Newcastle hit back to defeat Arsenal
PREMIER LEAGUE: Newcastle cemented their place in the top 10 with a 2-1 comeback victory over Arsenal at St James’ Park yesterday to ease themselves to 41 points – 13 clear of the drop zone.
This seemed a highly unlikely prospect back in December when a 1-0 away defeat to the Gunners saw the team complete a run of nine games that yielded just a single point.
Manager Rafael Benitez, who celebrates his 58th birthday today, said: “We were not expecting to be in the top 10, but at the same time I said we were dreaming, but we were awake and thinking that we could do it.
“If you see the way that the players were working for every single ball – and the fans and all the staff – everybody was pushing in the same direction and that is the key when you want to succeed in something.”
A first victory in 12 against Arsenal, who had won the last 10 meetings, and a first home success over the Gunners since December 2005, was secured by Matt Ritchie’s 68th-minute strike. Alexandre Lacazette had fired the visitors into a 14thminute lead, only for Ayoze Perez to restore parity.