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Arsenal players ‘living the dream’ after underlining title credentials with impressive win

Arsenal underlined its place in this year’s English Premier League title race with a statement 4-1 win against Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

The game against one of the richest clubs in world football was a potential banana-skin, especially considering Arsenal was coming off the back of a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Porto in the Champions League just days before.

But when the chips were down, Arsenal’s players stepped up to produce one of the best performances from any team in the league this year. It was a victory full of swagger and a warning shot to its title rivals.

“We are all living the dream, we have all been dreaming of being here on the biggest stage in the best league in the world,” Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard told TNT Sports after the match.

“You see every week how competitive it is, how good it is, and that is where we want to be. We want to fight for trophies and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Arsenal now sits just one point behind second-placed Manchester City and two points off league leader Liverpool.

And courtesy of scoring 18 goals in its last four league games, the North London club also boasts the best goal difference in the division, possibly an important factor as this year’s title race looks set to go down to the wire.

Arsenal produced an overwhelming performance against Newcastle on Saturday. - David Klein/Reuters
Arsenal produced an overwhelming performance against Newcastle on Saturday. - David Klein/Reuters

Saturday’s win against Newcastle was so much more than just an emphatic scoreline.

Arsenal looked imperious in almost every aspect of the match, smothering its opponent and creating chance after chance in front of its boisterous home fans.

In the past, Newcastle has been a side that has overpowered Arsenal, but there was little sign of that in their latest meeting.

The only surprise from a full-throttle first-half was that Arsenal only led by two – courtesy of a fumbled own goal and a superb team move finished off by Kai Havertz.

Newcastle’s players looked desperate to get into the locker room at half-time for some temporary reprieve from the onslaught and looked slightly better as the second period got underway.

But it wasn’t long before Arsenal’s players stepped up the pace again and it found itself four goals ahead before the 70th minute, thanks to Jakub Kiwior’s header and Bukayo Saka’s impressive solo effort.

A toothless Newcastle did eventually did get on the scoresheet after former Arsenal player Joe Willock got a late consolation goal in the 84th minute.

“The team is hitting form, we are in a good moment, the players individually are performing,” a happy Arteta told reporters after the game.

“It’s not any secret that things are flowing at the moment, we are scoring goals in various ways, and we want more.

“We score one and we want to go for the second and third and the fourth one and I love that mentality from the team.”

Another false dawn? Maybe not

In truth, there have been many false dawns at the Emirates Stadium in recent years. Last year, for example, Arsenal had been eight points ahead in the title race but ended up falling way short of eventual champion Manchester City.

Many fans are therefore rightly cautious about their team’s chances of winning a league title for the first time since 2004, but things do look slightly different this season.

In addition to the unquestionable talent in the squad, there seems to be a resilience that’s been missing in recent years. Such a trait is perhaps best demonstrated by Arsenal’s formidable defensive duo William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes, who both possess a healthy arrogance and are comfortable imposing themselves on the opposition.

The one thing missing is perhaps a recognized world-class striker but Arsenal’s attacking players, led by young star Saka, are more than making up for it at the moment – Arsenal has now become the first Premier League team in history to score 2 or more goals in seven consecutive halves.

As well as coaching his team into a well-oiled winning machine since taking over in 2019, Arteta has worked hard on building back the relationship between the players and a once-fractured fan base.

The noise inside the stadium on Saturday is testament to that work and the club is now moving in unison, with the only direction being up.

“We want the best club in the world, and to be the best club in the world we have to have the best stadium and best atmosphere in the world, that’s for sure,” Arteta said.

“Thank you so much to everybody that turned that around with that attitude and that energy.”

Arsenal faces Sheffield United and Brentford in its next two league games, before hosting Porto in the second-leg of the Champions League last-16 tie.

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