Newcastle earned a fourth consecutive win thanks to Matt Ritchie's winner against Arsenal, whose search for a first Premier Leagye away point of 2018 goes on.

By 90Min
April 15, 2018

Newcastle earned a fourth consecutive win thanks to Matt Ritchie's winner against Arsenal, whose search for a first Premier League away point of 2018 goes on.

Arsenal handed a debut to 18-year-old Joe Willock in one of four changes from their last league outing against Southampton. Danny Welbeck was replaced by Alexandre Lacazette despite scoring twice in that game, while Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal returned in defence. Newcastle were unchanged.

Neither team could craft any clear opportunities in an evenly-matched opening ten minutes, but the first chance produced the opening goal for the visitors. Shkodran Mustafi lofted a great long ball into the path of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who found a teasing cross. Lacazette latched onto it and steered his shot into the net.

Aubameyang then had a shot deflected over off Jamaal Lascelles' arm as Arsenal sought to capitalise on their momentum. A long throw-in caused panic in the Newcastle area, but Alex Iwobi's shot was straight at Martin Dubravka.

All of Newcastle's attacking quality was coming from Jonjo Shelvey, who kept finding Dwight Gayle with delightful long balls. Gayle latched onto one and laid the ball wide to DeAndre Yedlin, whose cross was brilliantly anticipated by Ayoze Perez. The Spaniard finished deftly past Petr Cech for his third goal in as many games to bring Newcastle level.

Arsenal nearly restored their lead with an carbon copy of their first goal. This time it was Granit Xhaka providing the weighted ball into the box and Mustafi diverting it across the face of goal, but Calum Chambers did a poor impression of Lacazette as he miscued the final shot.

Ritchie then tested Cech at the other end as the game remained an open-ended affair. Mo Diame made a terrible error to allow Lacazette a clear run at goal, but the Frenchman's pass was skewed wide by the debutant Willock. The sides went in level after an entertaining opening period.

Like the first half, the second began at a competitive pace, with Newcastle looking the more enterprising of the two teams. The Magpies were struggling to fashion chances though, so Rafa Benitez replaced Gayle with Islam Slimani, who had only played 15 minutes for the club since joining from Leicester in January.

The Algerian made an impact almost immediately. The header was there to be won on the edge of the Arsenal area and Slimani simply wanted it more than the defenders, flicking the ball towards Perez. He touched it onto Ritchie who finished emphatically past Cech to complete the turnaround.

As Arsenal pushed for an equalizer, Newcastle nearly wrapped it up on the break as Kenedy's shot deflected off Mustafi and onto the crossbar. Perez also hit the side-netting before he was replaced to a huge and well-deserved standing ovation.

Dubravka flapped at a Monreal cross but Lacazette's shot was wide of the mark as Arsenal's concerted pressure came to nothing. The home fans were on their feet again to show their appreciation for Ritchie as he was taken off, leaving his teammates to make sure that his goal would be the winner.

They managed it in heroic style, throwing themselves in the way of shots and adopting an anywhere-will-do policy as St James' Park roared them to victory. It was a brilliant result for Rafa Benitez and his team, but Arsenal's dismal away form continues.

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