The battle for European football seems all but officially over for Newcastle United as they were crushed 4-0 away to Arsenal.
Despite dominating the Gunners for the entire first half, a complete capitulation saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil, and Alexandre Lacazette all find themselves on the goal sheet.
Aubameyang was the sole goalscorer when these sides met at St James’ Park on the opening weekend of the season. Arsenal came out 0-1 victors in August, and are a notorious bogey team for the Magpies.
The 13 day break between fixtures looked to have done wonders for Steve Bruce’s team, as they started off the much stronger and more threatening side. Joelinton poked Allan Saint-Maximin’s low cross just wide of the goal in Newcastle’s closest chance of the half.
Saint Maximin should have made it 1-0 towards the end of the first half: his incisive run being let down by his finishing as the ball sailed wide past Bernd Leno.
The home side’s first half opportunities were few and far in between. The 36th minute saw Eddie Nketiah, who was recalled from his loan at Leeds earlier in the year, unleash a dangerous curling shot, but Martin Dubravka managed to block his effort.
But the roles seemed completely reversed after the half time break, as Arsenal quickly broke the deadlock through Aubameyang’s header beating Dubravka.
What was promising first half for new arrival Valentino Lazaro swiftly turned into a nightmare. Bukayo Saka’s cross finding Nicolas Pepe after easily fighting off Lazaro and Miguel Almiron.
Newcastle then totally capitulated in stoppage time. The substitute Alexandre Lacazette netting a goal and assist to make it 4-0 to Mikel Arteta’s side.
Newcastle had been left to rue over this missed opportunities in the first half: tonight’s game another damning sign that Newcastle are rather fortunate to be in their current league position.
Whilst the winter break was a perfect time for healing and recovery for the Geordies, yet again another there’s another injury concern coming out of today’s match. Defender Ciaran Clark was subbed off after a nasty collision with Bukayo Saka.
The result means Arsenal remain in 10th place on 34 points, whilst Newcastle further entrenched in the mid table: 12th place on 31 points, and still 7 points clear of the relegation zone.
Next up for Newcastle is another difficult away clash in the capital, as they travel to Selhurst Park to face Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.