Rafa Benitez breaks silence over Arsenal link

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They're away form is putrid to the point of record-breakingly horrid, and on current form it seems only a matter of time before they are overtaken by Burnley in sixth place.

Rafa Benitez's side were hoping to take advantage of Arsenal's exploits in Europe, with the Gunners only returning from Russian Federation on Friday after sealing their place in the semi-final of the Europa League with a 6-3 aggregate victory over CSKA Moscow. Are they not in desperate need of a general to deliver some home truths about their soft underbelly and actually start to look as though they have some semblance of a game plan again?

Newcastle: Martin Dubravka 7, DeAndre Yedlin 6, Jamaal Lascelles 7, Florian Lejeune 6, Paul Dummett 6, Jonjo Shelvey 7, Mohamed Diame 7, Matt Ritchie 7, Kenedy 7, Ayoze Perez 7, Dwight Gayle 7.

The second half began with the Gunners having all of the posession without creating any real chances as they lacked the cutting edge and out of nowhere, the home side took the lead in the 68th minute.

The 2-1 result saw Newcastle nudge their way into the top 10 with a fourth win in a row that all but seals their Premier League safety.

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"It's a massive achievement for the players, the city and the fans". Both are winnable, but I just think to Saturday - 2-0 up against a side who didn't really want to be there.

Arsenal has now lost all five of its opening away league matches in a calendar year for the first time since 1925 - a damning 93-year low that underlines its problems this season. That equals their worst tally of league defeats in a season under Wenger, who suffered 11 losses in 2005-06.

Two points separate the teams and Arsenal's focus is now on winning the Europa League to qualify for next season's Champions League.

"We paid a bit for the fact we played on Thursday night". "We only have ourselves to blame for not putting the game to bed by half-time".

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