Arsenal boss Arteta: Champions League qualification is 'possible' after blitzing Newcastle 4-0
(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insisted Champions League qualification feels nearer for his club after the Gunners blitzed Newcastle 4-0 at the Emirates on Sunday. 

Four second-half goals from club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil and a welcome strike from the previously misfiring Alexander Lacazette saw the home side ease back into the top half of the table. 

With Manchester City banned from next season's Champions League the prospect of the Gunners clinching the coveted fifth-place spot - and qualification to Europe's top tier club tournament - moved a little closer. 

Arteta certainly thought so.

Speaking after the match at the Emirates he said: "Today, you feel like [qualification] is a bit closer. We need to keep winning but the target is to improve performances," before he assessed the match, saying: "We talked about turning draws into wins and getting a result at home. 

"So, I'm very pleased with the win. I didn't like the game early on, but in the second half we attacked better and controlled the game."

Arteta praises Dani Ceballos and Mesut Ozil

Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos had his best game in an Arsenal shirt since he starred in a 2-1 victory over Burnley in north London back in August.

Ceballos was impressive in a deep-lying playmaker role, prompting a succession of attacks while attempting to be a nuisance in breaking down Newcastle forays. 

Ozil was another creative talent who shone against Steve Bruce's Magpies, displaying the finesse and vision which thrills Gunners fans.

The World Cup winner grabbed his first Arsenal goal this term after his tame shot saw Newcastle shot-stopper Martin Dubravka fail to prevent the ball from crossing the line. 

Arteta cautiously responded to Ozil and Ceballos playing in the same side. "It depends on how they train and play," he explained, adding: "Dani was key in that position and he's been playing well, so he deserved a chance."

Pepe shines for Arteta's Gunners

Record £72m wideman Pepe was another attacker who shone in the second half, as he provided the cross for Aubameyang to break the deadlock, before slotting home shortly afterwards. 

The summer signing from Ligue 1's Lille has had his critics this season, and had struggled to find his best form this season.

But boss Arteta was pleased with the winger's display against the side from the north East.

"We need him to be consistent and I have told him that," Arteta said. 

"He was superb today and made a difference."

Arteta also commended his captain Aubameyang, insisting his star striker was back to his best following his three-match ban picked up for a rash challenge on Crystal Palace's Max Meyer last month. 

"His ban didn't help his rhythm,' Arteta conceded, adding: "In Dubai he looked sharp and we saw a really good performance from him today."

Arteta hails Lacazette

The Arsenal head coach was also pleased for Lacazette after he grabbed a late fourth to end his frustrating goal drought - despite dropping the French striker to the bench in favour of starlet Eddie Nketiah prior to kick-off. 

Lacazette grabbed the fourth before peeling away in jubilation uttering a primal scream which framed his delight.

Arteta said: "The message is clear. Whoever trains well has the chance to play so Eddie got the chance. 'Laca' accepted the decision - but I told him he would come on and score and he did. 

"I'm so pleased with him."

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