New­cas­tle hit back to de­feat Ar­se­nal

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

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.

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