An excellent second-half performance from Arsenal, whose increased intensity and quality was too much for Newcastle ensured they ran riot at the Emirate Stadium on Sunday evening.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring with a quite superb header in the 54th minute, and the match was all but over when Pepe made it 2-0 three minutes later.
The scoreline was given a slightly flattering sheen by late goals from Mesut Ozil and a delighted Alexandre Lacazette.
How the victory at the Emirates happened:
Fresh from the mid-season break, Arsenal returned to Premier League action on Sunday and claimed a valuable victory as goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil and Alex Lacazette saw off a resolute Newcastle side.
Mikel Arteta had spoken in his pre-match media duties of expecting a low block from the visitors, and that’s exactly what his team faced during a frustrating first half.
The Magpies were tightly disciplined and positionally aware, keeping chances to a minimum and posing a threat themselves on the counter.
Indeed, they came close to breaking the deadlock when a corner was chipped to the edge of our area for Sean Longstaff to take aim – and with the ball deflecting off Dani Ceballos, Bernd Leno had to react fast to push it around the post.
Gradually Arsenal began to find some joy towards the end of the opening 45, with Saka curling one shot just over and Eddie Nketiah having a half-chance, only for Martin Dubravka to save.
Arsenal definitely turned up the heat after the restart, and within minutes carved out their best opportunity of the game so far as Pepe picked out Nketiah in the box, but the young striker’s shot clipped the bar from close range.
But it mattered not as, less than a minute later, Arsenal took the lead when Pepe found Aubameyang at the back post with a searching cross and the Gabonese buried his header into the far corner.
The mood inside the Emirates lifted in that instant, and moments later Arsenal doubled their advantage as Saka brilliantly nutmegged his marker to get into the area and then picked out Pepe to slam the ball in from close range.
Newcastle responded, and David Luiz was called on to make a superb intervention to deflect Ciaran Clark’s close-range effort around the post before the dangerous Allan Saint-Maximin hit the post with a curling effort not long afterwards.
Arsenal went ahead to wrap up the victory in injury time when Pepe fed Alex Lacazette in the box, and the striker turned and found Ozil to poke in from close range.
There was still time for Lacazette to end his scoring drought with a late strike, as Arsenal sealed a morale-boosting win to set us up nicely for the club’s next trip to Athens later in the week.
Arsenal are now 10th on the Premier League standing, 7 points behind Chelsea who are on 4th spot.