EPL

Arsenal maintain Premier League title charge with demolition of Newcastle

By Sports Desk February 24, 2024

Arsenal doled out another devastating Premier League defeat as they cruised past Newcastle to move two points off the top of the table.

Having thrashed West Ham and Burnley away from home, the Gunners returned to the Emirates Stadium where they easily dispatched of Eddie Howe’s side, winning 4-1 in Saturday’s late kick-off.

A Sven Botman own goal set them on their way before goals from Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior rounded off another fine display from Mikel Arteta’s men, although the returning Joe Willock’s late header ruined another clean sheet.

The win, coming on the back of a galling late loss in their Champions League last-16 clash with Porto on Wednesday, moves them to within two points of leaders Liverpool and just a point shy of Manchester City in second place.

Their recent run of free-scoring performances, winning their last three games at an aggregate of 15-1, also means Arsenal boast the best goal difference in the division.

After a light show and pre-match tifo, Arsenal set the pace from the off with Declan Rice, playing in a higher role in midfield with Jorginho restored to the side, stinging the palms of Loris Karius.

They would hit the front through another set-piece, but this time in fortuitous circumstances as Karius made a great save from Gabriel Magalhaes’ powerful header, only for Tino Livramento to turn the ball home off the prone Botman in his attempts to clear off the line.

The lead was doubled soon afterwards, this time from a free-flowing move as Jorginho – in a man-of-the-match display – picked out an inch-perfect pass to Gabriel Martinelli, who crossed for Havertz to turn home unmarked from six yards out.

Arsenal should have struck again moments later as Martin Odegaard pressed and won the ball off Fabian Schar inside the Newcastle box, only for his pass into Havertz to be cleared behind for a corner.

Still Arsenal pressed and Newcastle strained, Saka coming close only for Karius to make another smart stop as the hosts went in comfortably ahead at the break.

Havertz should have grabbed his second of the night having been slipped in by Martinelli early in the second half, but he rolled his finish wide of the post.

Newcastle had failed to have a shot on target in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time in nearly a decade.

Anthony Gordon finally tested David Raya in the 49th minute before Alekander Isak fired just over the bar on another rare foray forward for the visitors.

Any hopes of a rousing comeback were soon shattered, however, as Arsenal’s third goal duly came just after the hour.

Saka was played in on the right and hit a curling shot that somehow evaded two attempts at clearances from the Newcastle defence to nestle into the corner of the net.

Things got even better for Arsenal as Kiwior’s header from a Rice corner deflected in off the unfortunate Lewis Miley.

Both sides made a host of changes but it was Newcastle who got on the scoresheet with five minutes remaining, former Arsenal youngster Willock brilliantly heading home a Dan Burn cross.

Emile Smith Rowe almost added a fifth for Arsenal late on, but Burn was in the right place to clear off the line with Karius beaten.

It was of little consequence, however, as the home side eased through the remainder of stoppage time to seal an impressive victory.

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