Arsenal 1 Newcastle United 0
- Stuart Attwell
Arsenal 1 Newcastle United 0
At that point, the home side looked capable of doing further damage, and threatened to add to their advantage on a string of occasions either side of the break.
Both ‘keepers were called into action inside the first five minutes. Elliot got both hands to Alexandre Lacazette’s low-struck effort after a neat Arsenal move, before the Gunners’ Petr Čech parried Jamaal Lascelles’ header following Mikel Merino’s in-swinging set-piece.
Having opened the scoring at both Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge over the last month, that was to be as close as the Magpies came to upsetting the applecart at the Emirates Stadium, though. Arsenal began to assert their authority, Alexis Sánchez and Ainsley Maitland-Niles both coming close before the quarter-of-an-hour mark, the latter after a marauding run from just inside United’s half.
The opener was not long in coming, though. With Sánchez chasing down his own blocked strike, Lejeune – under pressure from the Chilean – was only able to clear as far as Özil, who met the ball mid-air and sent a thunderous effort beyond the helpless Elliot.
The Gunners almost doubled their lead with another volley – from Héctor Bellerín – while Granit Xhaka just failed to keep a 20-yard daisycutter on target with Arséne Wenger’s side firmly in the ascendancy leading up to the break.
Sensing a second, they remained on the front foot as play resumed after the break. Elliot had to get down quickly to claw a loose ball away from Alex Iwobi, just seconds before the Nigerian picked out Lacazette’s run with a searching pass down the right, only the frontman to blaze high of the target after cutting inside.
Newcastle finally began to stir, with substitute Matt Ritchie curling over the crossbar only a minute after coming on. Jacob Murphy then made inroads down the Gunners’ right and brought a low stop out of Čech from just outside the penalty area.
Arsenal started hunting for a clinching goal once more, though. With a quarter of an hour remaining, they looked set to get it. Sánchez sent a floated cross towards the back post, which Olivier Giroud – a replacement for Lacazette – nodded into Jack Wilshere’s path. The English international was unmarked as he connected 12 yards out, but Elliot managed to get a toe to the ball and United breathed again.
And, after surviving a scare, the Magpies almost levelled with their next attack. Another substitute, Dwight Gayle, held the ball up for Joselu, and the Spaniard’s first-time effort took a nick off Xhaka before rolling agonisingly wide of the post.
Having looked comfortable for long periods, Arsenal were wobbling as the end drew close. Pérez very nearly snatched a share of the spoils after meeting Ritchie’s cross, but the ball dropped wide of the far post, much to the relief of the home support.