More Capital Misery for United
Newcastle United were once more left looking foolish as yet another visit to the Capital ended in defeat for Rafa and his men.
Goals form Ramsey and Lacazette sealed it for the Gunners who outclassed United for most of the game.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Dummett, Lejeune, Ritchie (Kenedy, 75), Hayden (Ki, 66), Diamé, Pérez (Muto, 77), Almirón, Rondón
Newcastle had gone into this one having lost 11 of the last 12 on the road to the Gunners with the London club knowing a win or even a draw would send them third after late drama at Anfield on Sunday had seen Spurs lost in injury time.
United started brightly, as whilst Arsenal were enjoying good spells of possession the away side looked sharp to the second balls, making Arsenal work for every inch.
On 13 minutes Arsenal thought they’d taken the lead. A corner from the Arsenal left beating everyone, allowing Ramsey to steal in at the back post for the simplest of finishes. For once however an eagle eyed referee spotted a clear tug on the shirt of Lejeune from Sokratis in the 6 yard box and, to the relief of all in black and white, the goal was ruled out.
The warning had to be there for both clubs in terms of contact in the box.
At the other end the three lads up front for Newcastle had a couple of moments where a little luck and perhaps a better pass would have created a real opening or two with all three looking up for it.
Just before the 30 minute mark though, a flick from Ramsey to Lacazette would see the Frenchman return the favour allowing Ramsey to side foot in off Dubravka’s left hand post and into the back of the net. Whilst Arsenal had dominated and were probably good value for the lead it was also their first shot on target against a Newcastle team who’d frustrated them in the main to that point.
Newcastle needed a response, and almost got one immediately from the restart. A long ball over the top gave Rondon the chance to bully his way into the box but his shot from a decent position was pushed wide (and was probably going wide anyway).
United were being well pressed all over the pitch now and were not helping themselves in keeping the ball for any prolonged period. You had to admire some of the football being played by the home side too, with some of the one touch stuff a delight to behold.
United now almost praying for the half time whistle to ensure they came in at half time at just 1-0. And in injury time at the end of the half they would have Matt Ritchie to thank for it being just that. Another delightful flowing move from Arsenal down the left ended with Lacazette turning and firing an effort that had Dubravka beaten all ends up. Running back onto his own goal line was Ritchie though to save the day and somehow managed to head the ball out for a corner.
Newcastle started a little brighter in the second half, at least managing to venture into final third on occasion, although not managing to fashion anything of note.
The game had settled back into the same patterns as the first half before long however, with Ozil looking his dangerous best and enjoying some outstanding movement up front.
Newcastle managed to hang on though, despite Arsenal coming close several times including a good save from Dubravka from an Aubameyang drive.
The introduction of Ki, Kenedy and Muto gave Rafa’s men a more attacking feel and bags of pace for the last 15 minutes as United went in search for an illusive equaliser.
The price for the more attacking line up was a softening in midfield. It was a defensive error however that would prove Newcastle undoing however, when on 82 minutes Lascelles would let the ball bounce over his head allowing the lurking Lacazette to nonchalantly lob Dubravka from the edge of the box.
It could have been worse when Arsenal had the ball in the back of the net again moments later from another corner. This one was more puzzling as the referee seemed to indicate handball when the only possible reason could have been a foul on the United keeper.
Comfortable in the end then for the Gunners. More frustration on the road for Newcastle.