03/12/2012 06:09 EDT | Updated 05/12/2012 05:12 EDT

Vermaelen scores late goal as Arsenal beats Newcastle 2-1 to close within a point of 3rd place

LONDON - Arsenal centre back Thomas Vermaelen scored in stoppage time for his team to come from behind and beat Newcastle 2-1 on Monday, moving within a point of third place in the Premier League.

Vermaelen scored in the fifth and final minute of added time, tapping the ball in from close range to give the Gunners their fifth consecutive league win.

Newcastle opened the scoring in the 14th minute at Emirates Stadium when Hatem Ben Arfa's powerful left-footed strike beat goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny at the near post.

Arsenal replied from the restart, Robin van Persie blasting the ball past goalkeeper Tim Krul for his 26th league goal of the season.