- Cazorla and Giroud score twice each
- Perez with reply for Newcastle
- Newcastle won just once on last 15 trips to Arsenal
- Gunners record back-to-back home PL wins for first time this term
- Arsenal fans chant “There’s Only One Arsene Wenger”
BRACES from Oliver Giroud and Santi Cazorla moved Arsenal to within two points of the Premier League’s top four as in-form Newcastle were swept aside.
Giroud headed home Alexis Sanchez’s cross to open the scoring after quarter of an hour and Cazorla’s clipped finish doubled the advantage soon after the break.
France striker Giroud flicked home Hector Bellerin’s delivery at the near post before Ayoze Perez replied for the Magpies by nodding in Jack Colback’s free-kick.
But Spain midfielder Cazorla added gloss to the three points for the Gunners late on with a fantastically executed penalty following Paul Dummett’s foul on Danny Welbeck.
Arsene Wenger’s team are now level on points with fifth-placed Southampton after recording back-to-back home league wins for the first time this season.
After Tuesday’s excellent Champions League victory at Galatasaray, it provided another boost for the north London side and their beleagured manager in the wake of last weekend’s dismal defeat at Stoke.
Towards the end, there was even noticeable chants from the home crowd supporting the Frenchman of “There’s Only One Arsene Wenger”.
The Magpies ended leaders Chelsea’s unbeaten record last time out but – despite enjoying some positive spells – suffered a setback to a run which had seen them lose just one of their previous 10 games.
Having had an identical record to Arsenal prior to kick-off, the visitors remain in seventh place ahead of an important week against Tottenham in the Capital One Cup and Sunderland in the Tyne Wear derby next Sunday.
November’s manager of the month Alan Pardew – who celebrated his fourth anniversary on Tyneside this week – has now seen his team concede 14 times in their last three trips to the Emirates Stadium.
Pardew handed a first Premier League start to goalkeeper Jak Alnwick – with Tim Krul and Rob Elliot both injured – but the 21-year-old was picking the ball out of the net before long.
After Per Mertesacker saw an earlier near-post header come back off the underside of the crossbar, Giroud – who netted home and away against the Magpies last season – hit the jackpot from six yards to reward Arsenal’s bright start.
Their first goal netted in the first-half of a league game since the end of October was almost swiftly followed by another but Welbeck’s effort was chalked off by referee Lee Mason for what he adjudged was a foul on Daryl Janmaat in the build-up.
Cheikh Tiote was fortunate to escape punishment for a high challenge on Sanchez which went unseen by the officials.
The Gunners could have been further out of sight as Welbeck hooked a volley inches wide from over his shoulder 15 yards out.
Mathieu Debuchy made a first league start in three months as a makeshift centre-back against the club he left last summer with Calum Chambers suspended.
That tactical variation was to accomodate 19-year-old Spanish right-back Bellerin, who was a rampaging presence down the flank and almost opened his account after a promising run forward which was halted by Mike Williamson.
Newcastle – who had won six of their previous eight matches – silenced the home crowd towards the end of the first half during a strong spell and could have drawn level.
Home keeper Woijech Szczesny made a superb double save to thwart Williamson’s header and a close-range effort from Magpies top scorer Papiss Cisse.
Arsenal also survived penalty claims when the ball appeared to strike Welbeck on the arm as Colback swung a free-kick into the box.
Newcastle – without the suspended Moussa Sissoko – began the second period on the front foot but the optimism dissipated when Sanchez slid through Cazorla, who cutely finished after skipping away from Magpies skipper Fabricio Coloccini.
Arsenal killed off the challenge when Giroud reacted to instinctively guide Bellerin’s cross over the outstretched arms of Alnwick for his sixth goal in five appearances against the Toon Army.
Spaniard Perez gave Pardew’s team a glimmer of belief when stooping to steer Colback’s centre into the corner – his fourth goal of the campaign since arriving from Tenerife in the summer.
The Gunners were well on top, though, with substitute Lukas Podolski and Mathieu Flamini firing long-range efforts narrowly wide of the target.
And Cazorla made his 30th birthday even more memorable with a sumptuous spotkick in the 88th minute – wrapping up a victory which was as impressive as it was comfortable in the end.
There was still time for Wenger to hand a Premier League debut to teenage midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the closing stages as well as the returning Francis Coquelin, who was recalled from a loan spell at Charlton because of injury problems.
But after three defeats from their previous five league outings, it was a welcome return to form in the top-flight for Arsenal – despite remaining 13 points off top spot.
Substitutes: Podolski (Giroud 73′), Coquelin (Sanchez 87′), Maitland-Niles (Oxlade-Chamberlain 90+1′)
Not used: Martinez (GK), Ajayi, Sanogo, Campbell.
Booked: Bellerin (36), Oxlade-Chamberlain (56)
Goals: Giroud (15, 58), Cazorla (54, 88 pen)
Substitutes: Cabella (Sammy Ameobi 56′), Riviere (Cisse 56′), Armstrong (Perez 82′)
Not used: Woodman (GK), Haidara, Anita, Vuckic.
Booked: Tiote (59), Janmaat (81)
Goals: Perez (63)
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire) – 7.5/10