Sports Desk, May 7 (EFE).- Miracle work by Aaron Ramsdale, along with Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard kept Arsenal in the catbird seat on its 2-0 road outing against Newcastle United at St. James Park on Sunday.
The key win over No. 3 Newcastle got Arsenal within one point of table leaders Manchester City, last year’s Premier League champions.
Odegaard hit from long distance in minute 13 to put the visitors on the board, where matters rested until the 72nd minute, when Newcastle’s Fabian Schar knocked in an own-goal that gave Arsenal its icing-on-the-cake tally.
Despite the long middle stretch of no scoring, it was a fast-paced game with lots of excitement, as Newcastle looked strong while Arsenal is simply refusing to give up on its dream of knocking off Man City – which downed Leeds 2-1 on Saturday – and taking this year’s title.
It was the most “complicated” match Arsenal had to deal with out of all the games remaining this season, and they came out on fire but only managed to survive the home squad’s own electricity thanks to the net-defense work of Ramsdale, who made significant stops throughout the contest, as well as Odegaard’s and Martinelli’s brilliant play.
Jacob Murphy hit the post on a shot for Newcastle quite early on and then the hosts had a handball penalty ruled out after VAR review.
Each team had good chances during the first half, although Martinelli and Bukayo Saka were stymied on their shots by Newcastle netminder Nick Pope, who also blocked what could have been a telling strike by Odegaard just before the break, and then Ramsdale saved a shot by Joe Willock and knocked away a close-range header from Schar.
The dogfight match – with its surges back and forth – was a crucial one, since Newcastle is battling to secure a Champions League berth and was the most difficult team for Arsenal to pick off out of all those still facing Mikel Arteta’s men.
Meanwhile, hosts West Ham dealt a serious blow to Manchester United’s hopes of finishing the season in the top four with a 1-0 victory at London Stadium on Sunday.
Although United came out looking good, Erik ten Hag’s men could not seem to get the initiative on their side and David de Gea’s mistake in minute 27 allowed Said Benrahma to easily send the ball past him and into the twine from distance for the match’s lone score.
After the intermission, West Ham went looking for a second tally but Tomas Soucek had his shot on goal fended off by De Gea and Michail Antonio hit the cords but had the goal ruled out.
The No. 15 home team established a great defensive mesh late in the contest, a somewhat stunning development for No. 4 Man United, who – had they prevailed – would have leaped into third place a point ahead of Newcastle.
As it stands, West Ham picked up the three points, moving themselves a bit farther above the relegation threshold where they can breathe more easily.
With the loss, United is just one point to the good over No. 5 Liverpool, having played one match less than Jurgen Klopp’s side.