LONDON: Less than a month ago Arsenal were 10 points behind third-placed Tottenham in the Premier League; now that gap has been reduced to one point after the Gunners’ last-gasp 2-1 win over Newcastle United in north London.
Thomas Vermaelen converted a cross from Theo Walcott in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Arsenal had gone behind to a first-half strike from Hatem Ben Arfa but levelled 55 seconds later when Robin Van Persie scored from another Walcott assist.
Walcott said later: “Tottenham have got to be watching over their shoulders now. With the squad of players we’ve got – and we’ve got a lot of players coming back to fitness now – we believe that we can go much further. It’s been an up and down season but the way you finish is the most important thing.
“We’re just getting our jobs right. Defensively we’ve been fantastic. We know we can always score goals but lately we’ve not been conceding too many, and that stat’s fantastic.”
This was Arsenal’s fifth successive league win and the recovery made them the first team to come from behind to win in four successive Premier League matches.
Vermaelen said: “We showed the mentality of fighters. It’s the fourth time we’ve come back from 1-0 down. In the second half we were pushing and pushing. We knew we had to be patient and in the end we will score a goal, and that’s what happened today.”
Manager Arsene Wenger said: “It was a game of absolute commitment on both sides. You have to give credit to Newcastle as well. It needed something special to beat them tonight – and what beat them was our relentless effort just to win the game.”
Asked about man-of-the-match Walcott, Wenger said: “He was outstanding from the first to the last minute. It’s one of the best, best games I’ve seen of Theo because I felt tonight he had absolutely everything in his game – combined well, crossed well, was always in the game.
“He’s making good progress; he’s an intelligent boy. People forget he is very young – 23 years old.”