Arsenal showed no sign of raising the white flag in the Premier League title race with a 2-0 victory at Newcastle United on Sunday to close the gap on leaders Manchester City to one point.
Defeat would have left Arsenal’s hopes of a first title since 2004 hanging by a thread but Martin Odegaard’s brilliant strike and a Fabian Schar own goal sealed a vital victory.
Newcastle, bidding to cement third place and take a big step towards a top-four finish, dominated early on but Odegaard’s sweet strike after 14 minutes gave the visitors the lead.
Schar then inadvertently turned in Gabriel Martinelli’s cross with 20 minutes remaining.
City, who have won 10 straight games to catch and then overhaul Arsenal, have 82 points from 34 games with the Gunners on 81 having played a game more.
Newcastle remain in third spot on 65, helped by fourth-placed Manchester United’s surprise 1-0 defeat at lowly West Ham United later on Sunday.
If ever there was a test of the resolve of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal team it was a trip to St James’s Park to face a Newcastle side on a roll in their quest to return to the Champions League after an absence of two decades.
A howler by Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea gifted West Ham United three vital points in their battle against relegation as the hosts secured a 1-0 Premier League win at the London Stadium on Sunday.
United are fourth on 63 points after 34 games, one ahead of Liverpool and with a game in hand over the Merseysiders, while West Ham are 15th on 37 points, seven above the drop zone.
Visiting forwards Marcus Rashford and Antony hit the post in the first half but De Gea’s error will capture the headlines as it reopened the chase for Champions League places.
Said Benrahma’s bouncing shot from distance looked to be no real threat but although Spaniard De Gea dived and got a hand to it he failed to keep the ball out as West Ham took the lead.
“It’s part of football. You have a lot in your head but football is a game of mistakes,” United boss Erik ten Hag told the BBC.
“There’s a team, you have to bounce back and deal with the effect. You can also say in front of goal we weren’t clinical enough.”