Newcastle United all-but secured their Premier League future on Sunday afternoon as they staged a stunning comeback to beat Arsenal 2-1 at St James Park.
They did not get off to the best start as Alexandre Lacazette powered home within the first 15 minutes. However, Ayoze Pérez rounded off an excellent move to equalise mid-way through the second period. The three points were secured as Matt Ritchie finished with just over 20 minutes remaining as Rafa Benitez’s men notched their fourth Premier League victory in a row.
Lacazette and Aubameyang combine straight away
Chelsea loanee Kenedy had the first sight of goal as he was picked out by Matt Ritchie. The Brazilian produced a thunderous drive on the turn that went straight into the hands of Petr Cech.
It did however only take Arsenal 14 minutes to hit the front through Lacazette. Starting for the first time with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Frenchman was picked out with an excellent cross from his strike partner and powered the ball past Martin Dubravka in the net on the volley.
Alex Iwobi then had a great chance to double the advantage. The Nigerian showed great feet to manufacture space in the area but shot straight at the Magpies’ stopper.
Pérez equalises with clever finish
Rafa Benitez’s men were level almost out of nothing. Jonjo Shelvey played an excellent lofted ball to Dwight Gayle, who laid it off to the advanced DeAndre Yedlin. The defender quickly whipped in an excellent low cross to Ayoze Perez who finished sumptuously with an exquisite flick at the near post to notch his third goal in as many games.
The hosts nearly gifted Arsenal a go-ahead goal with a poor pass from Mo Diame just before the break. Lacazette collected the loose ball and powered down on goal. Unselfishly, he squared to youngster Reece Willock, who failed to make contact as the ball just trundled out of play.
Newcastle complete stunning turnaround
Benitez introduced Leicester loanee, Islam Slimani, to the fray for what was only his second Premier League appearance for the Magpies. He nearly made an instant impact by winning a free-kick. Delivered by Shelvey, Ritchie latched onto the ball but fired well wide.
Iwobi also created another opportunity for himself but his shot from the top corner of the penalty area skidded just the wrong side of the post.
Ritchie went one better however as he seized the lead for the hosts. Following an excellent header from Slimani, the Englishman got free in the box and finished coolly over Cech.
Magpies look to soar away with the points
Slimani had quite an impact throughout the game following his introduction. It was his excellent work that could have seen Newcastle notch again. He played a fantastic ball through to Kenedy but the forward could only lift his shot onto the crossbar.
The hosts continued to hassle Arsenal and Slimani again was instrumental in setting up Perez. The Spaniard twice tried to find the net but eventually crashed his effort into the side-netting.
Arsene Wenger’s Gunners did create a few late chances, with the pick of the bunch coming for Iwobi. The Nigerian’s goal-bound shot was well-blocked by Diame. The North-Londoners were not able to find an equaliser however as St James’ Park celebrated what is surely going to be another year of Premier League football next season.
What a fantastic result, and indeed few weeks for Newcastle United. They may well have even notched more against a poor Arsenal side that frankly struggled in the second-half to create any real chances of note. As a result, the Magpies more than deserved the three points. Benitez’s troops worked extremely hard, created chances, were defensively excellent and were clinical.
As a result of their wonderful win, they move up to tenth in the Premier League table on 41 points. Meanwhile, Arsenal remain marooned in sixth position, six points behind Chelsea and only two above Sean Dyche’s Burnley.
Newcastle United: Dúbravka (7); Yedlin (7), Lascelles (8), Lejeune (6), Dummett (7); Ritchie (8) (Murphy (N/A), 86′), Diamé (7), Shelvey (7), Kenedy (7); Pérez (8) (Joselu (N/A), 79′), Gayle (6) (Slimani (8), 63′).
Arsenal: Cech (5), Chambers (6) (Maitland-Niles (N/A), 78′), Mustafi (5), Holding (6), Monreal (6); Elneny (6), Xhaka (6); Willock (6) (Welbeck (5), 68′), Iwobi (7) (Nketiah (N/A), 86′), Aubameyang (6); Lacazette (7).
Goals: Lacazette (14′), Pérez (29′), Ritchie (68′)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Yellow Cards: Slimani (90+1′)
Red Cards: N/A
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