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Newcastle United 2-1 Arsenal

By Matt DavisBBC Sport
Matt Ritchie
Matt Ritchie scored his third Premier League goal of the season against Arsenal

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said his side's 2-1 defeat at Newcastle was the "the story of our season", as their terrible away league record continued.

Matt Ritchie scored Newcastle's winner in the 68th minute, as they came back from 1-0 down to beat the Gunners and all but secure their Premier League future, passing the 40-point mark.

Arsenal, who reached the Europa League semi-finals with a 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow in Russia on Thursday, are the only team in England's top four divisions yet to earn an away league point in 2018.

Wenger said his players "physically suffered" in the second half after a three-day turn around and the trip to Russia had been a "weight" on his team.

But his side were also hampered by defensive mistakes and bar the opening 30-minute spell, they lacked an attacking threat in the rest of the game.

"We didn't put our chances to bed and made unbelievable mistakes," Wenger told Match of the Day.

"It's been the story of our season, 70% possession, 1-0, lots of chances, and then you wonder how you lose the game.

"But these players are quality and we need to forget about today and focus on the next game. We have to be realistic. We came out of it with no points and overall we thought we should have got three points."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, playing for the first time together, had linked up for Arsenal's opener in the 14th minute.

The Gabon striker received Shkodran Mustafi's chip and clipped the ball to the far post for the arriving Lacazette to slide in and score.

Ayoze Perez equalised just before the half-hour mark, running in past Shkodran Mustafi, to guide in DeAndre Yedlin's cross at the near post.

Calum Chambers should have put Arsenal back in front towards the end of the half, but he pushed an attempt wide as he slid in to meet Mustafi's header.

It took until the 67th minute for either side to have a shot in the second half, with Ritchie then getting the winner a minute later.

Nacho Monreal failed to clear the ball and substitute Islam Slimani's header was flicked on by Perez into the path of Ritchie, who coolly steered his shot past goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Kenedy almost made it three, his shot looping up and hitting the bar.

There were some nervy moments in the closing stages as Arsenal pressed for an equaliser, but Newcastle held on for a vital win, their fourth straight league victory.

It puts them on 41 points with five games remaining, 13 clear of relegation.

Newcastle 2-1 Arsenal: Rafael Benitez congratulates Magpies after win

Arsenal's away-day blues

This was another dire away performance from Arsenal, for whom the only way to save their season will be by winning the Europa League to secure automatic Champions League qualification.

But they face a semi-final against Atletico Madrid, who are second in La Liga, and based on this display at St James' Park, victory will be a tall order.

Arsene Wenger gave a Premier League debut to 18-year-old midfielder Joe Willock, while Hector Bellerin was not in the squad.

Despite resting a few players, Arsenal did field their two most expensive signings in a strikeforce with a combined value of £102.5m, as Lacazette partnered Aubameyang.

Early signs looked good, but they were let down by defensive mistakes, with a back four that was there for the taking.

The Gunners barely threatened after Newcastle went ahead, failing to register a shot on target in the final 45 minutes.

Defeat means they have now:

  • Lost five successive away games in the league for the first time since December 1984.
  • Lost 11 Premier League games this season; equalling their worst tally of league defeats in a season under Wenger (11 in 2005-06).
  • Conceded 45 goals in the league this season - one more than in the whole of 2016-17 (44) - only in 2011-12 (49) have they conceded more under Wenger in a league campaign.

They stay in sixth place on 54 points, 33 points behind leaders Manchester City (87 points) and the same number away from bottom club West Brom (21 points).

Speaking about their away record, Wenger said: "It's a lot about the head and sometimes there is no rationality in it. It doesn't make sense."

Newcastle reach magic number

The 40-point mark is the magic number supposedly needed to guarantee Premier League survival and the Magpies have now passed that.

Given the uncertainty over the club's ownership and the lack of funds available to manager Rafael Benitez, Newcastle's move towards survival is one of the stories of the league this season.

They have also ended a wretched run against Arsenal, having lost their previous 10 Premier League meetings with Wenger's side.

"I think we are safe with 41 points," said Benitez. "It's a massive achievement for the players, the city and the fans. I want to congratulate everyone.

"Today we didn't play amazing football because we played an amazing team but you have to manage how you play and compete for the win."

After weathering Arsenal's early attacking spell, the Magpies grew into the game and the excellent Jonjo Shelvey dictated play, while Perez was tireless in the lone striker role.

With the game petering out in the second half, the introduction of Slimani, making just his second appearance following his loan move from Leicester, lifted Newcastle and they were good value for the win.

Mohamed Diame was a rock in the centre of midfield, making crucial tackles and covering more than 11km, while captain Jamaal Lascelles made vital clearances as he repelled Arsenal's limited attacks.

Man of the match - Jonjo Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey
Jonjo Shelvey's total of 37 touches was the highest by a Newcastle player

Stats - Arsenal's youth factory

  • Lacazette's opening goal was the 100th that Arsenal have scored in all competitions this season - they became the fourth Premier League club to reach this landmark in 2017-18 (after Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur).
  • All seven of Matt Ritchie's Premier League goals have come in home games (four for Bournemouth, three for Newcastle). Only four players have more Premier League goals without scoring away from home (Georginio Wijnaldum, Clive Wilson, Ronny Johnsen and Jeff Kenna).
  • Joe Willock (born in August 1999) was just the fourth player who was born after Arsene Wenger's first match in charge to make a Premier League appearance for Arsenal (Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah are the others).
  • Willock was the 56th teenager to make a Premier League appearance for Arsenal - the most of any Premier League team - six more than Chelsea and Manchester United (50 each).

What's next?

Arsenal host West Ham in the league on Sunday (13:30 BST), while Newcastle travel to Everton on 23 April (20:00).



Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 12Dubravka
  • 22Yedlin
  • 6Lascelles
  • 20Lejeune
  • 3Dummett
  • 11RitchieSubstituted forMurphyat 86'minutes
  • 10Diamé
  • 8Shelvey
  • 15Kenedy
  • 17PérezSubstituted forJoseluat 79'minutes
  • 9GayleSubstituted forSlimaniat 63'minutesBooked at 90mins


  • 2Clark
  • 7Murphy
  • 13Slimani
  • 14Hayden
  • 19Manquillo
  • 21Joselu
  • 26Darlow


Formation 4-3-3

  • 33Cech
  • 21ChambersSubstituted forMaitland-Nilesat 78'minutes
  • 20Mustafi
  • 16Holding
  • 18Monreal
  • 35Elneny
  • 29Xhaka
  • 69WillockSubstituted forWelbeckat 68'minutes
  • 17IwobiSubstituted forNketiahat 86'minutes
  • 9Lacazette
  • 14Aubameyang


  • 4Mertesacker
  • 13Ospina
  • 23Welbeck
  • 30Maitland-Niles
  • 31Kolasinac
  • 61Nelson
  • 62Nketiah
Anthony Taylor

Match Stats

Home TeamNewcastleAway TeamArsenal
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Newcastle United 2, Arsenal 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Newcastle United 2, Arsenal 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Rob Holding (Arsenal).

  4. Post update

    Joselu (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Alexandre Lacazette.

  6. Booking

    Islam Slimani (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card.

  7. Post update

    Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Joselu (Newcastle United).

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Eddie Nketiah replaces Alex Iwobi.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Newcastle United. Jacob Murphy replaces Matt Ritchie.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alexandre Lacazette.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high following a corner.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by DeAndre Yedlin.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Newcastle United. Joselu replaces Ayoze Pérez.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaces Calum Chambers.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Islam Slimani.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Mohamed Diamé.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Kenedy (Newcastle United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Islam Slimani with a through ball.


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