Arsenaldemonstrated a team spirit and resisted an energetic second-half comeback fromNewcastle, to achieve a sixth successive win. The Gunners now sit just a point behind second-placedManchester City and a top-two finish is well within their clutch, with nine moregames to play.

Thevisitors took advantage of their opponent’s sluggish start, and establisheda first-half control; Olivier Giroud poked them into the lead, as he scored hisfirst goal in the 24th minute from a Santi Cazorla free-kick, and,four minutes later, he added the second from a Cazorla’s corner.

The Frenchmancontinued his great form and grabbed his 17th goal of this season.  Later on, his team mate Aaron Ramsey, who was in the side toreplace Mesut Ozil, denied then Frenchman a first-half hat-trick, when hediverted a low cross from the path of Giroud.  

The hostswent off to a chorus of boos by their own supporters at half-time, but theywere a more spirited side at the start of the second period.

The Magpies’Moussa Sissoko’s crisp finish of a Remy Cabella’s cross then sparked a revivalthree minutes into the second half, and everything in the game changed. Arsenallost control and looked a weaker side, while the hosts, for once, had amomentum and became more physical. TheMagpies’ Yoan Gouffran then almost had the chance to push it for an equaliser,but the ball went straight at the Gunners goalkeeper David Ospina, who had tomake a couple of good saves in the second half.

Newcastlemanager, John Carver, saw his side improve in a better second-half, but thesuspended captain Fabricio Coloccini and striker Papiss Cisse were big missesfor the Magpies, as they slipped to their fourth defeat in their last fivegames. In addition, the manager had to cope with a long injury list, but despitelosing, Newcastle came back strongly after half time and gave it a really good go.

Arsenal took three points and moved towithin seven points of the summit of the Premier League, as they continue with their excellent form.