Arsenal made Everton pay for their defeat at the weekend by picking up a 3-0 victory over Newcastle United that strengthened their hold on fourth place in the Barclays Premier League.
Roberto Martinez's men scored two own goals as Everton fell to a 2-0 defeat at Southampton on Saturday, meaning victory for Arsenal over beleaguered Newcastle sees the north London club pull four points clear in the chase for a UEFA Champions League berth with two matches remaining.
The result never looked in doubt after Laurent Koscielny's simple finish sent the hosts into a 26th-minute lead at Emirates Stadium, with Mesut Ozil doubling the advantage before the break. And the three points were settled midway through the second half, when Ozil turned provider to tee up an Olivier Giroud headed goal.
A sixth consecutive Barclays Premier League defeat for Newcastle, for whom manager Alan Pardew was back in the dugout following a seven-match ban and striker Loic Remy back in the starting line-up, represented the club's longest losing league run since 1987.
However, clear-cut opportunities proved difficult to come by for both sides until the 18th minute, when Ozil drilled an effort wide of the right-hand post after Koscielny had collided with goalkeeper Tim Krul in the penalty area.
And defender Koscielny was in the mix in the Newcastle penalty area again eight minutes later as he broke the deadlock, this time making the most of lacklustre marking to poke home from a Mikel Arteta free-kick.
Lukas Podolski pulled wide of the target as Arsenal chased a quickfire double and the German drew a strong hand from Krul with a powerful header from a corner soon after.
Cheick Tiote evoked memories of his stunning equaliser in Newcastle's famous 2011 4-4 draw with Arsenal when he stung the palms of Wojciech Szczesny with a thunderbolt of an effort from 30 yards, but the home side doubled their advantage three minutes before the break.
Giroud failed to find a way past Krul after having two bites at the cherry, but the ball fell kindly for Ozil to tap-in from inside the six-yard box, although the midfielder appeared marginally offside.
Yoan Gouffran surged forward in a rare Newcastle attack 10 minutes into the second half, but Szczesny made himself big to deny the Frenchman. And it was all over for Newcastle in the 66th minute, when Giroud nodded home from an Ozil cross.
Pardew will be hoping his players can now bounce back with victory against struggling Cardiff City on Saturday, while little doubt remains over Arsenal's credentials in the race for fourth.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "I would not like to take anything away from Aaron Ramsey but we lost a number of other players in the same period and altogether I think that would harm the chances of many teams.
"We would love for the season to be longer. We were top of the league but lost too many players at the crucial point of the season."
"We had some problems at the start of the game, trying to find our way through the defence. When we found an opening we became stronger.
"We are four points ahead of Everton and we want to take maximum points from now until the end of the season."
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew: "I've lost six on the trot as manager of Newcastle and I accept that [the fans] are disappointed and angry at the moment that we haven't got a result. But I think that the bigger picture is that we're in a good position in the summer and we need to focus on finishing in the top 10.
"Of course you're under pressure, it's a big club. [The fans] expect perhaps sometimes things we can't quite deliver, but we're trying our hardest and we're going to work hard this summer to make sure we've got a team next year that can make this city proud.
"The most important thing for us right at this minute, at this club, is to get our fans [back onside] - hopefully they come and back us and help the players get a win, because I feel for the players at the minute. They're playing under a lot of pressure, there's a lot of pressure on me, and they can sense that too.
"I think on Saturday [at home against Cardiff City] we'll be really up for it and hopefully we can get a win."
|11 May 2014||v Norwich (A)|
|04 May 2014||v West Brom (H)|
|21 Dec 2014||v Liverpool (A)|
|26 Dec 2014||v Arsenal (H)|
|28 Dec 2014||v West Ham (A)|
|01 Jan 2015||v Southampton (A)|