Goals from Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud led Arsenal to a 3-0 trouncing of visiting Newcastle as the hosts look to boost their UEFA Champions League standing at the expense of the moribund Magpies.
Arsenal’s UCL fortunes are good as its fourth-place lead over Everton is up to four points.
Newcastle has lost six-straight matches for the first time in its Premier League existence. The Magpies remain in 9th place, two points ahead of Stoke and three ahead of Crystal Palace.
In other words, Alan Pardew’s return to the touchline upon completion of his suspension for headbutting David Meyler meant very little. They may be the worst team in the Premier League right now.
Unsurprisingly, the Gunners were often the better side, led by Ozil. The German was denied by a sliding Fabricio Coloccini about a quarter-hour into the match.
Newcastle’s best chance came about 20 minutes in, but Moussa Sissoko was quickly surrounded by red jerseys and his room to shoot was hampered as he pushed one high and wide.
Arsenal struck first, with a set piece goal punctuated by Koscielny punting the ball into the stands. Tim Krul would’ve been all over the stop earlier this year, and it’s never felt more like he’s already on a “bigger” club.
The Gunners had five corners by the 30th minute, and Krul was fantastic to parry a firm-headed shot. It’s like he was reading this before it was posted.
There was hope for Newcastle, as Loic Remy forced Wojciech Szczesny into a save on a free kick and Cheick Tiote doubled down with a long-ranger curler in the 33rd minute.
The keeper was wise, and the score remained 1-0 to the home side.
Maybe the goal woke the home side, as Mathieu Debuchy lashed a shot that troubled the Szczesny before failing to arrive on goal.
Embarrassing Newcastle defending allowed Arsenal to double its advantage as the clock turned to 41. Krul stopped Giroud twice point-blank on a breakaway before Ozil tapped home a rebound while the Magpies defenders watched.
Arsenal possessed the ball well for the first 12 minutes of the second half, but Newcastle found a chance when Yoan Gouffran was sprung on goal. Szczesny made the save, though, as Gouffran popped the ball at the keeper’s chest.
Giroud made it 3-0 in the 66th minute, as Ozil continued his wizardy with a whipped-in cross from the left that the Frenchman had no problem heading home (to Arsene Wenger’s delight).
Arsenal: Szczesny; Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna; Arteta, Ramsey (Rosicky, 74′); Podolski, Ozil (Flamini, 74′), Cazorla; Giroud (Sanogo, 84′)
Goals: Koscielny (26), Ozil (42), Giroud (66)
Newcastle: Krul; Dummett, Coloccini, Williamson, Debuchy (Yanga-Mbiwa, 84′); Gouffran (Armstrong, 89′), Tiote, Gosling (Shola Ameobi, 70′), Anita; Sissoko; Remy