Arsenal's away woes continue in Newcastle loss

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail SHINE, April 16, 2018
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Midfielder Matt Ritchie scores Newcastle United's second goal — the winner — past Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech during their English Premier League match at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne yesterday. The Magpies won 2-1.

Newcastle United virtually assured its English Premier League status for another season by coming from behind to beat a depleted Arsenal side 2-1 thanks to Matt Ritchie's second-half winner yesterday.

Rafa Benitez's team passed the 40-point mark widely viewed as a guarantee against relegation and is 13 points clear of third-to-last Southampton with five games remaining.

Ritchie swept in a right-footed finish in the 68th minute to complete Newcastle's fightback after Alexandre Lacazette's 14th-minute opener for Arsenal.

Ayoze Perez equalized for Newcastle in the 29th.

The loss left Arsenal in danger of dropping below seventh-place Burnley with a month left of the season. Two points separate the teams and Arsenal's focus is now on winning the Europa League to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League. Arsenal plays Atletico Madrid in the semifinals.

With a nod perhaps to next season, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger paired Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front and they combined for the goal, with Aubameyang clipping over a cross that Lacazette finished on the slide. Perez delivered a fine finish for the goal, drifting in at the near post to glance home a right-wing cross from DeAndre Yedlin.

Ritchie scored the winner against Manchester United on February 11 that kickstarted Newcastle's surge to safety and he did the same here, running onto Perez's flick off Islam Slimani's header to beat Petr Cech from 12 meters.

Newcastle has only lost one of its last seven games, winning five of them.

Newcastle has 41 points in 10th place with 6th-placed Arsenal on 54 — 13 points behind 4th-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

On Saturday, Manchester City emerged from a trough of despair to beat Tottenham 3-1 and move to within three points of the EPL title at Wembley.

After it was beaten by arch-rival Manchester United a week earlier from two goals up when victory would have crowned it king of England, then knocked out of Europe by Liverpool, some suggested that City was beginning to flag.

But Pep Guardiola's side made a mockery of such talk to outclass a Spurs side unbeaten in the league since December.

Victory, sealed with goals by Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling, lifted it to 87 points from 33 games.

An unlikely defeat for United at home to bottom club West Bromwich Albion would secure City's third title in seven seasons but a win against Swansea City next week will be enough to put it out of reach.

"After 15 minutes I said we'd be champions, after what happened and we reacted," said Guardiola, who will be on the golf course with his son when United plays later yesterday.

Third-placed Liverpool beat Bournemouth 3-0 at home with Mohamed Salah taking his goal tally for the season to 40 in all competitions — making him only the third Liverpool player to achieve that mark in a single campaign.

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