressed the ball first time past Cech and into the net to level proceedings.

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In spite of dominating possession Arsenal carried less threat than initially. When they did create a chance though, Callum Chambers was agonisingly unable to finish from close range on what was proving to be another frustrating away fixture for the Gunners.

A dour second half was brought to life on 68 minutes as Nacho Monreal failed to clear a header for the away side, instead steering the ball in the path of Islam Slimani. The Algerian attacked the header, directing it in the path of Perez. Newcastle’s number 17 neatly flicking the ball on with a back heel to Ritche, who took a touch to control and then another to calmly slot the ball beyond Cech’s reach. This was the first shot of the second half as both sides had previously appeared blunt.

High on confidence, Newcastle pushed for a third, Kenedy playing a neat one two with Slimani but the Brazilian’s shot was blocked onto the crossbar.

After failing to gain another goal, the hosts began to appear nervous under increasing Arsenal pressure. This eventually proved too little too late for the away side, succumbing to a fifth successive defeat on their travels. The result leaves Arsene Wenger’s side with the lowest point’s total he’s amassed at this stage of the season throughout his reign with the Gunners.

While on the contrary Newcastle’s campaign is looking more prosperous than ever and a top half finish is now a realistic aim, after looking threatened by relegation all season. They will wish to continue this momentum into the following fixtures and attempt to transition into next season in the same manner.

Written by Harvey Sayer.

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