With a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday, Arsenal demonstrated that they are still in the Premier League title fight and have cut the deficit to one point behind leaders Manchester City.
Losing would have left Arsenal’s chances of winning their first championship since 2004 hanging by a thread, but Martin Odegaard’s spectacular goal and an own goal from Fabian Schar clinched a crucial victory.
In an effort to secure third place and move one step closer to a top-four finish, Newcastle dominated the first 14 minutes, but Odegaard’s lovely goal gave the visitors the lead.
Then, with 20 minutes left, Schar unintentionally turned in a cross from Gabriel Martinelli.
The Gunners have 81 points after playing one more game than City, who have won 10 straight games to catch and then pass Arsenal.
Newcastle continues to be in third place with 65 points, although Manchester United may pass them later on Sunday if they triumph at West Ham United.
When Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal team traveled to St. James’s Park to play a Newcastle team that was hot off their quest to qualify for the Champions League again after a 20-year absence, it was a test of their mettle.
They were fortunate to survive an early onslaught that saw Aaron Ramsdale make an early stop from Alexander Isak and saw Jacob Murphy of Newcastle smash a shot against the foot of the post in the second minute.
After Bruno Guimaraes was stopped by Jakub Kiwior, referee Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot for what appeared to be a handball, but the decision was reversed after a VAR assessment, much to the visitors’ relief.
Odegaard then gave Arsenal the lead with their first shot, dragging a shot inside the post from outside the penalty area after being given too much time.
Odegaard was the driving force behind all of the visitors’ best counterattacking, which allowed Martinelli to release Nick Pope into a brilliant save.
At the conclusion of a chaotic first half, Pope again saved Newcastle by blocking Odegaard’s shot.
Isak’s header from Murphy’s cross struck the post in the opening moments of the second half, then Ramsdale miraculously stopped Schar’s close-range header.
The next minute, Martinelli fired a shot that hit the crossbar. Then, in the 71st, he carried the ball down the left before sprinting to the byline and firing in a low cross that fortunately rebounded off Schar and into the goal.