Arsenal 2 Newcastle United 0: Gunners up to third
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal hosted Newcastle United at the Emirates on Monday evening. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report.
A first-half Aaron Ramsey goal and late Alex Lacazette strike sealed a crucial three points for Arsenal as they beat Newcastle on Monday evening.
The Gunners hosted their first game at the Emirates for 18 days against Rafa Benitez’s Magpies as the race for the coveted top four and the promise of Champions League football warmed up.
With Spurs losing to a last-minute winner by Mo Salah for Liverpool in their 2-1 defeat of the Lillywhites, Unai Emery’s side sat only a point behind their bitter North London rivals in third place prior to kick-off.
Emery opted again to start Mesut Ozil perhaps buoyed by the memory of his excellent performance in the 2-1 defeat of Newcastle at St James’ Park back in September, in an early indication that a team representing the Spaniard would not be intimidated.
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And Arsenal had the ball in the net in the early stages through Ramsey but referee Anthony Taylor disallowed the goal after a foul in the build-up by Sokratis.
However, Ramsey was undeterred and put the Gunners 1-0 up after slotting home past Martin Dubravka via a deflection off DeAndre Yedlin sent the ball into the departing Welshman’s path on the half hour.
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It was no more than Arsenal deserved given their dominance. It was also a reminder of what Arsenal will miss when he departs in a free transfer to Juventus this summer – not to mention the fact Arsenal are unbeaten in the last 27 games he has scored in stretching back to December 2014.
As the half time whistle sounded on the Arsenal For Everyone day which promotes inclusivity it was appropriate a Gunner with a social conscience was interviewed on the pitch during the break.
Spaniard Hector Bellerin has championed such important causes as raising awareness of climate change and the merits of going vegan and explained his recovery was going well, adding how footballers had a duty and responsibility to speak out and aid good causes through the large platforms they have.
As the second half started on an increasingly chilly North London evening after a balmy day in the capital his colleagues also had a duty – to ensure they picked up maximum points in a crucial fixture.
The second period was full of endeavour if not an end product that could add to the scoreline and while that was the case the home fans remained nervous.
Yet they still had time to hail Ramsey who was replaced by Mo Elneny as the clock ticked down.
They also had time to celebrate Lacazette’s goal which sealed the victory after the Frenchman lifted the ball over an onrushing Dubravka after substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s clever header fed him following good work in the middle from Matteo Guendouzi who had a steady game in the heart of the battle.
As the final whistle went Arsenal moved into third place with seven games to go.