Arsenal picked up just their seventh Premier League victory of the season on Sunday with a quick-fire second-half double to break Newcastle’s resistance at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners have been the division’s draw specialists this campaign having been held 13 times and it looked to be going the same way after a goalless first half.
But the hosts sprung into action immediately after the restart with Eddie Nketiah’s no-look strike from Nicolas Pepe’s cutback clipping the top of the crossbar.
Mikel Arteta’s side broke the deadlock on 54 minutes through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s well-placed header and Pepe doubled the lead just three minutes later with a neat, first-time finish.
Mesut Ozil poked in a third late on from substitute Alexandre Lacazette’s pass and the Frenchman converted a fourth in injury-time.
Newcastle attempted to play further forward after conceding but were restricted to few opportunities – the dangerous Allan Saint-Maximin coming closest with a curling strike that rattled the post.
Arsenal’s win moves them up into the top half of the table in 10th place – six points behind north London rivals Tottenham, who claimed a last-gasp winner over Aston Villa to go fifth.
Arsenal have suffered a wretched season in the top-flight, 16 points and six places worse off than at this stage under Unai Emery last season.
A poor start this term led to the Spaniard’s dismissal and although they had lost just once under replacement Arteta, they had drawn seven games since his appointment in December.
Before the game, only the bottom two sides Watford (5) and Norwich (4) had won fewer games than Arsenal and even this victory was not plain sailing. There were plenty of groans from the home supporters when it looked like their side were still shaking off the comforts of their winter break in Dubai as they demonstrated a lack of cohesion in the final third.
Bukayo Saka curled narrowly wide, Pepe had free-kick tipped over by Martin Dubravka and Shkodran Mustafi saw his hooked shot headed off the line by Joelinton.
But Arsenal came out with renewed focus in the second half and scored twice before the hour mark to put the game to bed – Aubameyang powering in a header for his 15th league goal of the campaign from Pepe’s hanging cross.
And it was Pepe, the club’s £72m record signing, who turned from provider to goalscorer following sublime work by Saka, who nutmegged Valentino Lazaro and provided the perfect cross for him to tuck home.
Aubameyang could have further extended his tally for the season but his cross-come-shot landed on top of the crossbar.