Emery keen to push on as Gunners move third
Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle
Arsenal moved up to third in the Premier League table and boosted their chances of a return to the Champions League after they beat Newcastle 2-0 last night.
Aaron Ramsey, who will leave for Juventus in the summer when his contract expires, tucked away the opener before Alexandre Lacazette made sure of the points with a lofted finish.
The victory took Unai Emery's side above both Tottenham and Manchester United in the top-four race and extended their run of home league wins to 10.
In moving on to 63 points, the Gunners have equalled their tally from the whole of last season - Arsene Wenger's final campaign at the helm - and given themselves a good opportunity to end a two-year hiatus from Europe's elite club competition.
Only champions Manchester City can boast a better record in front of their own fans this season - but Arsenal have only two home games remaining and need to add to their five wins on the road if they are to maintain their top-four position.
Gunners boss Emery said: "We were good individually, our players gave us quality and they worked for the team. Our supporters at home are very important and we can be stronger together.
"We were improving little by little and our first goal helped us a lot. Mesut Ozil has quality, when he can find the best performance for the team, he is playing how we want with the system. He is giving us his quality.
"Aaron Ramsey is happy, he is helping us and is playing well and scoring. Getting energy from the players is very important for us and he is doing that. We are at the most important moment of the season.
"We are making progress in the table but we know it is difficult, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United are going to win a lot of games."
Lacazette, who netted the second, said: "It was a big game, a tough game. The coach said we had to be patient and efficient in the box and we did that. It's always like this against Newcastle.
"I can feel the difference in the atmosphere from last season, now we can maybe go to the Champions League. The fans helped us to get third. We work every day to be in third, now we must stay in this position.
"I would like to score away from home too but if we win that's all that is important. We are more confident, everybody knows what we have to do."
The second goal killed off any lingering doubts of a surprise late comeback from the visitors, who remain 14th - seven points above the relegation zone.
Newcastle defender Paul Dummett said: "That was tough. They punished us when we made mistakes. Mistakes were made at the back, me included.
"At 1-0 you always have a chance. The longer the game goes on the more pressure there is on them. They killed the game when they got the second. Arsenal are a good team and they stopped us from (attacking). We're still in a good position and there's six games to go."
Newcastle defended well but rarely got in behind an Arsenal defence which did not include captain Laurent Koscielny, who missed out due to a foot injury.
Ramsey finished well at the back post but saw his effort chalked off as referee Anthony Taylor noticed Sokratis Papastathopoulos tugging back Florian Lejeune in the build-up.
The Wales international did not have too long to wait to toast his fifth goal of the season as Lacazette broke into the box and the ball deflected off DeAndre Yedlin - with Ramsey slotting home off the post.
Newcastle responded well and Salomon Rondon bullied Sokratis out of possession to break in on goal, only to slip at the vital time and his shot was pushed behind by Bernd Leno.
While Arsenal struggled to make the final pass, they came close to doubling their lead on the stroke of half-time only for Matt Ritchie to brilliantly head Lacazette's effort off the line.
The hosts continued to be frustrated after the interval and Emery introduced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to inject more goalscoring threat.
Ramsey limped off soon after, heading straight down the tunnel to be replaced by Mohamed Elneny, with Aubameyang stinging the palms of Martin Dubravka.
Lacazette sewed up the win as he latched on to Aubameyang's header before lofting the ball over Dubravka, before the French striker had a header ruled out for fouling the keeper.
ARSENAL: Leno, Mustafi, Papastathopoulos, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Ramsey (Elneny 67), Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Ozil (Mkhitaryan 84), Iwobi (Aubameyang 61), Lacazette.
Subs not used: Cech, Suarez, Jenkinson, Nketiah.
Newcastle: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lejeune, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie (Kenedy 75), Perez (Muto 77), Hayden (Ki 67), Diame, Almiron, Rondon.
Subs not used: Shelvey, Fernandez, Manquillo, Darlow.
Man of the match: Ramsey
Match rating: 6/10
Referee: Anthony Taylor