Arsenal swat aside Newcastle as pressure on Pardew mounts

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Arsenal swept aside a lacklustre Newcastle in comprehensive fashion as Alan Pardew came under fire from his own fans after yet another defeat.

Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud guided the Gunners to a 3-0 home win over Pardew’s side, who have now lost six in a row for the first time in 17 years.

The victory moves Arsenal within touching distance of a top four finish, while Newcastle’s season continues to peter out in the most laboured fashion.

After 25 minutes of little note, Arsenal sprung into life to destroy Newcastle’s brittle resistance before the home crowd had time to get tetchy. Santi Cazorla whipped in a delicious deep cross and Koscielny got the faintest of touches to guide the ball past Tim Krul.

From there, the Gunners kicked hard and Newcastle crumbled. Krul denied Lukas Podolski twice in quick succession before his German international teammate Mesut Ozil doubled the lead on 42 minutes.

Olivier Giroud broke clear with Newcastle’s high line caught horribly exposed, only for the Frenchman to be denied twice by the in-form Dutch stopper. However, cruelly for the Magpies, the ball popped out to the unmarked Ozil, who had the simplest of chances to tap home.

There was still time for Arsenal to muster another chance before the half - and for Krul to bail out his side once again. The bright Cazorla saw his rasping shot tipped wide by the Magpies keeper, and Arsenal went into half-time with a two-goal cushion.

Pardew, back on the sidelines after his seven-match ban for “that” headbutt, was subjected to a few uncomplimentary chants from the away end. It sounds like there’s going to be quite the party if Mike Ashley bins him off this summer, at least according to the 2,000 who travelled on this particular Monday night.

It’s not very nice watching a manager wander around his technical area while his own fans bombard him with “you’re getting sacked in the morning” but then again, Newcastle have been wretched on this six-match pointless run.

In the second half, Yoan Gouffran briefly threatened, but the Gunners were always comfortable. Heading towards a four-point cushion over Everton with two to play, Giroud extended the Gunners’ advantage to three with 20 minutes played in the second half.

A lovely move involving Aaron Ramsey and Ozil led to the German whipping in a teasing cross that Giroud nodded home. He looks like a different striker with Arsenal’s two most dynamic midfielders back in the team.

That prompted a flurry of substitutions and the game meandered towards its conclusion. The positives for Pardew and Newcastle can be summarised thusly: the season is nearly over. But the pain these performances bring must linger, and he’s a man under serious pressure.

His popularity could hardly be any lower, and he may not survive the summer. For the Gunners, Champions League qualification can now be wrapped up with a victory over West Brom on Sunday afternoon.

The FA Cup final looms on the horizon, and after a mid-season wobble, the campaign’s conclusion could set up a sweet summer for the Gunners fans.

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