Arsenal held off a relentless second half attack by Newcastle United to leave St James’ Park with three English Premier League points on Satuday. After an enterprising start by both sides Alexis Sanchez found himself in some space on the edge of the small box courtesy of a Santi Cazorla free kick but the home defence was on hand to force a corner from what was arguably the first real chance of the match. Aaron Ramsey was played in on goal by Olivier Giroud but the Welshman’s touch let him down as the ball went out for a goal kick.
The ease at which the pair beat the Newcastle offside trap might have worried John Carver. It was 1-0 two minutes later when Giroud headed past Tim Krul. Cazorla delivered another free kick from far out that met Danny Welbeck’s head before the Frenchman used his forehead to guide it past the home goalkeeper.
The Englishman should have made it two a minute later when a Ramsey long ball met Sanchez whose beautiful touch brought the ball back into the box over Yoan Gouffran’s head but the cross to Welbeck would not result in a goal. It was two three minutes later courtesy of Giroud. A good ball into the box from a corner hit the Frenchman’s head perfect and the 28-year old obliged by directing the football into the bottom right-hand corner.
The Gunners dominated the half but did not add to the lead ahead of the break. It took three second half minutes for Mousa Sissoko to bring the beleaguered hosts back into it. A snappy cross set the Frenchman up just inside the area and he placed it past David Ospina.
Then within a minute Ayoze Perez had two chances to level but failed on both occasions. The Geordies continued to press and with some 26 minutes to play Ospina saved Mike Williamson’s header from point black range to keep Arsene Wenger’s boys in a slender lead. Try as they might there was just no way through for the Magpies as the London club held on for the 2-1 win.