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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Emirates Stadium

Rampant Arsenal keep up the pace at the summit as Newcastle feel full force of payback

Arsenal (2) 4 Botman og 18, Havertz 23, Saka 65, Kiwior 69

Newcastle United (0) 1 Willock 65

A first-half of unrelenting high-octane pressing, suffocating crowding of players on the ball, and turnovers in the final third underscored another fine win in for the Gunners in their hot pursuit of Liverpool and Man City.

After 26 games apiece, Arsenal train Liverpool by two points and Man City by one after another highly impressive display which a boisterous Saturday night crowd revelled it. It was sweet revenge for an unhappy loss to Newcastle when the teams last met.

The tempo and energy on display was clearly a response to the mostly insipid Champions League display at FC Porto in midweek and more in keeping with recent Premier League form which had brought five wins in a row and 21 goals. Make that 25 in six straight wins now.

This was an Arsenal fully focused and keen to get the job done as quickly as possible against a Newcastle team against whom they felt so hard done-by when the sides met in November at St James' Park.

And leading by example was Declan Rice, who kept picking pockets, kept denying the Geordies' main creative talent Bruno Guimaraes time on the ball, and kept setting up skipper Martin Odegaard in dangerous areas.

After all that controversy about whether the ball crossed the line up on Tyneside - Newcastle profiting from a call in their favour to score the only goal after a ball had appeared to go out for a goal-kick - it was Arsenal's turn to get the marginal decision in their favour.

Not that there was any controversy involved this time, as goaline technology determined Sven Botman's knock back towards his own goalline did just enough to cross the line. The inadvertent touch came after Loris Karius had made a fine save to deny Gabriel from a near-post header at a corner.

The Gunners were in no mood to make this about any fine margins though, and their breakneck start was further rewarded soon after when Jorginho's sand-wedge chip picked out Gaby Martinelli on the right and his low cross was put away by Kai Havertz.

More goals looked imminent. When Odegaard dispossessed Fabian Schar inside the box, it was only a despairing tackle from Sean Longstaff that denied the rampant Gunners more reward.

Odegaard and Saka then combined beautifully down the right for a cross that proved just too high for the onrushing Martinelli before Saka wriggled past some floundering defenders to fire at Karius' net again - the keeper doing well to parry.

Could Arsenal maintain the power-surge? Havertz rolled a ball just wide after being played in right at the start of the second half to suggest they would be after more.

And after a period of relative quiet, they bagged their third and fourth goals. The first was again a result of winning the ball from a forced error. Bukayo Saka was fed out on the right and when the England winger checked back inside Tino Livramento to fire low, the ball found the bottom corner.

The fourth was from yet another set piece - which continue to be a great source of goals for the Gunners. This time, it was Jakub Kiwior glancing in Rice's inswinging corner. It was the Gunners' 19th set piece strike of the campaign.

Ex-Gunner Joe Willock sent a looping header over Raya for a consolation goal after Mikel Arteta had made a raft of substitutions to spare some of his first XI any more work - Dan Burn supplying the cross. But the Magpies had been well and truly beaten long before then.

Gunners: (4-3-3) Raya - White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior - Odegaard (Smith Rowe 75), Jorginho (Elneny 88), Rice - Saka (Nelson 75), Havertz (Nketiah 75), Martinelli (Trossard 64)

Magpies: (4-3-3) Karius - Trippier, Schar, Botman (Lascelles 73), Livramento (Burn 73) - S Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes (Willock 73), Miley - Almiron (Murphy 64), Isak (Barnes 64), Gordon


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