Arsenal have dominated the first half of the match with a smart finish from Aaron Ramsey to take the lead in this encounter against Rafa Benitez-tutored Newcastle United.
Ramsey’s well-placed strike opened the scoring at the half-hour mark, after the midfielder was denied an earlier opener because of a Sokratis foul, and the Gunners were unlucky not to add to their lead before the break.
The Gunners are 45 minutes away from rising into third place as they chase a remarkable 10th successive league win at the Emirates.
Newcastle have offered nothing going forward and could really use another body in midfield to help better link their defence and attack. Taking off one of their centre-backs for someone like Shelvey or Ki could go a long way for them if they are to find a way back in this match.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek revealed what Maurizio Sarri said to him when he came on that helped him to net a dramatic late winner at Cardiff yesterday.
The 23-year-old popped up in the box in the first minute of stoppage time to thump home Willian’s cross. His pinpoint header sealed three important points that for a long time did not look like they would arrive.
Loftus-Cheek’s introduction off the bench midway through the second half added extra impetus to our attack, and the fact he was in the right place at the right time to strike the decisive blow was no coincidence.
“The boss said to me when I came on to tell Ross [Barkley] to sit a bit more, and try and get in the box as much as I can,’ he told Chelseafc.com.
“I did that.
“I had a feeling we were going to get chances, and I said to myself to get in the box and hopefully one would arrive.
“I was just focused on the ball and tried to attack the ball. I got a little bit of a shoulder drop in there and managed to get in front of him. I didn’t see it all the way, I closed my eyes, but it ended up in the net so all good!
“The first half was scrappy. It didn’t look like we were creating too many chances to score. We came out second half and conceded early again, but this time we stuck with it and managed to get two goals.
“I felt like we had the game in control late on and we had most of the ball, so chances were going to come. Eden coming off the bench helped. We stuck with it and we played more with the ball in their half as well.
“Cardiff defended very well, blocking shots, winning headers, winning duels, so it was difficult. We knew it would be. A win is a win and we take the three points. It will help massively. Top four is the aim and we need to continue to go for it.”