Arsenal demonstrated a team spirit and resisted an energetic second-half comeback from Newcastle, to achieve a sixth successive win.  The Gunners now sit just a point behind second-placed Manchester City and a top-two finish is well within their clutch, with nine more games to play.

The visitors took advantage of their opponent’s sluggish start, and established a first-half control; Olivier Giroud poked them into the lead, as he scored his first 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 Frenchman continued his great form and grabbed his 17th goal of this season.  Later on, his team mate Aaron Ramsey, who was in the side to replace Mesut Ozil, denied then Frenchman a first-half hat-trick, when he diverted a low cross from the path of Giroud.  

The hosts went off to a chorus of boos by their own supporters at half-time, but they were 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 revival three minutes into the second half, and everything in the game changed. Arsenal lost control and looked a weaker side, while the hosts, for once, had a momentum and became more physical. The Magpies’ 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 to make a couple of good saves in the second half.

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

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

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