(Reuters) – - A blistering first-half volley by Mesut Ozil gave Arsenal a 1-0 home win over Newcastle United on Saturday and lifted them into the Premier League’s top four while it also piled more misery on the struggling Magpies.
The result lifted Arsenal to fourth place on 33 points from 18 games, one ahead of surprise package Burnley and five behind third-placed Chelsea, with Newcastle, on 15 points, plunging into a relegation scrap.
Germany midfielder Ozil unleashed an unstoppable shot past visiting goalkeeper Rob Elliot in the 23rd minute as Arsenal celebrated their 10th successive top-flight win over Newcastle, who have now taken one point from their last nine league games.
Alexis Sanchez had a shot blocked by a visiting defender and following an aerial duel, the ball fell kindly to Ozil who showed a touch of class to crash his effort into the top corner.
Arsenal’s first league win in four games pleased their manager Arsene Wenger, who singled out Ozil and talented 20-year old left back Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who produced another fine performance for the Gunners.
“Overall we deserved to win – we had plenty of chances,” Wenger told the BBC.
“Ozil’s goal was a gem, that was a great goal. Ainsley Maitland-Niles could have had a goal, he was sharp.
“The strange thing in our last games is that our displays have been good but we didn’t win. That’s why it’s important to win today.”
The dominant home side missed several chances in either half while the visitors came close against the run of play in the 56th minute, when Arsenal keeper Petr Cech parried a fierce low shot by Spanish striker Joselu.
Maitland-Niles nearly scored in the first half after a darting solo run, with Sanchez and Jack Wilshere also coming close before Joselu had another dangerous shot deflected wide at the other end.
“It was physically difficult today after three games in six days,” said Wenger.
“In the last 10 minutes we became edgy but overall, I feel we dominated.”
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic,; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)