Newcastle United 1 Arsenal 2

Last evening Arsenal held on for sixth consecutive league win & remain one point behind Man City in the league. The Gunners resisted Newcastle’s second-half fightback as they continued their pursuit of second-placed Manchester City. After City beat West Brom, Olivier Giroud scored twice in four minutes as Arsenal established first-half control. He poked in his first from Santi Cazorla’s free-kick before heading in a corner for his 17th of the season. Moussa Sissoko’s crisp finish sparked a revival but David Ospina’s save from Remy Cabella’s shot was crucial. Any Newcastle hopes that the Gunners would suffer the after-effects of Tuesday’s Champions League exit were extinguished in a first half in which the visitors could easily have been four goals ahead.

Despite being without Mesut Ozil, they did not miss the German playmaker as Giroud again linked up well with Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck to score his ninth goal in as many games. If only Newcastle could call on the same firepower. Newcastle manager John Carver witnessed an improved second-half display from his side, but without injured top scorer Papiss Cisse and suspended defender Fabricio Coloccini, they slipped to a fourth defeat in the last five games. Giroud was a tad fortunate for his first goal as Welbeck flicked on Cazorla’s free-kick and the Frenchman seemed to score via his knee. The second showed his strength as he held off Mike Williamson to nod in Cazorla’s corner. Aaron Ramsey, in the side to replace Ozil, inadvertently denied Giroud a first-half hat-trick when he diverted a low cross out of his team-mate’s path.

Cabella was heavily involved as he first set up Sissoko’s goal with a clever cut-back. He then teed up Yoan Gouffran, who could only poke straight at Ospina, with Sissoko almost troubling the Colombian from close-range following a corner. As Arsenal tired, Jonas Gutierrez, who returned to action earlier this month after overcoming testicular cancer, came on to further boost his team-mates. But Ospina denied Newcastle a point when he saved well with his legs to stop Cabella’s deflected shot. With 2 games in hand Chelsea sit on top of the league with 64 points, with Man City on 61 and the Gunners on 3rd with 60 points.

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