Newcastle United stunned Arsenal with a come-from-behind 2-1 win at St. James' Park on Sunday to massively improve their chances of Premier League survival.
- Newcastle United 2 Arsenal 1
- Lacazette on target on 14'
- Perez levels on 29'
- Ritchie with winner on 68'
Arsenal made their chances count with an early Alexandre Lacazette goal, but despite enjoying large swaths of possession, it was Newcastle who claimed the points, with Ayoze Perez equalising just before the half-hour mark ahead of Matt Ritchie's second half winner.
🎥 Rafa Benítez finally admitted Newcastle are now safe from the drop when he spoke to NUFC TV after today's superb win against @Arsenal.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) 15 April 2018
Newcastle started well with some early pressure on the Arsenal defence with Shkodran Mustafi forced to head behind a whipped in Jonjo Shelvey delivery.
Lacazette fired high and wide after finding some space for himself at the edge of the box before Kenedy stung the palms of Petr Cech with a fierce drive.
Perez was crowded out as he look to head a Dwight Gayle cross from the right, ahead of the opening goal from Lacazette with just 14 minutes played.
The Gunners broke forward at pace, with Mustafi picking out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who in-turn played a dinked pass from the left-hand side to Lacazette at the back post where he swept home.
Arsenal had a couple of half chances, with both Aubameyang and Alex Iwobi unable to beat Martin Dubravka in the Toon goal.
Newcastle threatened through Gayle and Shelvey before Perez found an equaliser on 29 minutes, with a calm finish following a well-executed move that saw Gayle laying off for Deandre Yedlin, whose delivery found Perez.
Calum Chambers was unable to get on the end of a Rob Holding centre as Arsenal looked to respond, while the half ended with Ritchie hitting a shot straight at Cech.
It was the away side who emerged the more alert of the two at the start of the second half as they probed for space in between the Newcastle defence.
Iwobi did well to release Chambers down the left flank who then crossed for Aubameyang at the back post, but his downward header only found a defensive boot from the away side.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium, with Ritchie off target from a long way out ahead of a dig from Iwobi to the right of goal that smashed into the side-netting.
Ritchie, though stunned the Gunners with a second goal for Newcastle with 68 minutes played, as he smashed home past Cech, having picked up a Perez flick as Nacho Monreal's poor headed clearance fell for second-half substitute Islam Slimani, who nodded the ball down to the goalscorer.
The away side were unlucky not to score again, with 75 minutes played, as Kenedy's lofted effort over Cech hit the top corner of the crossbar,
Slimani was again in the thick of the action soon after as he found Perez in the area, who tried twice to hit the target, and came close at the second attempt with a shot into the side-netting.
Mohamed Elneny fired wide and Iwobi saw his late effort blocked as the Gunners threw bodies forward, but it wasn't to be as Newcastle held on for their fourth league win in a row.