After a 2-0 victory over Newcastle on Sunday thanks to goals from Martin Odegaard and Fabian Schar, Arsenal maintained its lead over Manchester City in the Premier League standings.
The Arsenal are battling for their first league championship in 19 years despite the fact that City has a game in hand on top of their slim lead.
With a three-point lead over fifth-placed Liverpool, Newcastle’s second home loss of the year slows the Magpies’ march towards Champions League eligibility for the following year.
Just a month prior, Arsenal enjoyed an eight-point lead, but they had only won one of their previous five league contests, allowing the title to escape their control.
But Mikel Arteta’s team proved that they had improved in the year after their loss at St. James’ Park cost them a spot in the top four.
After only three minutes, Jacob Murphy hit the inside of the post for the visitors, and the hosts thought they had a penalty when Bruno Guimaraes’ shot touched Jakub Kiwior’s arm.
A VAR review, though, granted the Polish defender a reprieve since it looked that the ball struck his thigh first.
Odegaard took aim from long range and arrowed the ball low beyond Nick Pope’s left hand on minute 14 to give Arsenal the lead after riding their luck to that point.
Pope subsequently needed to make a number of significant stops in order to keep Newcastle in the game before the break.
The English custodian rose to his feet three times to prevent one-on-ones with Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, and Bukayo Saka.
At the half, the relentless tempo continued, and inside the first six minutes of the restart, both teams struck the woodwork.
Alexander Isak’s header hit the post before Aaron Ramsdale made an incredible stop to keep Arsenal ahead off Fabian Schar.
Martinelli finally beat Pope at the opposite end, but the ball rebounded off the crossbar.
Before Martinelli’s next stroke of genius resulted in the pivotal second goal, tempers on both sides of the spirited battle began to rise.
After sprinting halfway across the pitch, the Brazilian delivered a low cross that Schar could only direct into his own goal.
Newcastle still has a chance to finish in the top four even though Arsenal still needs help from City in the final stretch to attain their objective.
For the first time in 20 years, Eddie Howe’s team will likely need just six points from their next four games to secure Champions League participation.
If Manchester United defeats West Ham later on Sunday, they risk dropping to fourth place.