Arsenal seized the initiative in the race for the top four as a 2-0 victory over Newcastle on Monday Night Football lifted them above Tottenham and Man Utd into third in the Premier League.
Goals in either half from Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette secured a deserved win which saw Unai Emery's side equal last season's points total under Arsene Wenger with seven games to spare.
The scoreline was generous on Newcastle, who registered just a single effort on target and were indebted to goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who kept the Gunners at bay with a string of saves.
A 10th successive home league victory - the first time Arsenal have achieved this May 1998 - moves them two points above Spurs and United and into pole position to secure qualification for the Champions League.
Arsenal: Leno (7), Maitland-Niles (7), Sokratis (7), Mustafi (7), Monreal (7), Kolasinac (7), Guendouzi (7), Ramsey (8), Iwobi (6), Ozil (8), Lacazette (8).
Subs: Elneny (6), Aubameyang (7), Mkhitaryan (n/a),
Newcastle: Dubravka (6), Yedlin (5), Lejeune (5), Lascelles (4), Dummett (5), Ritchie (7), Hayden (5), Diame (5), Perez (5), Almiron (5), Rondon (4).
Subs: Ki (5), Muto (5), Kenedy (5).
Man of the Match: Mesut Ozil
Arsenal thought they had taken the lead on 13 minutes when Ramsey found the back of the net after Sead Kolasinac flicked a corner into his path, but referee Anthony Taylor halted the celebrations after spotting Sokratis Papastathopoulos had tugged Florian Lejeune's shirt.
It took until the half-hour mark for either side to register an attempt on goal when Ramsey, not to be denied, finished an attack he initiated with a clinical finish off the inside of the post to give Arsenal a deserved lead.
A defensive lapse from Sokratis presented Salomon Rondon with the chance to score an instant equaliser, but Bernd Leno was alert at his near post to preserve Arsenal's lead, allowing the free-flowing Gunners to lay siege to the Newcastle goal in search of second before half-time.
Unai Emery made four changes from the win over Rennes as Bernd Leno, Sokratis, Matteo Guendouzi and Alex Iwobi returned for Arsenal, while a temperature forced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to start on the bench. Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles replaced Federico Fernandez in their only change from the draw at Bournemouth.
Ramsey and Kolasinac drew goalkeeper Dubravka into action in quick succession before a stunning goal-line clearance from Matt Ritchie prevented Lacazette's shot on the swivel from doubling the hosts' lead.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench and ensured the Gunners remained on top, stinging Dubravka's palms with a rasping drive on 72 minutes.
Newcastle threatened to mount a late rally, but it was snuffed out in emphatic fashion as Aubameyang's clever flick released Lacazette in behind Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles, and the Frenchman lofted a glorious second over the advancing Dubravka.
Lacazette had a quick-fire second harshly ruled out four minutes from time after referee Taylor ruled he had fouled Dubravka before heading a corner home, but that proved immaterial as the Gunners set their sights on a return to the Champions League.
- Arsenal have won 10 consecutive Premier League home games within the same season for the first time since May 1998.
- Arsenal have kept three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions for the first time since December 2017.
- Newcastle have lost 28 Premier League games against Arsenal - versus no other side have they lost more in the competition.
- There were just 10 shots in this match, the fewest in a Premier League game since Bournemouth vs Leicester in August 2015 (9).
- Arsenal are finishing a Premier League matchday ahead of Tottenham in the table for the first time since December 2nd, after they beat their north London rivals 4-2.
- Arsenal have won all 17 of their Premier League home games in which Aaron Ramsey has scored for them.
- Despite making only five substitute appearances this season, no player has been involved in more Premier League goals as a sub in 2018-19 than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (6 - 4 goals, 2 assists).
Unai Emery: "We were good individually; our players gave us quality and they worked for the team. We were improving little by little and our first goal helped us a lot. We are making progress in the table, but we know it is difficult, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United are going to win a lot of games."
Rafa Benitez: "We were close, but it was about chances in the final third. We tried to attack but they are good team at home - they play and pressed. The final third we have been speaking all season, the final third you have to spend £40m, £50m, £75m."
Man of the Match - Mesut Ozil
It was a joy to watch Ozil at his free-flowing best. The architect of everything Arsenal did well, Ozil effortlessly pulled the strings in midfield and would have had another few assists to go with his display had it not been for Dubravka. Like him or loathe him, when he's in this kind of mood, is there a better playmaker in the Premier League?
Live Renault Super Sunday
Arsenal travel to Everton on Renault Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 12.30pm. Before that, Newcastle host Crystal Palace at St. James' Park on Saturday at 3pm.