Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-1 with late strike

FRANK GRIFFITHS Associated Press Published:

LONDON (AP) -- Arsenal center back Thomas Vermaelen scored a late winner in a dramatic comeback to beat Newcastle 2-1 on Monday, closing within a point of third place in the Premier League.

Vermaelen scored in the 95th minute in the dying seconds of extra time, when the ball fell to him right in front of goal, to give the Gunners their fifth consecutive league win.

The visitors opened the scoring in the 14th minute at Emirates Stadium when Hatem Ben Arfa's powerful left-footed volley beat Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny at the near post.

Arsenal immediately replied from the re-start when Robin van Persie blasted the ball past goalkeeper Tim Krul for his 26th league goal of the season.