A disappointing defeat at St James’ Park means that finishing in the top four is no longer in our own hands.
After a lacklustre first half, the hosts went ahead after the break through a Ben White own goal. We threw caution to the wind after that, but our fate was sealed with Bruno Guimaraes fired home with our defenders desperately retreating.
It means we are relying on Norwich beating Tottenham on the final day of the season while we beat Everton.
In truth we were second best for most of the night. There was an early scare when Aaron Ramsdale got caught in possession by Miguel Almiron, but the ball screwed across the face of goal and wide.
The hosts – playing their final home game of the season – were full of intent, snapping into tackles and Joelinton had a goalbound shot blocked by Ben White.
Our first chance fell to Bukayo Saka, after an excellent one two with Martin Odegaard, but his curler was blocked away for a corner.
Saka then had a low shot easily saved as we slowly looked to get back into the game.
Ramsdale made a fantastic low save at his near post from the lively Allan Saint-Maximin, after it looked as though Martin Odegaard was fouled in the build up.
Mikel Arteta was forced into a first half change when Takehiro Tomiyasu pulled up with an injury. He was replaced by Cedric.
Newcastle had dominated the first half in terms of possession, and to be honest were controlling the game.
We had mustered just one shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, and Arteta responded by bringing on Gabriel Martinelli early in the second half.
He injected some pace into the game, but it was Newcastle who opened the scoring. Joelinton got away down the left and his teasing cross was diverted past Ramsdale by the boot of the sliding Ben White at his near post.
It was now desperate measures for the Gunners. Alexandre Lacazette replaced Nuno Tavares and Nicolas Pepe came on as a fourth sub as Newcastle had used a concussion replacement.
We had to take chances and nearly got caught out – Ramsdale saved from Callum Wilson who then saw a dipping effort drop just wide.
Odegaard had a good chance blocked before Newcastle sealed the win with Bruno Guimaraes’s blast inside the box.
We huffed and puffed after that, but without seriously troubling Martin Dubravka in the Newcastle goal, as our challenge for the top four fizzled out.
WHAT IT MEANS
We complete the season at home to Everton on Sunday. We need to win, while also hoping that Tottenham lose away to bottom-placed Norwich, to ensure a top four finish. We can’t finish lower than fifth.
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