Matt Ritchie caps Newcastle comeback as Arsenal's struggles away from home continue

Jurgen Klopp Pep Guardiola

On his selection, Wenger said: "He does well in training but the real step is in the competition".

With several senior players left at home and 18-year-old midfielder Joe Willock making his first-team debut, the Gunners did actually nudge themselves in front in the 14th minute when Alexandre Lacazette volleyed home a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cross...

However, following the Gunners' defeat in the North East, many Arsenal fans believe Benitez could be the man to take over from Wenger once he decides to leave. "I think it's very hard to combine Europa League on Thursday night and play again on Sunday".

Kenedy clipped the woodwork on the break but the miss counted for little, with Arsenal's faint top-four hopes all but over as they now face a battle to stay in the top six.

Arsenal had a couple of half chances, with both Aubameyang and Alex Iwobi unable to beat Martin Dubravka in the Toon goal.

Paul Merson
GETTY Paul Merson says Liverpool need to spend big in the summer

Ritchie, though stunned the Gunners with a second goal for Newcastle with 68 minutes played, as he smashed home past Cech, having picked up a Perez flick as Nacho Monreal's poor headed clearance fell for second-half substitute Islam Slimani, who nodded the ball down to the goalscorer.

Only two points short of reaching the magical total of 40 for the season, Newcastle responded in the flawless manner and found the equaliser in the 29th-minute when Perez's side-footed DeAndre Yedlin's cross in at Petr Cech's near-post.

The Spanish forward's third goal in his last three appearances was a clinical effort, but Wenger would have been furious with how easily Newcastle carved open his defence.

Arsenal remains sixth with 54 points.

Rafael Benitez has admitted that Ayoze Perez needs to be better in possession of the ball if he is to improve and kick on to the next level. The danger isn't over as Lacazette finds Iwobi who shoots wide from an acute angle.

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