Last Updated: 28/04/14 9:52pm
Arsenal establish a four-point gap between themselves and Everton in fifth with a comfortable victory over beleaguered Newcastle. Thanks for following the game with me this evening. Stay here for report and reaction from the Emirates.
Great opportunity for Newcastle to finish on a high but Dummett volleys way off target from the edge of the box.
Cazorla has a shot from 30 yards but a Newcastle leg deflects it over the bar. Dummett then clears the corner.
Sissoko's return pass for Remy is woefully over-hit and dribbles behind for a goal-kick. Three added minutes to be played.
Armstrong is given the remaining few minutes to make an impression for Newcastle, with Gouffran going off.
Monreal's drive from an acute angle is blocked by the leg of Krul, before Podolski's deflected effort lands on the top of the net.
Rosicky wants a penalty after going down under the challenge of Yanga-Mbiwa but his appeals are waved away.
A change for both sides: Sanogo replaces Giroud in the Arsenal attack; Newcastle withdraw Debuchy for Yanga-Mbiwa.
Cazorla and Rosicky link up to get the Spaniard into the box but Tiote comes across to concede a corner. The set-piece is cleared but Cazorla tries another cross, which Coloccini heads behind. Newcastle then do a more convincing job of clearing the following delivery.
Summing up Newcastle's evening, Remy hopelessly fires the free-kick way over the bar from the left flank.
Ben suggests a solution for Pardew: 'I said 3-0. We now have the fourth worst goal difference. Bring on Obertan??!!'
Gouffran forces Szczesny into a save, with the goalkeeper falling to his right to clutch a low curling effort from the edge of the box.
A 'PARDEW OUT!' banner is on display among the Newcastle supporters. The manager responds by sending on Shola Ameobi for the ineffective Gosling.
Ozil overlaps Ramsey before firing across a ball at head height which Giroud nods in from close range, with the Newcastle defence nowhere.
Tiote delivers a free-kick into the box but Koscielny heads clear. Williamson picks up the loose ball on the left touchline but his attempted Cruyff turn fails to fool Sagna.
Ramsey threads a neat pass between the Newcastle centre-halves for Giroud, but the offside flag goes up as Dummett makes a last-ditch challenge.
Great chance for Newcastle as Remy plays through Gouffran, but under pressure from Koscielny, the winger fires straight at Szczesny.
Arsenal win their tenth corner, which Sagna heads into the path of Koscielny at the far post. The centre-back pulls his volley, though, and Newcastle clear. One-way traffic here.
Ozil's corner is half-cleared but only towards the edge of the box, from where Cazorla fires a volley high over the bar.
Ramsey is too quick and too clever for Tiote and Anita and earns a free-kick on the left of the box. Cazorla delivers to the back post but Dummett heads behind.
Williamson eventually clears Monreal's low cross, despite Podolski's attempt to bundle his way through on goal. Newcastle deal with the resulting corner.
Many happy returns to Hayden Jenkins: 'Listening to the game on the radio whilst reading the Sky Sports text commentary. Arsenal winning is great birthday present.'
Logan Peachey has been impressed with his team: 'Arsenal have done great in the first half! They need to keep it up and hope to move closer to the Champions League next season. Come on you Gunners, get a 4-0 win!'
Chris Green believes the hosts will extend their advantage: '2-0 is a comfortable lead, but Arsenal should be winning this by more - as they've controlled possession with complete ease so far. I'd be surprised if Wenger's men don't register another goal in the second period.' Ben David agrees: 'This is going to be 5-0 now.'
Arsenal take a 2-0 lead into half-time, with Newcastle showing little sign of forcing their way back into the game. Can Pardew have an effect in the dressing room?
Tiote is booked for a needless tread on Ramsey. Retribution, perhaps, for the Arsenal midfielder's earlier challenge.
Two minutes of added time commences with Williamson having to flick away a dangerous delivery from Ozil.
Krul carelessly hits a clearance straight at Podolski, but the ball rebounds beyond the crossbar, luckily for the Newcastle keeper.
Giroud springs the offside trap but Krul denies the Frenchman with a diving save before spreading himself to block the rebound. The ball, though, falls to Ozil, who sweeps home from close range, despite a suspicion of offside.
Podolski drives the ball across the six-yard line but no Arsenal player can react to turn the ball into the net.
Cazorla slices a half-volley off target from inside the box following a series of incisive passes from Arsenal.
Debuchy swaps positions with Sissoko briefly and holds off Monreal before driving a shot narrowly wide from almost 30 yards out.
Szczesny displays a cool head to beat Remy as the Newcastle striker closes down a back-pass. The Arsenal keeper sidesteps his opponent with a neat first touch before playing a tidy pass back into Monreal.
Ramsey is cautioned for a lunging challenge on Tiote which catches the foot of the Newcastle midfielder.
Mark, our Toon fan in the Canaries has been back in touch: 'Ok, maybe the sun got to me. Atleast I'm still sitting in clear 20c weather. Supporting Newcastle you get used to this. Its a way of life up our way.'
Tiote lines up a drive from 30 yards which is on target but proves to be an easy catch for Szczesny.
Remy curls a dangerous free-kick from deep on the left in towards goal but Szczesny is decisive in coming from his line to gather.
Krul stops Arsenal going further ahead by racing from his line to deny Podolski with his left leg. Newcastle make a hash of clearing two corners and Krul has to make a reaction save when Podolski heads the third goalwards.
Koscielny received a yellow card following his celebration, seemingly for kicking the ball into the crowd.
Cazorla weights his delivery to bounce on the six-yard line, between the Newcastle defence and goalkeeper, with Koscielny poking the ball past Krul with the Dutch stopper somewhat stranded.
Sissoko is the first player to be booked for pulling back Giroud as the Arsenal striker threatened to get on the end of Sagna's long pass.
Sissoko and Remy both have crosses cleared before the former is caught out by the offside flag. An encouraging few minutes for the visitors.
Sissoko runs at Mertesacker, beating the defender with ease, before attempting to curl a shot around Szczesny into the top corner, but the effort is poorly executed and drifts high and wide fromt he edge of the box. A positive run, though.
Sagna whips in a cross from the right but Coloccini clears from the near post at the expense of a corner. Newcastle partially clear the set-piece but the ball is returned to Cazorla, who curls a lofted cross towards the far post. Krul punches under pressure from Koscielny, but only as far as Podolski, who volleys wide from the edge of the box.
Ramsey attempts to play in Giroud after getting goal-side of the Newcastle midfield but Dummett recovers to cover and makes a fine interception.
Sagna now gives the ball away, allowing Gouffran the chance to slide a ball through for Remy, but Mertesacker steps across to cut out the pass.
Dummett needlessly gives the ball away on the halfway line but Newcastle retreat to deny Arsenal a counter-attack before Ramsey gifts possession back to the visitors.
Cazorla sends Ozil racing clear down the right but his low pull-back is intercepted by the sliding Coloccini. That was better from Arsenal.
Gouffran gets into a crossing position on the left but his delivery hits the first man before Mertesacker completes the clearance.
Ozil attempts a chip over Debuchy for Podolski to run on to but the Newcastle defender reads the intention and breaks away with the ball.
Monreal earns a corner from Sissoko after a spell of neat, quick passing across the Newcastle box. Cazorla delivers but Krul punches clear while being on the receiving end of an unfair challenge. Newcastle take their time over the free-kick.
Coloccini dinks a ball over the Arsenal back four, who stepped up to catch Dummett offside. It was a very close call.
Newcastle have dropped immediately into a 4-5-1 formation and are happy to allow Arsenal the ball in their own half. Sissoko eventually robs Giroud but Newcastle cannot keep it.
The Emirates looks close to full, despite the Tube strike which commences at the same time as the second-half kicks off.
The two teams have emerged from the tunnel, as has Pardew, who looks happy to be back at pitchside. He immediately applauds the travelling support before seeking out Arsene Wenger, who greets him a lot more warmly than when the opposing managers clashed at Upton Park a few seasons ago.
Tom Box from Bath also fancies a 2-1 away win, with Remy to score twice. Conor Nolan is following the game from 30,000 feet: 'I'm on my way to San Francisco and I'm keeping track of the score via Sky Sports app on airplane wifi. Arsenal to score early and win by a few clear goals. Podolski & Ozil to combine.'
Connor Linsdell doesn't believe Newcastle need Ben Arfa to win tonight: 'Sissoko, Remy and Debuchy back. Could be a little surprise, 2-1 Newcastle. C'MON TOON!'
Pardew remained coy on the absence of Hatem Ben Arfa from the squad which travelled south: 'I've picked a team on merit.'
Pardew has just been speaking to MNF: 'It is important for the manager to be with his team. It's been tough being slightly detached. We are in better shape tonight. The one thing we must be tonight is brave and have a clear game plan of how we're going to win. We can't take the game to Arsenal all night - that would be foolish. We need to win one before the end of the season for sure.'
Newcastle fan Mark has a sunny disposition, which may have something to do with his location: 'I'm preparing to watch the Toon Army storm the Emirates from the Canaries! Its going to be a hard-fought one and I don't think we're going to invite Arsenal on to us and simply allow them the opportunities. Much tighter display expected tonight and, dare I say it, a 0-1 win for our lads!'
John Trolan doesn't see Pardew's presence making a difference tonight: 'He will wish he was still in the stands - 6-1 to the Gooners, with one of them to get a hat-trick.'
Arsenal to win 3-0 is certainly the most popular prediction. Devon Hargreaves tweeted such a forecast, as has Michael Bowers: 'I think Arsenal will win 3-0. Cazorla, Ozil and Poldolski to score. But with no expectation on Newcastle they may get something.'
Finally, someone has a little bit of faith in Newcastle. T Lumley doesn't sound entirely convinced, but suggests the Toon might return home with a draw: 'With Remy, Debuchy, Sissoko and Pardew back perhaps Newcastle can do a Chelsea and get something out of this match. Maybe 1-1?'
Ben David expects Pardew to 'park the bus' (just one, not two, like Jose?) but fancies Cazorla to eventually help himself to a couple of goals in a 2-0 win. Rob from Canada predicts a 3-0 home win, as does Michael Bainbridge, who also fancies Ramsey to get a couple.
Ben, a Newcastle fan from St Albans, does not have high hopes: 'I am not expecting anything other than I do hope Pardew puts Armstrong on for a really decent spell. Please Pardew do not let Obertan on the pitch. There is no need. Why not even start with Armstrong for the last 3 games? Nothing to lose other than his job and Obertan will see to that after 60 mins! 3-0 Arsenal. Sadly'
It's going to be a long night for Newcastle if your early predictions are anything to go by. Chris Green from Huddersfield predicts a 4-0 home win with Ramsey scoring twice along with Podolski and Giroud. Scott Galloway has emailed in an almost identical prediction, with Podolski backed to bag a brace, rather than Ramsey.
Newcastle are boosted by a return to the bench for manager Alan Pardew, who has served his ban for headbutting Hull's David Meyler. The manager felt his presence was missed last week when Swansea struck late to take all three points at St James' Park. Will the Newcastle players buck up their ideas with Pardew in close proximity?
Which way do you see it going tonight? Will Arsenal make light work of the visitors, or can Newcastle arrest their slump? I want to hear your views throughout the evening. Email me email@example.com or find me on Twitter: @IanWatson1.
The two benches: Arsenal: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Kallstrom, Flamini, Rosicky, Sanogo. Newcastle: Elliot, Haidara, Yanga-Mbiwa, Steven Taylor, Obertan, Armstrong, Shola Ameobi.
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Gosling, Anita, Tiote, Gouffran, Sissoko, Remy.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.
Newcastle are in need of the points for very different reasons, with Alan Pardew's side on a five-match losing run and in danger of surrendering their place in the top half of the table. Defeat this evening will mean the Magpies can finish no higher than their current ninth-placed standing, with Stoke and Crystal Palace both keen to take their place in the top 10.
Victory for the hosts would see them take a huge step towards retaining their place in the Champions League, with Everton's defeat at Saturday offering Arsenal the chance to open up a four-point gap between themselves and fifth place.