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.
|Hughes availability ´absolutely huge´ for England, says Alphonsi|
|Former football coach Bennell sentenced to 31 years|
|Why didn´t Jimmy Butler play in NBA All-Star Game?|
|Returning Ringrose added to Ireland Six Nations squad|
|Hummels wary of ´top European team´ as Bayern prepare for Besiktas|
|In-form Kvitova withdraws from Dubai|
|WATCH: ´Crazy´ Evra drives to West Ham training in London cab|
|Barca clash a chance for Chelsea ´to do things right´, proclaims Rudiger|
|Lucas claims Tottenham can win Champions League|
|Federer the ´complete player´ with number-one return - Schuettler|
|LeBron relishes one more link-up with Irving|
|Barcelona tie will not decide Conte´s Chelsea future, says Deco|
|Cordner signs bumper deal with Roosters|
|Lewandowski won´t be distracted by Real Madrid rumours|
|Bennett signs on until 2019 with England|
|Man Utd must not underestimate Sevilla - Navas|
|Coleman demolishes 20-year-old 60m world record|
|Red Bull reveal ´special edition´ livery on 2018 car|
|Iniesta will not be made welcome at Stamford Bridge, warns Azpilicueta|
|Ballack sees ´a big difference´ between Bundesliga and Premier League|
|Karmichael Hunt faces no conviction, but will remain sidelined|
|Betis boss would have preferred to face Madrid´s BBC|
|Chelsea v Barcelona: Messi´s blues against the Blues|
|James leaving Madrid was the best thing, says father|
|He´s looking good – Zidane thrilled with Ronaldo|
|It needs to take 30 seconds – Matic wants quicker VAR|
|Team LeBron edges Team Stephen in thrilling All-Star Game|
|McIlroy sees progress despite failing to contend at Riviera|
|Silver supports NBA players speaking out on social issues|
|Mickelson ready for Masters after third straight top-six finish|
|Gattuso: My job is to be the players´ nightmare until season´s end|
|I wasn´t good enough – Guardiola reveals Wigan rejection|
|Dillon reigns supreme with overtime win at Daytona 500|
|Bubba Watson ends drought with third Genesis Open title|
|Brazilian derby between Vitoria and Bahia abandoned after red-card frenzy|
|Anderson ends barren spell with New York Open triumph|
|It was crazy, but I like that - Zidane revels in eight-goal Betis thriller|
|Asensio credits Zidane for Madrid´s thrilling Betis comeback|
|Zidane hopeful over Marcelo hamstring injury|
|Overton replaces injured Plunkett for Blacks Caps ODI series|
|Bonaventura claims Milan can catch Inter|
|Bravo for Claudio! Guardiola to pick keeper at Wembley|
|Mourinho hoping for reinforcements at Sevilla|
|´Quick-healer´ Groves hopeful over shoulder injury|
|Real Madrid become first side to score 6,000 goals in LaLiga|
|Real Betis 3 Real Madrid 5: Asensio at the double in LaLiga classic|
|AC Milan 1 Sampdoria 0: Bonaventura makes it 10 unbeaten for Rossoneri|
|Schurrle excited to finally link up with Reus and Gotze|
|Fit-again Hughes included in England squad|
|New number one Federer revels in ´unbelievable´ week|
|Real Madrid defender Marcelo suffers hamstring injury|
|Costa fumes referees ´want to give me a card´, but Simeone plays down penalty row|
|Thiem regains Argentina Open title|
|Stoger makes Dortmund history with Gladbach win|
|Championship Review: Leeds fight back for point, Norwich & Ipswich share derby spoils|
|Racing beat La Rochelle to go second, Castres edge out Bordeaux|
|Borussia Monchengladbach 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Burki unbeatable as Reus returns to haunt Foals|
|FA Cup ´magic´ no surprise to Pochettino after Rochdale thriller|
|Rochdale hero Davies: This is every kid´s dream|
|Atletico Madrid will not stop in pursuit of Barcelona, promises Gameiro|
|Banks boot pays dividends for Treviso|
|Lucky 13 and second successive title for Kvitova after Muguruza classic|
|´Wrong image´ to blame for VAR confusion in Manchester United´s FA Cup win|
|Rochdale 2 Tottenham 2: Davies denies Kane in FA Cup classic|
|Rieder stretchered off as Wasps extend Chiefs´ slump|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Athletic Bilbao 0: Gameiro and Costa settle cagey clash|
|NHL commissioner Bettman condemns ´reprehensible´ Smith-Pelly abuse|
|Visser, Scott and Nel among six recalled by Scotland|
|Bhuvneshwar and Dhawan inspire India´s Wanderers win|
|Napoli set club record with another Serie A win|