Gunners blast sorry Mags
Arsenal dumped Newcastle further into the relegation mire with a 3-1 win at St James' Park.
Last Updated: 21/05/13 12:34pm
Arsenal cemented their fourth place and dumped Newcastle further into the relegation mire with a 3-1 win at St James' Park.
After an entertaining but goalless first period, which saw Obafemi Martins' penalty saved, the Gunners went ahead when Nicklas Bentdnar headed home an Andrey Arshavin free-kick in the 57th minute.
But Newcastle equalised almost immediately when Martins capitalised on poor Arsenal defending to score.
But the Gunners then re-took the lead in the 64th minute when Abou Diaby played a one-two with Robin van Persie before slotting home.
Samir Nasri then scored three minutes later to seal the win, while Diaby hit the post in injury time.
The result which leaves Arsenal three points clear in fourth and Newcastle two points adrift of safety.
Michel Owen could not prevent Newcastle from slipping deep into relegation trouble as the England striker, who started the game on the bench, arrived just in time to see the Gunners establish a 3-1 lead at St James' Park, and there was little he or anyone else in a black and white shirt could do about it.
It might have been different had Martins converted a 23rd-minute penalty - which Owen would have taken had he started - but Manuel Almunia kept out his spot-kick to provide the platform for a clinical second-half display.
The home side ran out knowing they had slipped into the bottom three as a result of victories for Stoke and Portsmouth earlier in the day, and that did not make an already difficult task any easier.
In the circumstances, they knew there was little margin for error as they attempted to upset the odds to drag themselves out of trouble.
What was required was a spirited 90-minute display, and caretaker manager Chris Hughton will have been delighted with the way his players approached the game before the break.
That they ended the half with a clean sheet was down to two superb blocks by Steven Taylor and a fine save by goalkeeper Steve Harper, who was excellent throughout; that they did so without having taken the lead will trouble Martins for some time.
The Magpies were handed a gilt-edged chance when referee Mark Halsey pointed to the spot after Almunia had bundled Ryan Taylor to the ground after failing to collect a high ball.
Martins stepped up and calmly stroked his penalty low to the Spaniard's left, but the goalkeeper guessed right and made a comfortable save.
The miss might have proved even more costly within three minutes when Arshavin wormed his way into the box and shot firmly towards goal, and could not believe his luck when Steven Taylor arrived out of nowhere to block.
But it took an equally fine last-minute challenge by Gael Clichy at the other end eight minutes later to deny Peter Lovenkrands.
Arshavin almost capped a superb 35th-minute run from his own half with a goal when he sent a blistering long-range shot just over, but Lovenkrands only just failed to find a finishing touch to convert Kevin Nolan's driven cross four minutes later.
Martins, who had earlier gone close with a header, sent a fizzing snapshot just wide six minutes before the break, but it was the Gunners who finished the half with a flurry.
Harper had to dive at Van Persie's feet to keep him out with a minute to go and Steven Taylor once again performed heroics in injury time after Bendtner had made the most of Fabricio Coloccini's slip to pick out the Dutchman in front of goal.
Arsenal returned in determined mood and retained possession with ease as they tried to open Newcastle up, and it took a good block from substitute Habib Beye, a first-half replacement for the injured Sebastien Bassong, to see off Bendtner with 50 minutes gone.
Newcastle responded by forcing a series of corners, and from one of them, Steven Taylor had a header cleared off the line by William Gallas.
But the fireworks started in earnest two minutes later when Bendtner climbed highest to head home Arshavin's free-kick.
However, the home side were level within seconds when Martins refused to give up on a ball into the box and when it sat up nicely for him, he fired a left-foot shot past Almunia to level.
Arsenal treated the setback as a minor irritation, and the result was put beyond doubt with a quick-fire double.
With Steven Taylor off the pitch receiving treatment, Diaby waltzed through an under-strength defence to blast his side back into the lead with 64 minutes gone, and when Nasri thumped a third past Harper three minutes later, the game was over.
In the meantime, Owen had replaced the injured Steven Taylor, but all the action was taking place at the other end with Harper pulling off a fine double save from Denilson and Bendtner, and then keeping out Van Persie once again with his defence in tatters, and only a post denied Diaby a fourth in injury time.
|Newcastle United||Team Statistics||Arsenal|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||9|
|4||Shots off Target||5|