Dennis Bergkamp scored as Arsenal returned to winning ways with an impressive display against Newcastle.
Bergkamp brilliantly collected Mathieu Flamini's sublime pass before guiding the ball past Shay Given.
The Newcastle goalkeeper was in brilliant form, saving from Flamini, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires.
Given directed a Henry shot against the post and continually thwarted Arsenal while Lee Bowyer almost equalised late on but Manuel Almunia saved.
Arsenal, who move back into second and are now 10 points behind Chelsea, should have won by a far superior margin but came up against Given in top form.
Arsene Wenger - aware of the importance of winning the match - made four changes from the team that lost at Bolton.
And they took charge of the contest from the start, almost scoring in the first minute of the game.
Pires failed to direct his far-post header on target, but the ball fell to Flamini just yards from the Newcastle goal.
The 20-year-old Frenchman twice tried to stab the ball home but Given saved on the line.
The home team controlled possession and continually asked questions of the Newcastle defence, with Jean-Alain Boumsong struggling to cope with the pace of the game.
And it was not long before Arsenal scored.
Bergkamp ran on to Flamini's exquisitely-weighted pass, controlling the ball with his first two touches before steering it past Given with his third.
Given saved a well-struck drive on the turn from Henry before Newcastle mustered a couple of half-chances before the break.
Lee Bowyer shot well over after a Shola Ameobi cutback, while the striker later had a headed chance but made a poor contact.
And it was Arsenal who came closest to a second before the break but Pires' vicious long-range strike swerved inches wide of Given's goal.
Patrick Vieira put Henry through on goal with a slide-rule pass after the break and the striker seemed certain to score.
But Given got a hand to the striker's measured shot and reacted quickly to collect the ball after it rebounded off the post.
The Republic of Ireland keeper made an even better save after 65 minutes to deny Pires from seven yards.
Henry tangled with Given but his appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears and Newcastle's problems mounted when Boumsong limped off injured.
Arsenal continued to dominate but both Henry and Ashley Cole miscontrolled at the crucial moment.
Still Given continued to frustrate Arsenal - another one-handed save from Henry thwarting the home team.
Bowyer almost punished Arsenal's failure to score a second goal - latching on to Ameobi's pass before shooting only for Almunia to make a tidy save low down.
Arsenal: Almunia, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Cole, Pires, Vieira, Flamini, Reyes (Fabregas 89), Bergkamp, Henry.
Subs Not Used: Lehmann, Van Persie, Cygan, Eboue.
Booked: Reyes, Vieira.
Goals: Bergkamp 19.
Newcastle: Given, Taylor (Hughes 45), Boumsong (Andrew O'Brien 67), Bramble, Bernard, Dyer, Bowyer, Jenas, Robert (N'Zogbia 56), Ameobi, Shearer.
Subs Not Used: Kluivert, Harper.
Booked: Taylor, Bowyer, Jenas.
Ref: S Dunn (Gloucestershire).