Arsenal returned to winning ways in unconvincing fashion as Mesut Ozil's stunning volley gave them a 1-0 Premier League win over struggling Newcastle United.
The Gunners had failed to win in their last three league games but the visit of Newcastle side without a victory since October will have been viewed as a welcome one.
Most will have expected the floodgates to open when Ozil opened the scoring in magnificent fashion after 23 minutes.
But Arsenal struggled to put the game to bed as Newcastle produced the kind of battling performance their fans have wanted during a worrying slide down the table that has now seen them collect only one point from nine games.
The Magpies began the game just a point above the bottom three and their lack of reward for a commendable showing will do little ease to relegation fears.
For the Gunners, the result sees them avoid a vital slip up in the fight for the top four, though few will be convinced by the manner in which they emerged triumphant.
6 - Mesut Ozil has been directly involved in six goals in his last five Premier League games at the Emirates (2 goals, 4 assists). Cracker.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 16, 2017
Newcastle offered something of an early threat as Jamaal Lascelles forced Petr Cech to turn behind from Mikel Merino's free-kick.
Swift build-up play involving Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette was wasted at the other end as Alexis Sanchez rifled over the bar, before Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent a low drive narrowly wide.
But when the deadlock was broken it was done in some style.
Under pressure from Sanchez, Florian Lejeune was unable to clear his lines and his header sat up perfectly for Ozil to fire a stunning left-footed volley into the top corner from just inside the penalty area, leaving Elliot with no chance.
Granit Xhaka then drove an effort wide as Arsenal continued in the ascendancy, with Elliot required at the near post to deny Ozil a second before the break following a neat exchange with Lacazette.
The start of the second half saw Alex Iwobi almost profit from a ricochet that Elliot was unable to handle, but the Republic of Ireland international was able to gather the rebound.
Matt Ritchie was introduced from the substitutes' bench and wasted a chance to level when he hit over from the edge of the area.
Jacob Murphy did significantly better as he drew a low save from Cech as the energy of Merino caused Arsenal problems.
Newcastle were then almost caught cold, however, as Lacazette could not find the accuracy with his impudent attempt at a lobbed finish after Iwobi's throughball.
Iwobi was forced off through injury for Arsenal before an entertaining finish to the contest saw Jack Wilshere draw a fine reaction save from Elliot, before Laurent Koscielny headed wide.
Newcastle forward Joselu then saw an effort deflect narrowly off target at the other end as Arsene Wenger's men edged their way to a much-needed three points.
Key Opta stats:
- Arsenal have won 13 of their last 14 home Premier League games, losing the other to Manchester United.
- Newcastle are without a win in nine Premier League games (D1 L8), their longest winless run in league football since May 2015 (10).
- The Gunners have won each of their last 10 Premier League games against the Magpies, a run stretching back to March 2012.
- Rafael Benitez has never enjoyed a victory away to Arsenal in the Premier League in seven attempts, drawing two and losing five.
- Jack Wilshere started consecutive Premier League games for Arsenal for the first time since May 2015.
- Petr Cech has now kept 199 Premier League clean sheets.
|BREAKING NEWS: Kepa pens news Athletic Bilbao deal amid Madrid speculation|
|PSG star Mbappe holds no grudge against Lopes after Lyon collision|
|Messi makes football better, says beaten Real Betis goalkeeper|
|Goretzka accepts vitriol from Schalke fans after Bayern move|
|What am I getting for my birthday? Arsenal-bound Mkhitaryan celebrates with Pogba|
|Ince: Sanchez snubbed City because United are miles bigger|
|Bale: Madrid will get back to their best|
|Valverde: Messi is the best player there is and there ever will be|
|Emery: Lyon loss unfair on PSG|
|Spalletti defends struggling Inter amid six-game winless run|
|Fekir: Lyon still targeting Champions League despite PSG win|
|Wenger suggests Sanchez is joining Manchester United for money|
|Hazard: Chelsea don´t need to buy a striker|
|Rakitic hails ´patient´ Barcelona after Real Betis rout|
|Neymar? I´d rather watch the golf, says Bale|
|Mbappe injury from goalkeeper collision ´nothing serious´|
|Don´t look back - Guardiola gives Manchester City title warning|
|Vermaelen to face tests on new hamstring injury|
|Conte wants ´point of reference´ striker as Barnes joins surprising Chelsea links|
|Sane the perfect tonic to Sanchez blues for City and Guardiola|
|Suarez scores 100th LaLiga goal as Messi reaches new milestones|
|Lyon 2 Paris Saint-Germain 1: 10-man leaders downed by twin wondergoals|
|Inter 1 Roma 1: Vecino snatches point on possible Dzeko farewell|
|Real Betis 0 Barcelona 5: Messi, Suarez rampant as leaders go 11 points clear|
|PSG star Mbappe injured in goalkeeper collision|
|Monchi: Roma will replace Dzeko|
|Kessie a far better player than I was, claims AC Milan coach Gattuso|
|Neymar to Real Madrid stories manufactured by Spanish press, claims Marquinhos|
|Cagliari 1 AC Milan 2: Kessie at the double in comeback win|
|Watford hire Javi Gracia as Marco Silva successor|
|I am happy with our squad - Pochettino denies Malcom rumours|
|Not much changed - Zidane boosted by clinical Madrid|
|No chance of January move, says Vidal|
|Selfie or stitches? Ronaldo bloodied after Madrid brace|
|Heynckes hails Bayern win: This is what sets us apart|
|Southampton 1 Tottenham 1: Kane earns visitors a point|
|Silva assured of chances at AC Milan after latest first-team snub|
|Goretzka´s Schalke return marred by abuse|
|Real Madrid 7 Deportivo La Coruna 1: Seven-up for Zidane´s men as Bale shines|
|Muller brings up 100 Bundesliga goals in Bayern win|
|Bayern Munich 4 Werder Bremen 2: Lewandowski & Muller at the double to spare champions´ blushes|
|Do Arsenal or Man Utd get the better deal? Sanchez v Mkhitaryan in Opta numbers|
|Pele ´fine´ and in ´no pain´ after reported health concerns|
|No mercenary? Sanchez endorses article defending imminent Man Utd move|
|Allegri expects Buffon to be ´fully recovered´ within a week|
|Atletico Madrid confirm Costa hamstring injury|
|Atalanta 0 Napoli 1: Mertens ends drought to keep visitors top|
|Alexis Sanchez boards plane ahead of reported Man United medical|
|Hamburg dismiss Gisdol after fourth loss in a row|
|Melbourne City 5 Adelaide United 0: Budzinksi & Vidosic braces inspire emphatic win|
|Marco Silva sacked by Watford following ´significant deterioration´|
|Deschamps knows my thoughts - Lucas Hernandez hints at France decision|
|Klopp: Liverpool wouldn´t sell to rivals during season|
|Giggs keen to help Bale overcome injury woes|
|Klopp in no rush to replace Coutinho|
|Malcom dreams of Premier League but remains unsure of future|
|Guardiola sets target of 10 wins to guarantee title|
|Championship Review: Millwall break Leeds hearts in seven-goal stunner as Wolves lose|
|Messi and Pique welcome Coutinho to Barcelona training for first time|
|Thauvin ´very happy´ at Marseille|
|Guardiola salutes ´outstanding´ Manchester City|
|Watford still battling relegation from the top half, insists Silva|
|Rondon ´devastated´ after Everton´s McCarthy suffers horror injury|
|Aguero´s perfect hat-trick is Argentine´s 11th for Manchester City|
|Moyes impressed with Hammers display despite being held by Bournemouth|
|Dyche annoyed with Burnley´s ´big six´ results|
|Manchester City 3 Newcastle United 1: Aguero hat-trick sees pacesetters bounce back|
|Everton fans´ frustration understandable, says Allardyce|
|Wenger responds to Dortmund criticism over Aubameyang affair|
|Bordeaux appoint Poyet as new boss|
|Mourinho frustrated at United failure to ´kill´ Burnley|
|Simeone reveals Costa knock as Atletico bemoan dropped points|
|Lambert upbeat over Stoke´s quality after debut victory|
|Nothing happening with Aubameyang - Wenger|
|Mourinho, Wenger expect imminent Sanchez deal|
|Everton confirm McCarthy double leg break|
|Valverde talks of ´respect´ for Atletico as Griezmann saga turns again|
|Rafinha misses Barca training with Inter closing in|
|Neymar misses Lyon clash with thigh injury|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Girona 1: Griezmann substitution costs Simeone|
|Everton 1 West Brom 1: McCarthy horror injury overshadows cagey draw|
|Leicester City 2 Watford 0: Vardy & Mahrez decisive as Puel´s men go seventh|
|West Ham 1 Bournemouth 1: Hernandez proves his worth to Hammers|
|Burnley 0 Manchester United 1: Martial keeps up winning run|
|Arsenal 4 Crystal Palace 1: Early blitz means Sanchez is hardly missed|
|Stoke City 2 Huddersfield Town 0: Lambert makes winning start as Potters inch out of bottom three|
|Crisis, what crisis? Conte lambasts Chelsea critics|
|A goal, two assists and an injury - Monreal the Sanchez replacement at Arsenal?|
|Monchi has no interest in weakening Roma squad amid Dzeko reports|
|Hazard delights in Willian and Batshuayi link-up|
|No January exit for AC Milan´s Silva, assures Gattuso|
|Spalletti: Roma game will not decide Inter´s fate|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 0 Chelsea 4: Hazard dazzles as Conte´s men get back on track|
|Dortmund confirm Arsenal bid for Aubameyang|
|United target Sanchez remains absent for Arsenal vs Palace|
|Zidane quiet on ´great´ Neymar with BBC ready to return|
|Hazard scores 100th league goal as Chelsea find shooting boots|
|Zidane: I will never throw in the towel at Real Madrid|
|Willian marks 50th consecutive Premier League outing with a goal|
|Noble shares West Ham bonuses with club staff|
|Barcelona refute claims of Griezmann agreement|
|Courtois out for Chelsea as Caballero steps in to face Brighton|
|Real Madrid´s Vallejo suffers hamstring injury|
|A-League Review: Bobo hauls in Mariners as Jets are grounded|
|Captain Jack? Wenger talks up Wilshere leadership qualities|
|I prefer Fekir to Neymar - Lyon president Aulas fires another pre-match barb at PSG|
|Dortmund boss Stoger leaves door open for Aubameyang return amid Arsenal links|
|Neymar can play with Ronaldo at Real Madrid – Mijatovic|
|Dyche compares Sanchez-Man United move to Harry Potter|
|Schurrle annoyed at more dropped Dortmund points|
|Carrick expected to become Man Utd coach, reveals Mourinho|