Mesut Ozil scores screamer as Arsenal down Newcastle

Mesut Ozil scored a superb volley to ensure Arsenal stay close to the top four
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Mesut Ozil scored a superb volley to ensure Arsenal stay close to the top four

Newcastle suffered a fourth defeat in a row as Arsenal moved back into the top four with a narrow victory.

Mesut Ozil’s brilliant volleyed goal in the first half was enough for Arsene Wenger’s side, who dominated until a late rally from Newcastle.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles hit the side-netting for Arsenal before the break, but Newcastle had chances in the second half for Jacob Murphy and Ayoze Perez.

Deal of the day

The result puts Arsenal into fourth place while Newcastle have now claimed just one point from the last 27.

Newcastle only came to life in the latter stages, with Perez failing to take advantage of two rare chances when he put a shot and then a header over the bar.

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Jack Wilshere came the closest to giving Arsenal breathing space late on when he saw his side-footed shot saved by the recalled Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal.

It was Newcastle’s 10th straight Premier League defeat to Arsenal and they are now without a league win since 21 October when they beat Crystal Palace 1-0.

Edgy Arsenal relieved by Ozil brilliance

Seventh in the table at kick-off and without a win in three matches is not the sort of run-in to the busy festive schedule that Arsenal are accustomed to.

And hamstring and groin injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott respectively also gave Wenger much to ponder in the lead-up to the meeting with Newcastle.

They looked slick for much of the afternoon and threatened around the edge of Newcastle’s area on a regular basis, but the lack of the killer instinct in front of goal led to some edginess as the match wore on.

Ozil’s moment of magic was the one real ray of light on a grey afternoon, the Germany international showing impeccable technique and balance to strike the ball beyond a helpless Elliot after Newcastle failed to clear.

With Liverpool the next league visitors to the Emirates, Arsenal will be thankful for the split second of brilliance that helped to end a worrying dip in results.

Newcastle’s slide continues

When Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles forced Petr Cech into a save when he rose unmarked to head a free-kick on target early on, Rafael Benitez must have hoped it was a sign of things to come.

But Newcastle retreated into their shells for much of the match, and struggled to chase the game after falling behind.

Their slide down the table, from sixth when they beat Palace for their last victory on 21 October, has coincided with stories of a potential takeover by PCP Partners said to be in the region of £300m.

Magpies fans will want matters resolving soon, as their side looks to be in dire need of an injection of fresh talent in the forthcoming transfer window to spark them back to life.