By London correspondent Tony Hughes

An outstanding performance from Laurent Koscielny helped a below-par Arsenal defeat Newcastle 1-0 on Saturday and extend their lead at the Premier League summit.

The Gunners were outplayed by the visitors for much of the clash at Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the visitors dominated the midfield battle and created a series of fine opportunities.

But some brilliant defending from Koscielny, augemented by some excellent saves from Petr Cech in goal, kept Newcastle at bay.

The Arsenal centre-back then broke the deadlock at the 72-minute mark when he read Olivier Giroud’s headed knock-on from a corner and crashed the ball into the goal.

Arsene Wenger’s team closed out the game to seal a win that could prove crucial in the title race.

The Gunners are now two points clear at the Premier League summit on 42 points after Leicester were held to a goal-less draw by Bournemouth.