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Key talking points as Arsenal hammer Newcastle at the Emirates
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Adam Drury
Bukayo Saka scored Arsenal's third goal
Bukayo Saka scored Arsenal's third goal

Arsenal thrashed Newcastle 4-1 to quickly bounce back from Wednesday's disappointing Champions League defeat to Porto.

The Gunners' fast start was the key, with a Sven Botman own goal and Kai Havertz's strike putting the result beyond doubt early on.

Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior added to the score in the second half as the Gunners moved to within two points of leaders Liverpool, despite Joe Willock's consolation.

We analyse the key talking points.

Fast start

Arsenal had this game won in an opening 25 minutes that was the antithesis of their midweek efforts in Porto.

The Gunners were relentless from the off, winning a corner within seconds and quickly moving into a two-goal lead in front of a raucous Emirates crowd.

Newcastle were pulled around as Mikel Arteta's side played some of the prettiest football of the campaign.

It laid the platform for a comfortable evening.

Set-piece wizards

But for all of their superb interplay, Arsenal relied on another familiar method to score two of their four goals.

The first and fourth strikes were from corners — and though both were diverted into the net off Newcastle bodies, they were the products of smart routines.

The strikes were the Gunners' 18th and 19th from set-pieces in the league this season, putting them four clear of second-place Everton in that metric.

And with Declan Rice and Saka producing such consistent quality, Arteta's side have a clear edge over their rivals.

Jorginho impact

Arteta selected Jorginho from the start for the second straight home league game and the platform he provided was crucial to Arsenal's dominance.

The Italian's presence allowed Rice to play further forward and the England international's combinations with Gabriel Martinelli were a thorn in Newcastle's side.

Rice also picked his moments to sit deeper, leaving space for Havertz to play next to Martin Odegaard in the gaps between the Magpies' midfield and defence.

The setup provided the Gunners with numerous avenues of attack — with the individual brilliance of Saka another outlet.

Unsteady Eddie

Eddie Howe has overseen a disappointing league campaign at Newcastle
Eddie Howe has overseen a disappointing league campaign at Newcastle

This chastening evening will not help ease the pressure on Eddie Howe, whose second complete season on Tyneside is playing out far less smoothly than his first.

The Toon boss made a big selection call — replacing the out-of-form Dan Burn with Tino Livramento at left-back — but it made little difference as his side succumbed to a seventh league defeat in 12.

It leaves Newcastle 15 points off fourth position with just 12 matches to play.

And it would not be a surprise should the club's ambitious hierarchy be getting twitchy at a campaign of regression.

Down to the wire

This hammering was the latest reminder that we are in for a superb title race between now and May 19.

Arsenal have won all six of their league games in 2024 by an aggregate score of 25-3, a staggering start to the calendar year.

Leaders Liverpool have scored four goals in five of their seven top-flight games since January 1, also beating Burnley 3-1 and only dropping points at the Emirates.

And the relentless Manchester City have taken 19 points from an available 21 in the same time period.

The trio are separated by two points with 12 games to play and the destination of the Premier League trophy is impossible to call.


Premier LeagueArsenalNewcastle United
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