LONDON (AP) — Arsenal remains on course for another season in the Champions League after beating Newcastle 3-0 at home on Monday.
The win puts Arsenal four points clear of Everton in fourth place with two games to play in the Premier League, a position which would qualify the club for Europe's top competition for the 17th straight year.
Having been contained for the first quarter of the match, the hosts found their rhythm after defender Laurent Koscielny gave the Gunners the lead in the 26th minute when he poked in from close range a well-placed free kick from Santi Cazorla. Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski went close to doubling the lead, notably when his powerful header from six-yards out was parried away by Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Arsenal went two up in the 42nd minute when midfielder Mesut Ozil tapped in from close range after Krul saved two efforts from Olivier Giroud, the second of which fell comfortably into the path of the Germany international. Ozil then became the provider in the 66th minute when his whipped cross was powerfully headed into the net by Giroud.
The win means that one more victory in the final two games will be enough to confirm a Champions League spot for Arsenal next season. Everton takes on Manchester City at home on Saturday in a game that also has huge implications for the title race between City, Liverpool and Chelsea. Arsenal then plays West Bromwich Albion at home on Sunday.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is taking nothing for granted, though.
"To get over the line is always difficult," he said.
As well as qualifying for the lucrative Champions League, Arsenal is hoping to lift its first trophy in nine years when it takes on Hull in the FA Cup Final on May 17 at Wembley Stadium.