Mikel Arteta registered just the second league win of his tenure as Arsenal manager, the Gunners running out 4-0 winners against Newcastle at the Emirates.
The Arsenal faithful have been encouraged by some improved performances since Arteta’s appointment in December, though coming into Sunday’s game, had seen their side draw five of the seven Premier League games under the Spaniard’s charge.
Fans will have been fearing another share of the spoils after the first-half showing at the Emirates, the two teams going in at the break goalless after an uninspiring display, though the Gunners certainly came out firing after the break, netting four unanswered goals.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring nine minutes into the second half, nodding home Nicolas Pepe’s cross, before Pepe would score one of his own just three minutes later.
Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette rounded off the scoring in 90th and 95th minute, the French striker having been left on the bench following a disappointing recent run of form, and speaking afterwards, the former midfielder discussed his exclusion from the starting XI.
“We wanted to put draws into wins and the home form is going to be vital,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “It was a little bit slow and you can get frustrated but we started to manage the game better after 25 minutes, had a talk at half time and improved in the second half.
“In the final third we were poor in the first 25 minutes. The most important thing is the reaction of all the players and staff towards him [Alexandre Lacazette], the players, everybody really likes him he works so hard for the team.”
The win leaves Arsenal seven points behind the top four places, and six behind fifth placed Spurs, a position which could unexpectedly offer up Champions League football following Man City’s European ban.
Arteta urged his team to ‘put a run together’ in the hunt of Champions League qualification, while insisting he had no conflicting feelings, despite spending three-and-a-half-years working under Pep Guardiola at the Etihad.
“Ten days ago I was disappointed with the draw at Burnley and it looked so far away. Now it’s up to us to put a run together,” Arteta said.
“Very difficult. [I am] Not conflicted at all. I want the best for Manchester City, for Pep, for the players. The only thing I want for them was positive and good things. I want us to do the best we can to achieve what we can deserve.”