Arsenal ended a tough week on a high by maintaining its push for second place in the Premier League with a 2-1 win at Newcastle United.
Olivier Giroud netted a double as Arsenal put its midweek UEFA Champions League misery behind it with a hard-fought 2-1 Premier League win at Newcastle United.
Arsene Wenger's men exited the Champions League at the last-16 stage to Monaco on away goals despite a 2-0 victory at the Stade Louis II on Tuesday.
But they quickly rebounded from that disappointment by overcoming a depleted Newcastle side Saturday, as Giroud made it eight goals in six games against the Tyneside club.
The France striker scored his brace in the space of four first-half minutes, breaking the deadlock with a cleverly flicked effort into the bottom-right corner.
Giroud then made it 2-0 by capitalizing on some slack Newcastle defending to head home and give the hosts a mountain to climb.
Moussa Sissoko provided some hope for the St. James' Park crowd when he halved the deficit shortly after the halftime interval.
Yet, despite a much improved second-half showing, Newcastle could not complete the comeback as Arsenal stayed within a point of second-place Manchester City.
Arsenal had slightly the better of an open start to the contest but Newcastle's makeshift back line, which saw Daryl Janmaat move to center back and midfielder Jack Colback take his right back spot, coped well with the early pressure until Giroud pounced in the 24th minute.
Giroud demonstrated good striker's instincts to deflect Danny Welbeck's header from Santi Cazorla's right-wing free kick beyond Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul.
And, shortly after Welbeck had volleyed an Alexis Sanchez cross wide, Giroud doubled his tally.
Again Newcastle failed to deal with a set piece, with Giroud seeing off the attention of defender Mike Williamson to nod Cazorla's delivery into the bottom-left corner.
Newcastle's effort did not drop after falling two behind and the club was rewarded three minutes into the second half by Sissoko, who met Remy Cabella's right-wing cutback with a cool first-time finish.
Ayoze Perez then curled over the crossbar with a spectacular 25-yard strike before Yoan Gouffran shot straight at David Ospina from close range.
Ospina was called into action again, producing an excellent reaction save to keep out Mike Williamson's header, with Janmaat the next to go close with a vicious long-range drive.
Newcastle continued to push forward in search of an equalizer, but Arsenal stood firm to put the pressure on fourth- and fifth-placed Manchester United and Liverpool, who meet at Anfield on Sunday.