Four-star Arsenal ease pressure on Wenger with defeat of Newcastle

Relations remain icy between Neil Warnock and Mark Hughes after draw between Crystal Palace and Stoke City

Santi Cazorla of Arsenal celebrates scoring his team's second goal with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the English Premier League match against Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on December 13, 2014, in London, England. Paul Gilham / Getty Images
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Two goals each from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla gave Arsenal a 4-1 English Premier League victory over Newcastle last night, restoring unity at the Emirates Stadium after scattered fan discontent followed last weekend's loss at Stoke City.

Arsenal are still out of the top four, but a sixth successive Premier League victory over Newcastle nudged Arsene Wenger’s side within two points of the Uefa Champions League places.

"One Arsene Wenger" was being sung as Arsenal completed a fifth win in six games in all competitions, a run that defied the perceptions of a crisis engulfing a team without a league title since 2004. And this was an emphatic victory – following Tuesday's 4-1 Champions League rout of Galatasaray – coming against a Newcastle side that ended Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season a week ago.

Elsewhere, manager Neil Warnock criticised Stoke for “time-wasting from the start” in their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace in a withering jibe at old foe Mark Hughes. Warnock was left frustrated after Palace failed to claim victory in a dismal draw, with Peter Crouch’s tap-in quickly cancelling out James McArthur’s first goal for Palace.

Warnock said in midweek that relations remain frosty with Hughes, a feud that developed in April 2013.

Hughes succeeded Warnock at QPR in January 2012 but lasted less than a year at Loftus Road.

The former Manchester United striker was then linked with replacing Warnock for a second time, at Leeds in April 2013.

That prompted Warnock to proclaim he hoped Hughes “destroys another team of mine”. The Welshman was not appointed, but the feud was still set.

The pair shook hands ahead of Saturday’s kick off but could not even look at each other.

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