Bukayo Saka scored for the sixth game in a row as Arsenal defeated Newcastle 4-1 on Saturday night

 

Bukayo Saka scored for the sixth game in a row as Arsenal defeated Newcastle 4-1 on Saturday night

Bukayo Saka scored for the sixth game in a row as Arsenal defeated Newcastle 4-1 on Saturday night, bringing them within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Arsenal were transformed from the lethargic team that was thrashed in Porto on Wednesday night, and they were spurred by wingers Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, who had struggled in that Champions League encounter. They were explosive from the start, and they rightfully led 2-0 before 24 minutes.

Loris Karius, Newcastle’s surprise choice in goal with Martin Dubravka sick, received little protection in his first Premier League game in nearly six years.

He was unable to force away Gabriel’s header from a corner which was knocked into his own goal by Sven Botman and completely exposed when Martinelli cut back for Kai Havertz to stroke in the second.

The visitors eventually gained a foothold in the second half, but were quickly dealt another double blow, with Saka cutting back on his left and cracking in a super strike, followed by Jakub Kiwior’s header from another corner off Lewis Miley, which Karius could only fumble through.

Bukayo Saka scored for the sixth game in a row as Arsenal defeated Newcastle 4-1 on Saturday night

Joe Willock scored against his former team with six minutes remaining, providing a late consolation for the travelling fans. Newcastle scored their first goal at Arsenal in more than nine years. However, loss places them eighth, 15 points behind the top four and 10 below fifth-placed Tottenham.

Arsenal, enraged by VAR’s decision to allow Anthony Gordon’s winner to stand at St James’ Park in November, may have felt they had a score to settle after that frustrating defeat, but this result and performance made it clear that they are now firmly in the three-horse title race.

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Karius’ first Premier League appearance for Newcastle – and only his second game for the club, nearly a year after his Carabao Cup final debut – was the standout pre-match team news, and the goalkeeper would have been relieved to have grasped an early Saka shot and saved a drive from Declan Rice. But that was only a foreshadowing of what was to come from the fired-up Gunners.

Arsenal applied continuous pressure, and it was their set-piece ability that broke the deadlock, with Gabriel sending Saka’s corner fiercely at Karius, whose parry was clumsily slipped in by Botman as Newcastle tried to clear their lines.

The hosts’ second came soon after, with Martinelli running across the penalty area to grab onto a pass over the top and cutting the ball back for Havertz to score easily and defeat Newcastle once more.

The visitors had just gotten out of their half and were reeling. Sean Longstaff leaped shortly after the restart to prevent Martin Odegaard from teeing up Havertz again.

Martinelli headed over at the end of another incisive move, while Karius saved well from a Saka shot from the edge of the box as Arsenal pushed for more rewards.

Newcastle finally had a touch in the Arsenal box on 43 minutes, but David Raya was quick to block Miguel Almiron’s advance. They were just glad to hear the halftime whistle. However, the second half began similarly to the first: Havertz could have given Arsenal a three-point lead seconds after the restart but clipped his effort wide when Martinelli placed him one-on-one.

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Newcastle’s first attempt came shortly after, with Anthony Gordon cutting in and blazing across Raya, and Alexander Isak followed suit on the hour mark, blasting over as Newcastle seemed to settle into the game for the first time. But Saka’s shock put a stop to the struggle.

Tino Livramento was aware of the Arsenal and England winger’s intention to cut back to his left and fire across goal, but he was unable to prevent him from doing so. Saka delivers a polished performance.
When Kiwior scored from Rice’s corner shortly after, and the ball deflected in off Miley and Karius’ left hand, it was game over, allowing Arteta to rest Saka, Havertz, and Odegaard.

Newcastle, who rescued something to shout about with a wonderful move down the left that allowed sub Dan Burn to set up Willock for a looping header on his former home ground, had not won in any of their past 12 visits to this stadium.

That late goal ended Arsenal’s club record run of eight straight home clean sheets against Newcastle, but the outcome was never in question as Arteta’s team showed their real strength.


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