Callum Wilson says Newcastle 'proved everybody wrong' after Arsenal win extends fine form

Eddie Howe's side claim deserved 2-0 win over Gunners at St James' Park on Monday night

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Newcastle striker Callum Wilson believes the club have proved "people wrong" after their impressive turnaround in form culminated with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 Premier League win over Arsenal on Monday night.

Mired in the relegation zone after 23 matches this season, Newcastle have been one of the Premier League's form teams since the Saudi-backed takeover and the subsequent arrival as manager of Eddie Howe, who led a successful recruitment drive during the January transfer window.

After failing to win any of their first 14 matches, Newcastle registered their 12th victory of the campaign by beating Arsenal at St James' Park thanks to a Ben White own goal 10 minutes after the interval and a Bruno Guimaraes finish five minutes from time. It was Newcastle's first win this season against opponents in the top six.

"We took the game to Arsenal and deservedly got the three points," Wilson told the BBC. "Everybody wrote us off at Christmas and it was about proving people wrong. Now it's about not resting on our laurels. The boys are putting their bodies on the line - I've had a tooth knocked out and a split lip. It was like a war out there.

"The manager has stabilised us. He's brought in some great players and instilled a style of play and philosophy at the club. Why not cause upsets higher up the league and take the game to Arsenal?"

Wilson has been absent for large parts of the season, firstly through a hamstring injury before a calf injury kept him sidelined for four months. Now back in the Newcastle line-up, the England striker said the difference is clear between the current setup and the team's early season struggles.

"I've noticed a difference [coming back into the team]. I'm getting a lot more chances and we're keeping the ball better," he said. "I watched Arsenal the other night and I knew their centre-backs had injury problems. As a striker I was licking my lips.

"I've worked so hard [to get back to fitness]. When you're out injured you want to come back and make a difference."

Newcastle manager Howe was unsurprisingly lavish in his praise for his players and believes the win over Arsenal can be a watershed moment for the club's new era, with ambitions to gatecrash the established elite.

Newcastle v Arsenal player ratings

"It was a brilliant all-round performance. We played with intensity and never let up. We approached the game in a brilliant manner and we did the Premier League proud tonight," he said. "The one thing missing from us was that we hadn't beaten a top-six team - and we deservedly beat them.

"It's been a brilliant thing to be part of [Newcastle's recent form]. We've done it through team spirit and unity. We'll remain very calm in this moment because it's a brilliant win but that's all it is. We have to work to improve in the summer. We're a massive club with big ambitions but my job is to focus on how we do it rather than talk."

While there were plenty of reasons to celebrate for Newcastle, the defeat could prove damaging to Arsenal's top four hopes. The Gunners, in fifth, trail rivals Tottenham by two points heading into the final game of the season, and their vastly inferior goal difference means they will need to beat Everton and hope Spurs lose to already-relegated bottom side Norwich.

"Incredibly disappointed. The way we started to the finish, Newcastle were better. They deserved to win by a mile. It's a really difficult one to accept," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said.

"We have to put our head down and accept the performance was nowhere near the standard required for the Champions League. From tomorrow we'll prepare for Everton. It's still mathematically possible."

Updated: May 17, 2022, 5:05 AM
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