Arsenal take the points against Newcastle

Arsenal’s title challenge seems to have stuttered as of late, but a tough game on Tyneside would give Mikel Arteta’s side the opportunity to keep the pressure on Manchester City. Their opponents also have plenty to fight for – as they look to fend off Manchester United and clinch a spot in next season’s Champions League.

NEW: Pope; Burn, Botman, Schar, Trippier; Willock, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Isak, Wilson, Murphy

ARS: Ramsdale; Zinchenko, Gabriel, Kiwior, White; Xhaka, Jorginho, Odegaard; Martinelli, Jesus, Saka

There was a deafening atmosphere at St James’ Park ahead of kickoff, and that was only intensified as the hosts came close to taking the lead within minutes! Jacob Murphy was found by a deep cross from the left flank, but the forward’s effort smashed against the base of the post!

Eddie Howe’s side were awarded a penalty in the 7th minute, as Bruno Guimaraes had a shot blocked by Jakub Kiwior’s outstretched arm. However, Chris Kavanagh was called to the pitchside monitor and rescinded his decision after seeing that the ball struck Kiwior’s thigh first.

Despite taking a beating in the opening ten minutes or so, Arsenal took the lead in the 13th minute as Martin Odegaard hammered a sensational strike from distance into the corner! That certainly lifted the mood amongst the travelling Arsenal contingent up in the heavens of the Leazes Stand!

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Nick Pope was tested yet again as Gabriel Martinelli fired a shot on goal – though the ‘keeper was able to parry it out as far as Odegaard. Pope was able to fling the rebounded effort clear too, and it wasn’t long before Bukayo Saka put him to work. Once more, Pope did well to clear.

At the other end, Aaron Ramsdale was forced to deny Joe Willock – as the midfielder broke forwards before hammering a shot a little too close to the Arsenal shotstopper. The ‘keeper was needed a minute later, diving to push the ball away from the feet of Callum Wilson. Did I mention we’re not even thirty minutes in?

Martin Odegaard did well to dispossess Joelinton from a throw-in just minutes before half time, and he darted towards goal before picking out Gabriel Martinelli – but the Brazilian’s effort darted just wide of the post.

Seven minutes of added time at the end of the first half allowed for plenty more action, as Callum Wilson, Grant Xhaka, Gabriel Jesus and Kieran Trippier all came together after the Swiss midfielder went to ground under very little pressure. Arsenal looked to create a chance for Martin Odegaard in the dying seconds, but Nick Pope emerged victorious in the 1v1.

The second half was as chaotic as the first – as Newcastle struck the post in the opening minutes when Jacob Murphy teed up Alexander Isak. The Swedish striker’s header from close-range smashed against the base of the post though, much to Aaron Ramsdale’s relief. Ramsdale was put to work yet again as Fabian Schar rose highest following a free-kick, but the ‘keeper managed to get down and parry the Swiss defender’s low header.

It was then Arsenal’s turn to strike the woodwork, as the Gunners created room for Gabriel Martinelli to float in from the left flank before curling a strike against the crossbar! This game had certainly lived up to expectations – and we hadn’t even reached the hour mark.

Granit Xhaka did well to preserve Arsenal’s advantage in the 58th minute, sliding in at the right moment to deny Joe Willock. It had been a great passage of play from the hosts, but the Gunners managed to get back at the crucial moment to deny the midfielder an effort on goal.

Arsenal doubled their lead in the 70th minute, as Gabriel Martinelli drove forward on the left flank before firing a cross into the box. Fabian Schar looked to put it behind for a corner, but ended up turning it into his own net – and the Gunners were ahead by two!

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The hosts felt they should have been awarded a penalty with less than ten minutes left on the clock, as Elliott Anderson fell to the ground inside the area under pressure from Granit Xhaka. It wasn’t awarded though – but Eddie Howe’s side would have another chance in the 89th minute as Fabian Schar looked to power a strike into the back of the net. It sailed over the crossbar, though.

Still desperate to claw a goal or two back, Allan Saint-Maximin put Ramsdale to work once again as he cut inside before curling a low shot towards goal – but the ‘keeper was able to push it wide.

After six minutes of injury time and yet another on-pitch scuffle, Chris Kavanagh blew the full-time whistle on what could quite easily go down as one of the best games of the season. Neither team really looked as if they wanted to defend – so spectators were treated with ninety minutes of end-to-end attacking football. It’s a great result for Arsenal, who remain ready to capitalise on a Manchester City slip-up. The Gunners host Brighton next weekend, while Newcastle United travel to Elland Road.