Arsenal shook off the challenge from a dogged Newcastle side to score four second-half goals and climb back into the top half of the table.
In a clash between eleventh and twelfth in the table, it was Arsenal who came out on top, despite Newcastle causing plenty of plenty of problems in the first-half.
Hector Bellerin struggled to keep tabs on the unpredictable Allan Saint-Maximin, who offered his side’s best chance of scoring by racing past his marker and fizzing an inviting ball across goal, without a teammate in support.
Despite mustering several attempts on goal, the Gunners failed to really test Martin Dubravka.
Eddie Nketiah was a shock inclusion in the starting lineup, and had Arsenal’s best early opportunity, but his shot was straight at the Toon keeper, before Dubravka tipped Nicolas Pepe’s free-kick over the bar.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates with teammates after opening the scoring (Image: Offside via Getty Images) But Arsenal were soon in command after the break, thanks to two quick-fire goals before the hour mark.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang broke the deadlock with a towering header into the far corner following Pepe’s lofted cross.
Pepe then turned to scorer from provider, steering home Bukayo Saka’s cross just a few minutes later .
Nicolas Pepe steers in Arsenal’s second (Image: Action Images via Reuters) Newcastle had their chances to pull themselves back in contention, with Ciaran Clark spurning a glorious opportunity from close range.
Saint-Maximin then rattled the woodwork as his curling shot pinged back off the upright when Bernd Leno was beaten all ends up.
But it was Arsenal who would add to the scoring, as Mesut Ozil started and finished a move in the dying minutes of normal time.
The German midfielder drove forward, before finding Pepe, who in turn found sub Alexandre Lacazette.
Mesut Ozil scores Arsenal’s third goal (Image: Getty Images) His hopeful cross into the box was met by the sidefoot of Ozil to guide it past Dubravka, who perhaps should have done better.
Lacazette Then got on the scoresheet himself deep into stoppage time, with Pepe again supplying the assist.
A break down the right culminated in Pepe squaring for his teammate, who scuffed a shot off his own standing foot and into the top corner to wrap up all three points.
Nicolas Pepe inspired a quick-fire Arsenal double before Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette struck in injury time to down Newcastle 4-0 on their return to action after the winter break.
After a subdued first-half, club-record signing Pepe set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a powerful headed opener before slotting from the penalty area after outstanding work from Bukayo Saka out wide.
The Gunners struggled to assert their dominance on the game apart from their excellent minutes after the break.
But they ultimately emerged with a vital three points in a week where their Champions League hopes were given a shot in the arm by Manchester City’s impending ban.
Mesut Ozil ended a lengthy goal drought to seal a result which moves Mikel Arteta’s side just a point behind ninth placed Manchester United, who head to (Chelsea) on Monday night.
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Despite Arsenal’s malaise, established as one of Premier League’s top keepers.
Lots of energy down the right, did we ll to keep up with Saint-Maximin.
Seems to be enjoying better spell under Arteta. Solid and went close. (Luiz 7) Decent understanding with Mustafi. Words you never thought you’d read. (Saka 7) Wonderful run and assist on the second goal, big prospect.
Booked. Silly yellow for a pull back, struggled first half, got better.
Celebrated opening goal like it meant the world. Very good second half.
Always looking for openings and angles, the best creator by far.
(Pepe 8 – MOTM)
Scored, provided an assist, the £ m man is finally getting there …
(Aubameyang 7) ()
Scored 49 th goal of the s eason, should he really be playing wide, though?
His first Premier League start, should have scored. Not quite ready.
There’s the final whistle, and it’s a win for Arsenal, and a convincing one at that.
A frustrating first half was quickly forgotten when quick-fire goals from Aubameyang and Pepe put them into a commanding lead just before the hour mark, from which they never looked back.
Saint-Maximin came close to reducing the deficit, rattling a curling shot off the post , but it was Arsenal who would have the final say, as late strikes from Ozil and Lacazette topped the victory.
Arsenal climb back into the top half of the table With their win, which is no less than they deserved.
(Image: Offside via Getty Images) )
And that truly seals it.
Nice play from Pepe to find his teammate Lacazette, who fluffed his shot into his own foot, but got enough on it for the ball to spin into the top corner .
(Image: Getty Images)
Ozil has rounded off the scoring and added the cherry on the cake for Arsenal’s win.
The German playmaker steamed forward, before turning in Lacazette’s hopeful centred cross after the Frenchman had combined with Pepe.
Dubravka should have done better with Ozil’s sidefoot finish, but Arsenal won care.
Corner from Newcastle is met by the head of Hayden, but Leno claims calmly.
Saka now on the break and skips past Hayden.
His inviting ball across goal is just too far in front of Lacazette to get a touch, but great work from the youngster.
Ritchie cuts in from the right and unleashes an ambitious effort on goal, which sails wide.
Sums up Newcastle’s desperation now.
Saka has earned himself a booking for his part in the altercation, but is fine to continue.
Ceballos heads off to a round of applause – he’s had a good afternoon – and Torrei ra is on in his place.
Schar is now also on for Clark, who has been forced off with that injury.
Clark seemed to come off the worse, and the physio is now calling for a stretcher for the Toon defender.
Pepe dallies. on the ball and Newcastle intercept to break with Almiron.
Joelinton produces a touch like a trampoline though, and loses possession immediately.
The game is getting stretched now with little over minutes of normal time remaining.
The Fr enchman cut inside Mustafi and curled one towards the far corner, only to be denied by the woodwork.
Xhaka is back to his feet and back on the field after seemingly shaking off that issue.
He made a desperate block to stop Longstaff’s shot, but this now looks worrying for Mikel Arteta.
Meanwhile a pitch invader is drawing plenty of cheers from the crow as he keeps the entertainment flowing.
Exquisite outside of the boot pass from Ozil finds Pepe, who feeds Aubameyang.
The skipper then lifts a cross over Dubravka, which hits the top of the bar before going out for a goal kick.
Clark is gifted an opportunity to score inside the Newcastle box, but gets it all wrong.
Luiz got a foot to it which diverted the effort wide, but if anything it was going wider before the intervention.
Chance goes begging.
Well just like that Arsenal are now in control of this fixture, and it would take some effort for Newcastle to overturn this deficit.
The home side have looked sharp since the break, perhaps Arteta has thrown a few teacups at half-time ….
GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle (Pepe, 80)
Just like buses … two Arsenal goals come along at once.
They were straight on the attack again after the first – Ceballos picking out Bellerin, whose cross was put behind.
From the corner the ball then made it’s way out to Saka on the left, who slipped past the defense and laying the ball back for Nicolas Pepe to sidefoot home from inside the box.
GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle (Aubameyang, )
Arsenal have the lead, and it’s their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who has grabbed the goal.
Pepe lofted a high cross into the box from the right, and Aubameyang leapt highest before powering a header down past Dubravka and into the far corner.
(Image: Getty Images)
Almiron spanks the ball off referee Lee Mason inadvertently, with the official then puling up play to give the ball back to Newcastle.
Not often you see that.