Last-gasp Vermaelen goal earns Arsenal crucial win
March 12, 2012 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Thomas Vermaelen was in the right place at the right time to score a crucial late winner for Arsenal against Newcastle.
- A last minute Thomas Vermaelen goal sees Arsenal defeat Newcastle 2-1
- The win sees Arsenal close gap to third-placed Tottenham to just one point
- Getafe claim a 2-1 success at Villarreal in the Spanish Primera Liga on Monday
- Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven sack coach Fred Rutten following a run of defeats
(CNN) -- A last minute Thomas Vermaelen goal gave Arsenal a vital 2-1 Premier League home win over Newcastle on Monday, a result that closes the gap on third-placed Tottenham to just a single point.
Central defender Vermaelen pounced from close range to finally end the resistance of a stubborn Newcastle side who had defended superbly in an absorbing encounter.
Arsenal enjoyed the majority of possession but it was Newcastle who opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Hatem Ben Arfa cut inside from the right and fizzed in a low shot that beat goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny at his near post.
But, within a minute, Arsenal had drawn level and yet again it was Robin van Persie who scored for the Gunners.
The Premier League's top scorer produced great skill to hold off defender Mike Williamson before firing home his 26th league goal of the season and 33rd in all competitions.
Arsenal continued to pose the bigger threat after the break, although Newcastle looked dangerous on the counter-attack.
Tomas Rosicky nearly celebrated signing a new Arsenal contract when firing wide from close range, while substitute Gervinho somehow missed the Newcastle goal from six yards out.
Then Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul pulled off a brilliant save to tip over a powerful Vermaelen header.
But Vermaelen was not to be denied and, with just a minute of injury time remaining, Arsenal broke clear through Theo Walcott, and the England international's cross was met by his Belgian teammate who had made a 50-yard run to get into the penalty area.
Arsenal, who also became the first team in Premier League history to win four games in a row after conceding the opening goal, are now three points ahead of Chelsea in the race for fourth place, with Newcastle a further five points behind in sixth place.
Elsewhere in Europe, Getafe secured their first Spanish Primera Liga win since January with a 2-1 success at struggling Villarreal.
Goals from Diego Castro and Abdelaziz Barrada proved enough for the Madrid-based side, who are now up to 13th in the table, while Villarreal remain just three points above the relegation zone.
Meanwhile, Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven have dismissed coach Fred Rutten following a run of three straight defeats.
Rutten, who took over as coach in April 2009, is replaced by his assistant Phillip Cocu until the end of the season, after recent losses to FC Twente (6-2), Valencia (4-2) and NAC Breda (3-1).
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.