In pictures: Newcastle v Arsenal
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was left fuming with his players after they squandered the chance to move back ahead of Tottenham in the top four race with a 2-0 loss at Newcastle. The result leaves the Gunners needing to win at home to Everton on the final day in the hope that Tottenham lose to bottom side Norwich at Carrow Road.
The Gunners went into the clash having lost a huge game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday evening to give their rivals a lifeline in the race for the top four. With Tottenham beating Burnley on Sunday afternoon, Arteta’s men knew they needed to take their share of the spoils against a resurgent Newcastle side who have blossomed under Eddie Howe.
And they failed to do just that, with goals from Callum Wilson and Bruno Guimaraes either side of half time giving the Magpies a deserved win under the lights at St. James Park. Arteta’s men now have a mountain to climb on Sunday having seemingly had the Champions League in their grasp for the first time since 2016-17.
And the Spaniard rued his team’s performance, labelling it as ____ in what is now surely considered a dour end to the season. “It was a really difficult night to swallow, Newcastle deserved to win,” Arteta told Sky.
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“They were comfortable from the first minute to the last minute, we had nothing in the game. They were much better in every department, they were better in duels, second balls, they managed to do so, we were poor with the ball. We had nothing.
“A lot of things happen during the night, substitutions through injury but it’s not an excuse. Newcastle deserved to win from the beginning, they were much better for what the match requires to be on top of that. It’s true that we could not cope tonight with the game we had to play here.
“We tried to change some things and it didn’t make it better. We hoped at the start of the second half [that it] would be better and we knew what we had to do. But the execution was so poor, the goals we gave away were extremely poor.”
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Injuries to Takehiro Tomiyasu, Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey and a suspension to Rob Holding in midweek have not helped their cause in the race to finish above their north London rivals.
And it seems as though the Europa League will beckon for them next season, unless Norwich do the unthinkable against Antonio Conte’s side.
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