The game against Newcastle was going to present a stern test for Arsenal. This was expected to be the most difficult game in Arsenal’s testing run-in. Newcastle were still trying to secure their Champions League spot, so they had something to play for.
The team did not disappoint. They responded superbly to this latest challenge, to keep alive their very slim hopes of winning their first Premier League trophy for almost twenty years.
Arsenal kicked off the game impressively, passing the ball around well, but gave the ball away within a minute. Newcastle broke very quickly and within a few seconds were threatening the Arsenal goal. A cross by Isak was collected by Jacob Murphy on the rest of Arsenal’s box. He hit a low shot that beat Ramsdale but hit the post.
Newcastle kept the pressure on Arsenal and were awarded an early penalty for what the referee believed was a handball by Arsenal centre back, Jakub Kiwior. VAR urged that the referee to go and view the onside monitor. The penalty decision was reversed after the review. The replay showed that the ball had hit the defender’s thigh. The decision did not go down well with the St. James’s Park faithful.
Two minutes after the cancelled penalty award, Arsenal went down the other ahead and went ahead through Martin Odegaard. A low shot from outside the box best the Newcastle keeper. Odegaard has scored this type of goal several times this season and opposition players have not yet learned not to give him too much time on the ball close to their box.
The goal did not unsettle Newcastle, but it gave Arsenal more belief that they could score more. Before the half time they had other chances to score more goals. Gabriel Martinelli was the first one to waste a good chance to double Arsenal’s lead. He found himself one on one with the keeper and hit his shot straight at Pope. To be fair to him, he was under a bit of pressure from a Newcastle defender. Saka also found himself one on one with Pope, and like Martinelli, he hit his shot straight at the keeper.
The best chance to double Arsenal’s lead fell to Odegaard. He had done the hard work of passing two players in the box/ He hit his shot with his weaker foot and like Saka and Martinelli he couldn’t find the back of the net. Pope was able to save the hot with his legs.
Newcastle’s best chance of the half fell to former Arsenal player Willock, but his shot was saved by Ramsdale.
Newcastle started the second half well and could have drawn level in the opening minutes of the half. A cross by Jacob Murphy was met by the impressive Isak. Unfortunately for Newcastle his header hit the Arsenal post.
The home team continued to search for an equaliser. To Arsenal’s credit, they were managing the opposition and game. There were several players on the Gunner’s side that were quite impressive in their displays. The three key ones were Jorginho, defender Kiwior and the always impressive Odegaard.
Arsenal extended their lead in the 71st minute. Gabriel Martinelli ran with the ball into the Newcastle box and hit a low cross from the byline. The cross was directed into his own net by Newcastle defender Schar.
Newcastle brought on substitute and one of them, Allan Saint-Maximin, brought a good save out of Ramsdale to keep the ball out.
The game ended 0-2 to Arsenal, keeping alive their very slim hope of winning the Premier League title.
Arsenal were very impressive in how they managed the game, particularly as they are the youngest team in the league. They did not give the home team the opportunity to work the fans into a frenzy, learning from their mistakes at Anfield.