LONDON, United Kingdom, May 03 – Arsenal won for the first time in four games in all competitions thanks to Mohamed Elneny’s first Premier League goal and a superb strike from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Fourth bottom Newcastle remain nine points clear of the relegation zone with four games left.
Amid growing calls for his dismissal after one of Arsenal’s worst seasons in decades, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta knows the only way to silence the critics is to qualify for next season’s Champions League by winning the Europa League.
Arteta admits he is prioritising the Europa League, so it was no surprise that only Martin Odegaard, Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka kept their places in the team beaten 2-1 by Villarreal in the semi-final first leg on Thursday.
Next Thursday’s second leg at the Emirates Stadium has already been billed by Arteta as the “crucial moment” in Arsenal’s season, but he hoped an encouraging display against Newcastle would provide the ideal preparation.
Arsenal rose to the challenge and were ahead after just six minutes when Hector Bellerin ran onto David Luiz’s long pass and cut his cross back to Aubameyang.
Aubameyang miscued his attempted shot but the ball ran to Egypt midfielder Elneny just inside the Newcastle area and he smashed a fine strike past Martin Dubravka from the edge of the area.
Arsenal threatened a second when Granit Xhaka’s thumping effort was pushed away by Dubravka.
Having scored his maiden top-flight goal, Elneny had a taste for another and his powerful header was cleared off the line by Miguel Almiron.
Arsenal’s 13 shots were their most in the first half of a Premier League game since 2018.
Aubameyang killed off Newcastle in the 66th minute with his first goal in seven games.
The Gabon forward has endured a poor season but he showed his class when he met Gabriel Martinelli’s cross with a superb flying volley from six yards.
Newcastle had Fabian Schar sent off in the 90th minute for a late challenge on Martinelli.