Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Arsenal's Arsene Wenger blames Newcastle defeat on fatigue from Moscow trip

Arsenal's Arsene Wenger blames Newcastle defeat on fatigue from Moscow trip

Newcastle's fourth successive win ended Arsenal's unbeaten run of seven games in all competitions.

Matt Ritchie's second half goal helped Newcastle United to a 2-1 comeback win over Arsenal at St. James' Park on Sunday.

On the other hand, Arsène Wenger made six changes to his side after their game in Russian Federation in midweek, with youngster Joe Willock given his first Premier League start having only been named on the substitutes bench once this season in the league.

Rafa Benitez's team passed the 40-point mark widely viewed as a guarantee against relegation and is 13 points clear of third-to-last Southampton with five games remaining.

Arsenal plays Atletico Madrid in the semifinals.

Arsenal: Petr Cech 6, Calum Chambers 7, Shkodran Mustafi 6, Rob Holding 6, Nacho Monreal 7, Granit Xhaka 7, Mohamed Elneny 8, Joe Willock 6, Alex Iwobi 7, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 7, Alexandre Lacazette 7.

The second half began with the Gunners having all of the posession without creating any real chances as they lacked the cutting edge and out of nowhere, the home side took the lead in the 68th minute.

Arsene Wenger blamed Arsenal's loss at Newcastle on fatigue following Thursday's Europa League trip to Moscow, but admitted that the manner of the defeat summed up their away form for the entire season. "Still feel you're capable of finishing above Burnley", - Match of the Day host and former Tottenham striker Gary Lineker fired over a sarcastic tweet as his former rivals sit sixth in the table and just two points above the Clarets.

Ritchie scored the victor against Manchester United on February 11 that kickstarted Newcastle's surge to safety and he did the same here, running onto Perez's flick off Islam Slimani's header to beat Petr Cech from 12 metres (yards).

Kenedy, on loan from Chelsea, came close to putting the result beyond doubt with a looping effort that hit the crossbar with Cech beaten.

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