Newcastle beat Arsenal for the first time since 2010 with a very impressive 2-1 win at St. James’ Park this afternoon for a fourth successive win, and we have reached 40 points.
In fact 41 points with still five games to play.
And we came from behind quite brilliantly this afternoon after former Newcastle target Alexandre Lacazette had put Arsenal ahead with a goal after 14 minutes – the first goal Dubravka has conceded at St. James Park since he arrived in late January.
But then superb goals from Ayoze Perez (29 mins) and Matt Ritchie (69 mins) gave Newcastle a famous victory in front of another sellout (and ecstatic) Newcastle crowd.
Matt Ritchie – after scoring the winning goal
So we have beaten both Manchester United and Arsenal at home this season – and it was a fabulous performance again from our players today, especially in the second half when we attacked the Gunners.
Newcastle were a goal down after 14 minutes when Arsenal cut open the Newcastle defense all too easily and it wasn’t a good goal to concede with Alexandre Lacazette slamming the ball past the helpless Martin Dubravka.
That was a warning that for all the criticism this season the Gunners have taken in the press they are still a very good side.
But then after 29 minutes a fabulous goal from Ayoze Perez drew us level.
Dwight Gayle played the ball to right back DeAndre Yedlin on the right wing, and the American crossed th ball for Perez at the near post and Perez quite brilliantly flicked the ball past the Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech to equalize.
It was 1-1 at halftime with Arsenal playing well in that first 45 minutes but Newcastle got on top in the second half maybe because Arsenal players were) tiring after their game in Moscow on Thursday night.
1ewcastle were going all out and the energy and urgency every single player showed was great to see.
With Newcastle well on top the winning goal finally came after 69 minutes, when Islam Slimani (on for Gayle after 63 minutes) headed the ball down to Perez.
The Spaniard then flicked the ball onto Ritchie and the right winger took his (half) chance in wonderful style and slammed the ball past Cech and into the back of the net – and the fans blew the roof off St. James’ Park.
So that’s a goal and an assist for Perez this afternoon – not a bad day’s work.
And Newcastle could have had more as they continue to harass the Arsenal defense – but we’ll settle for 2-1 and a precious 3 points.
One chance was when the energetic Kenedy broke went down the left wing and his shot took a deflection and looped over Cech and came off the cross-bar with the goalkeeper beaten.
At the end of the game with safety now assured Rafa Benitez and the players celebrated with the ecstatic Newcastle crowd.
The result means we are now 13 points from 3rd bottom Southampton and we have a shot at even finishing in 8th place if we can catch Leicester City.
Our next game is a week on Monday at Goodison Park who we can overtake with a win.
Did I ever say Rafa Benitez is the perfect manager for Newcastle United?
Yes – I thought I had.
Howay The Bonnie Lads!!
Newcastle: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett; Shelvey, Diame; Ritchie (Murphy, 86), Perez (Joselu, 79) Kenedy; Gayle (Slimani, 63).
Subs not used: Darlow, Clark, Manquillo, Hayden.
Arsenal: Cech, Chambers (Maitland-Niles, 78), Mustafi, Holding, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Iwobi (Nketiah, 86), Willock (Welbeck, 68), Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Subs not used: Ospina, Mertesacker, Kolasinac, Nelson.
Goals: Lacazette 14, Perez 29, Ritchie 69
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe)
Attendance: 52,210 – sell-out