Saturday, January 2, 2016 7:00 pm
It was a hard fought victory for Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium today as they earned a well deserved victory over struggling Newcastle United.
A match that analysts had thought was going to be an easy one for the Londoners turned a gritty affair, until defender Laurent Koscielny 72nd minute strike deep inside the 18 yard box.
Koscielny just happened to be at the right place at the right time, when Olivier Giroud headed the ball that came through a Mesut Ozil corner towards the goal.
Newcastle keeper failed to move fast enough to put the ball out of danger. Koscielny lurking nearby, emerged swiftly behind a defender to kick the ball straight into the left side of the net, with the keeper looking on helplessly.
Arsenal wasted several goal opportunities, with Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and even playmaker Ozil the major culprits.
Newcastle had their moments too. But Arsenal defence and Petr Cech, who set a Barclays Premier League record of 170 clean sheets in the success over AFC Bournemouth,denied them. Cech especially showed his value in the Arsenal goal again, superbly denying Georginio Wijnaldum on three occasions prior to Koscielny’s winner.
Defeat means Newcastle, who warmed up with T-shirts adorned with the message “Pavel is a Geordie” after the death of their former goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek this week, had their winless run extended to four matches.
Steve McClaren will likely be encouraged by his side’s spirited performance, although they remain in the bottom three, while Arsenal took advantage of Leicester City’s goalless draw with 10-man AFC Bournemouth, to create a two point lead with 42 points on the table.
In the first match of the day, West Ham stunned Liverpool 2-0, with a goal at each half of the match. The victory shot West Ham to the sixth position, with 32 points, one behind Manchester United who beat Swansea 2-1 to claim the fifth position.
Stoke lost to West Brom 1-2, while Sunderland also beat Aston Villa 3-1. Norwich beat Southampton 1-0.