Arsenal made Everton pay for their weekend slip-up by picking up a 3-0 Premier League win over Newcastle United on Monday.
Roberto Martinez's men scored two own goals as Everton fell to a 2-0 defeat at Southampton on Saturday, meaning victory for Arsenal over beleaguered Newcastle sees the north London club pull four points clear in the chase for a UEFA Champions League berth with two games remaining.
The result never looked in doubt after Laurent Koscielny's simple finish sent the hosts into a 26th-minute lead at the Emirates Stadium, with Mesut Ozil doubling the advantage before the break.
And the three points were in the bag midway through the second half, when Ozil turned provider to tee up an Olivier Giroud headed goal.
A sixth consecutive defeat for Newcastle will undoubtedly heap pressure on manager Alan Pardew, who has now overseen the club's longest losing league run since 1987.
Pardew was back in the dugout following his seven-match ban for headbutting Hull City's David Meyler, with opposite number Arsene Wenger offering a warm welcome to the manager with whom he had his own heated confrontation at West Ham in 2006.
Top scorer Loic Remy returned to the Newcastle starting XI, but it was the unchanged hosts who looked more dangerous on the attack in the opening stages.
However, clear-cut opportunities proved difficult to come by for both sides until the 18th minute, when Ozil drilled an effort wide of the right-hand post after Koscielny had collided with goalkeeper Tim Krul in the penalty area.
And defender Koscielny was in the mix in the Newcastle penalty area again eight minutes later as he broke the deadlock, this time making the most of Moussa Sissoko's lacklustre marking to poke home from a Mikel Arteta free-kick.
Lukas Podolski pulled wide of the target as Arsenal chased a quickfire double and the German drew a strong hand from Krul with a powerful header from a corner soon after.
Cheick Tiote evoked memories of his stunning equaliser in Newcastle's famous 2011 4-4 draw with Arsenal when he stung the palms of Wojciech Szczesny with a thunderbolt of an effort from 30 yards, but the home side doubled their advantage three minutes before the break.
Giroud failed to find a way past Krul after having two bites at the cherry, but the ball fell kindly for Ozil to tap-in from inside the six-yard box, although the midfielder appeared marginally offside.
Yoan Gouffran surged forward in a rare Newcastle attack 10 minutes into the second half, but Szczesny made himself big to deny the Frenchman.
And it was all over for Newcastle in the 66th minute, when Giroud nodded home from an Ozil cross, prompting fans in the away end at the Emirates to unfurl a banner asking: "Next excuse Pardew?"
It remains to be seen if under-fire Pardew has an answer for his own club's supporters, but few question marks now exist over whether Arsenal have what it takes to win the race for fourth.
|6||L. Koscielny||26' 26'|
|Coach: A. Wenger|
for M. Özil 73'
for A. Ramsey 74'
for O. Giroud 84'
|Russian Football Union to protest following Montenegro abandonment|
|October comeback the target for injured Foster|
|Van der Vaart looks set to leave Hamburg|
|Bale focused on Wales - Coleman|
|Kluivert helps Curacao to victory|
|Hamstrung Alba returns to Barcelona|
|Macedonia v Australia: Confident visitors eye victory|
|Akinfeev to return to Moscow with Russia squad|
|Brnovic: Montenegro have no chance of qualifying|
|Russia had to resume after Akinfeev incident - Capello|
|Terim: Robben absence important|
|Morata keen to keep working|
|Canada 1 Guatemala 0: Haber heads Floro´s men to win|
|Difficult to find a place for Kane in starting XI - Hodgson|
|Difficult to find a place for Kane in starting XI - Hodgson|
|Montenegro-Russia abandoned after scuffle|
|Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Montenegro-Russia abandoned, Spain and England win|
|Accrington Stanley 0 Newport County 2: Visitors up to sixth|
|Kane delighted with ´dream´ start|
|England 4 Lithuania 0: Kane enjoys dream debut|
|Spain 1 Ukraine 0: Morata settles tight contest|
|Akinfeev struck by flare as Montenegro-Russia game suspended after 30 seconds|
|Brazil v Chile: Winning is ´our only option´ - Dunga|
|Northern Ireland v Finland: Controversial fixture met with religious protests|
|Scotland v Gibraltar: Wilson out to dent countrymen´s hopes|
|Republic of Ireland v Poland: Pressure is on, says O´Neill|
|Georgia v Germany: Schneider warns world champions|
|PSV agree permament Guardado deal|
|France v Denmark: Olsen hits out at training facilities|
|Pienaar to return to Everton training|
|Hughes eyes silverware at Stoke after signing new deal|
|Portugal v Serbia: Carvalho vows to attack|
|Dynamo Kiev stadium partially closed after racism probe|
|Hull City fined £30,000 for misconduct|
|Balotelli must work hard for Italy return – Bonucci|
|Marchisio suffers knee ligament injury|
|Hughes agrees new Stoke City deal until 2018|
|Martinez hopeful over injured Everton trio|
|South Korea 1-1 Uzbekistan: Kuziboyev's debut strike denies hosts|
|South Korea 1 Uzbekistan 1: Kuziboyev´s debut strike denies hosts|
|Japan 2 Tunisia 0: Kagawa and Honda shine as Halilhodzic starts with a win|
|South Africa v Nigeria: Mashaba wary of bitter opponents|
|Japan 2-0 Tunisia: Kagawa & Honda shine in Halilhodzic's first game|
|Parma captain Lucarelli welcomes FIGC reforms|
|Di Francesco ignoring Milan rumours|
|Melbourne Victory 2 Central Coast Mariners 1: Finkler leads fightback|
|Bale would be ´perfect´ for United - Scholes|
|Badstuber and Bellarabi out of Georgia clash|
|Rooney KOs boxing celebration|
|Allen thrilled with Welsh ´hunger´|
|Kovacic to miss Euro 2016 qualifier|
|Costa Rica 0 Paraguay 0: Dour draw marks Diaz debut|
|Reid ruled out of South Korea friendly|
|Deschamps talks up France despite defeat|
|Rooney chasing England goalscoring record|
|Brazil ´superior´ admit French veterans|
|Reeves sidelined for Finland clash|
|Confidence critical for rampaging Brazil - Dunga|
|France 1 Brazil 3: Dunga´s men maintain winning run|
|Chile 0 Iran 2: Nekounam and Amiri down Copa America hosts|
|Premier League to share over £1bn from record TV deal|
|Morocco v Uruguay: Last chance to impress Tabarez for Copa champions|
|Iran 2-0 Chile: Nekounam and Amiri down Copa America hosts|
|Ivanovic braced for Ronaldo test|
|El Salvador - Argentina Preview: Messi set for Roca reunion|
|Bahrain 0 Colombia 6: Falcao stars in comfortable victory|
|Jones to Bournemouth leads loan deadline day moves in Championship|
|Bahrain 0-6 Colombia: Falcao stars in resounding victory|
|Malmo fined for poor pitch by UEFA|
|League Two Preview: Hartlepool aim to continue great escape, leaders Burton host Stevenage|
|France 1-3 Brazil: Neymar on target as Selecao triumph in Paris|
|Bulgaria v Italy: Verratti vows to be Azzurri´s midfield general|
|Kane primed for full England debut|
|Kone receives positive news over knee injury|
|Terry pens new Chelsea deal|
|PSG tie down Marquinhos|
|De Gea stamp was accidental - Skrtel|
|Villa hopeful over Xavi reunion|
|El Salvador v Argentina: Messi set for Roca reunion|
|Ghana v Senegal: Grant´s side looking to rebuild after AFCON disappointment|
|Ferdinand to serve extended touchline ban|
|League One Preview: Duo aiming to inspire Notts County revival, Alexander back at Preston|
|Hodgson keeps an eye on Sterling and Milner|
|Filipe Luis cools talk of Atleti return|
|West Brom to wear retro kit for Leicester clash|
|Netherlands v Turkey: Sneijder unconcerned by key absentees|
|Del Bosque wary of Ukraine threat|
|Israel v Wales: Pivotal fixture for both sides in chase for Euro dream|
|Bosnich backs Villa to beat drop|
|Walcott denies Wenger ´bust-up´|
|Hart: Aguero more difficult to face than Messi|
|Williams: I can´t see myself playing for anyone else|
|Coutinho eager to add more goals to his game|
|Khedira confirms Real exit|
|Messi attends NBA match with Argentina squad|
|United will qualify for Champions League - Bosnich|
|Mexico v Ecuador: Hernandez desperate to play|
|Podolski plays down Germany cameo|
|Bendtner: I could have scored four|
|Leverock family adds to World Cup exploits for Bermuda|
|Pele: ´Impossible´ for Neymar to replace me|
|MLS Preview: New England hoping to end drought|
|A-League Preview: Phoenix without stars for Sydney showdown|
|Klinsmann laments late collapse|
|Premier League clubs post first pre-tax profit for 15 years|
|Vokes relishing chance to link up with Bale|
|Dunga encourages Brazil to entertain|
|Dyke: FA to discuss Hodgson extension|
|Janko eyes history with Austria|
|Wilson urges Begovic to stay put|
|Strachan: Scotland have work to do|