Gary Neville singles out one Arsenal star for praise after Arsenal’s crucial win over Newcastle United
‘He added so much leadership, experience and composure. All day long he’s been demonstrating to the rest of his team-mates what he wants from them and they’ve lacked that in recent weeks
The Gunners needed to win at St James’ Park to keep pace with their formidable title rivals Manchester City and secured the three points thanks to Martin Odegaard’s strike and a Fabian Schar own goal.
Jorginho, who joined Arsenal from London rivals Chelsea in January, started ahead of Thomas Partey and received high praise from Neville.
‘My player of the match is Jorginho,’ the former Manchester United and England defender said on Sky Sports.
‘It was so important today for Arsenal. Not just to get closer to Man City but for themselves, to know they can come to a big away game and win, after what happened at Anfield and the Etihad.
‘He added so much leadership, experience and composure. All day long he’s been demonstrating to the rest of his team-mates what he wants from them and they’ve lacked that in recent weeks.
‘He was the Player of the Match by a mile today.
‘They’ve been wobbling Arsenal and they were on the ropes at times today but Jorginho has brought calmness and leadership to them just at the right time.’
Jorginho, meanwhile, said: ‘The most important thing is that we go home with three points, as we wanted. We know this league, we know we can’t win every game playing beautiful football.
‘I am really pleased to see that our team can play these type of games and understand it is not always possible to just go through with passes. Sometimes you need to fight. I am proud to see us fight to the end.
‘This atmosphere is so beautiful. It motivates us to play and gives us fire inside. I have played a few [big games] before. We dream this as a kid and now it is time to enjoy it, it is beautiful.’
Arsenal’s title challenge has been threatening to implode after three successive draws and a heavy loss to Manchester City but Mikel Arteta’s side have now beaten Chelsea and Newcastle since the wobble.
For Newcastle, their fifth defeat of the season means they fail to extend their advantage over fourth-placed Manchester United and fifth-placed Liverpool with four games of the season remaining.
‘The moments were there for us,’ Newcastle boss Eddie Howe said. ‘We had a lot in the game.
‘They didn’t go in and we are hugely frustrated with that part of our game. We probably didn’t defend as well as we have for the majority of the season, either. We were good without being at our very best.
‘We have performed so well throughout the season. The players have been incredible for us. The consistency, mentality and attitude have been there.
‘Now we have to go another level and that is always going to be hard. That is the challenge we face.
‘When you look at the four games we have, we will need the crowd and to stay united. Incredible support we have had all season. The noise was there today. We just needed to score and it would have helped us take off.’
Arsenal return to action next Sunday against Brighton while Newcastle will look to bounce back the previous day against Leeds United.