The English Premier League action continued on Monday night as Arsenal beat Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium by 2-1 thanks to the injury time winner scored by defender Thomas Vermaelen.
The result takes Arsenal to within one point of third-placed London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. The fifth consecutive Premier League win for Arsene Wenger’s side has turn the tide in their favour as they were struggling in fifth position a few weeks ago.
Arsenal skipper Robin van Persie was at his best again as he snatched another goal to add to his season’s tally. The fair result would have been a draw, but Arsenal’s luck has been good recently as they won similarly against Liverpool in their previous league game.
Toon-side Newcastle United visited the Emirates with a hope of repeating their last season’s winning performance at the venue. And Alan Pardew’s men produced a game of superb quality, especially through the quick counter-attack of Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Gabriel Obertan.
But they lacked the man who scored the winner here last season – Andy Carroll. The tall forward has switched to Liverpool for more than a year now and Newcastle missed a striker who could convert crosses successfully into headed goals.
Demba Ba was not at his best as his goal-scoring form seems to have diminished since he has returned from the African Nations’ Cup.
Ben Arfa opened the account for Newcastle in the 14th minute by beating Wojciech Szczesny at the near post, but van Persie was equal to it as he equalized in the next minute itself off Theo Walcott’s cross.
The match was heading towards a draw, but Vermaelen strike in the fourth minute of added time sent the crowd into ecstasy. The result all but ended Alan Pardew’s challenge for a Champions League spot.
Tomas Rosicky, who made the decisive pass to Walcott in the Gunners’ build-up to the equalizer, was undoubtedly the best performer on the pitch. Rosicky’s form has been great in recent times as he helped his team in the 5-2 win over Tottenham as well.
The Gunners will play their next game against Everton at Goodison Park on March 22.