Arsenal falter in UEFA Champions League race with defeat to Newcastle United
Mikel Arteta has blasted his Arsenal side for giving up a season’s work in a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle which is set to see the Gunners miss out on Champions League football for a sixth successive season.
Tottenham remain two points above their north London rivals in fourth place in the Premier League.
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Spurs now only need a draw with already-relegated Norwich on Sunday to claim a top-four finish on their superior goal difference.
Arsenal’s defeat also guaranteed Chelsea third place in the Champions League next season.
Ben White’s own goal and Bruno Guimaraes’ late strike were the difference between the teams.
But the manner in which Newcastle’s performances have been even more impressive as Eddie Howe’s men have sent the message that they could be fighting for a top four spot next season.
“A really hard night to swallow,” Arteta said. “Newcastle deserved to win comfortably. They were much better from the first minute, we had nothing in the game.
“They were much better than us in everything a football game demands. We couldn’t cope tonight with the game we had to play here.
Arteta’s men were in charge with three games to go as they trailed Spurs by four points.
But Tottenham’s 3-0 victory in the derby on Thursday mounted the pressure on the unresponsive young Gunners.
“Newcastle were 10 times better than us and the performance was far from what we need to play in the Champions League,” added Arteta. “We weren’t at the races.”
Only Manchester City and Liverpool have earned more Premier League points than the Magpies in 2022 since they started splashing the wealth of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in the transfer market.
Other big signings are expected to arrive at St. James’ Park in the coming months, but Arsenal’s budget in the transfer market could be badly hit by missing out on Champions League riches again.
“It was a brilliant all-around performance. It was front foot, we never let go and that’s the nicest thing,” Howe said.
“We have to improve and work incredibly hard to improve everything about the team over the summer. It’s a huge club, we have big ambitions, but I have to focus on how we do it rather than talk.”
Newcastle’s takeover under Howe had lacked scalp against one of the Premier League‘s traditional top six.
But they got that and more as Arsenal were lucky to escape without a more comprehensive defeat.
Aaron Ramsdale was almost embarrassed when Miguel Almiron blocked his clearance early on.
But the England international kept his side in the match with a superb save to prevent Allan Saint-Maximin at his near post.
The hosts’ pressure was finally rewarded when Joelinton’s dangerous low cross just slipped past Callum Wilson and flew to his own goal off the hapless White.
Newcastle are firmly entrenched in the middle of the table, but looked like the team with more at stake as they continued to surge forward.
Wilson fired from the center of Guimaraes, then sent a bold effort 40 yards floating inches from the post.
Meanwhile, Ramsdale produced another great one-on-one save with Jacob Murphy.
A second Newcastle goal seemed only a matter of time and it duly came five minutes from when Wilson was again denied by Ramsdale, but Guimaraes swept the rebound for his fifth goal since a transfer from Lyon in January .
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