Sunday, 15 April 2018

SPORTS: how Newcastle's Matt Ritchie’s strike down Wenger’s men

Arsenal crashed to a fifth consecutive away
defeat in the Premier League as Matt Ritchie
fired Newcastle to a 2-1 win at St James’ Park
on Sunday.
Newcastle United’s Scottish midfielder
Matt Ritchie (R) scores their second goal
past Arsenal’s Czech goalkeeper Petr
Cech (L) during the English Premier
League football match between
Newcastle United and Arsenal at St
James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne,
north east England on April 15, 2018. /
AFP PHOTO
Arsene Wenger’s side took an early lead
through Alexandre Lacazette, but Ayoze Perez
equalised before Ritchie bagged the second half
winner.
Newcastle’s fourth successive win ended
Arsenal’s unbeaten run of seven games in all
competitions.
The sixth-placed Gunners are 13 points behind
fourth-placed Tottenham with only five games
remaining in the race to qualify for the
Champions League.
Realistically, Arsenal already had no chance of
making the top four and Wenger had been
prioritising their Europa League campaign for
several weeks.
Arsenal saw off CSKA Moscow in the Europa
League quarter-finals on Thursday.
They face Atletico Madrid in the last four and
will qualify for the Champions League if they
win the competition.
With little to play for in the league, Arsenal
were unable to find enough momentum to
maintain their recent revival, even though
Lacazette opened the scoring in the 14th
minute.
Just moments after he was left writhing on the
turf following a crunching challenge from
Kenedy, Lacazette exacted revenge.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ran onto a long
ball into the Newcastle area and picked out
Lacazette, who stretched to volley home at the
far post for his 13th goal of a difficult first
season following his move from Lyon.
Alex Iwobi almost doubled Arsenal’s lead
moments later with a stinging strike that forced
a good save from Martin Dubravka.
Jonjo Shelvey’s long pass picked out Dwight
Gayle in the Arsenal area and, with Gunners
defender Shkodran Mustafi out of position, he
was able to lay off to DeAndre Yedlin.
Perez made a perfectly-timed run to meet
Yedlin’s cross with a fine finish that flashed by
Petr Cech at his near post.
The Spanish forward’s third goal in his last
three appearances was a clinical effort, but
Wenger would have been furious with how
easily Newcastle carved open his defence.
Calum Chambers could have restored Arsenal’s
lead before the interval, but the defender shot
wide from Mustafi’s knock down.
Ritchie tested Cech before 18-year-old Arsenal
midfielder Joe Willock’s poor finish wasted an
opportunity to mark his Premier League debut
with a goal.
Iwobi lashed narrowly wide from long-range as
Arsenal chased their first away point of 2018.
But it was Newcastle who landed the knockout
blow in the 68th minute.
More sloppy Arsenal defending let in Islam
Slimani and his header was flicked on by Perez
to Ritchie, who beat Cech from close-range.
Ritchie clearly saves his goals for the big
occasion, having scored the winner against
Manchester United in February.
Kenedy, on loan from Chelsea, came close to
putting the result beyond doubt with a looping
effort that hit the crossbar with Cech beaten.
Lacazette should have equalised in the closing
stages, but he shot into the side-netting.

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