A match for the ages finishes in spectacular fashion
An amazing comeback from a stunning Newcastle United left Arsenal in surprise after four goals in the first-half for Arsene Wenger’s side looked to have won the game, but after losing a man to a red card, the Gunners found themselves taking just one point home from what looked like three.
It was action from the go in the first-half as Arsenal found themselves in the lead with less than a minute of football played. Theo Walcott got the goal after being put through on goal by Andrey Arshavin and the England international managed to shake off Fabricio Coloccini and slot the ball past Steve Harper. Johan Djourou got the second for the visitors after an easy header from an Arshavin free-kick found him in the middle of Newcastle’s box.
Arsenal weren’t finished yet for the first-half and got their third with just 10 minutes played. Robin Van Persie got the goal after Walcott played the architect to place the ball in the centre of the area for the Dutchman to finish with a simple strike from six yards out. The striker added his second and his team’s fourth when Bacary Sagna stormed down the right-side of midfield to cross the ball into the box for Van Persie to power home a header past Harper.
The second half began bitterly after Abou Diaby was sent off following a bad tackle from Joey Barton that infuriated the French midfielder and pushed the Englishman to the ground nad Phil Dowd showed the Arsenal man a straight red.
Leon Best and Barton led the comeback for the Magpies as Best was able to strike inside the area to make it 4-1, Barton followed with two penalties that were finished with clinical poise from the spot. Tiote was there to finish the sublime comeback for Newcastle after a cleared free-kick was volleyed in from 25-yards out in an amazing effort that finished off a great game for all.
Arsenal started the show with great intention, scoring their first goal in just over 40 seconds of the kick-off whistle. Theo Walcott found himself alone on goal after a pass through from Andrey Arsharvin and the young Englishman was able to shrug off the two Newcastle defenders and place a simple finish past Steve Harper and into the back of the net.
Just two minutes later, the visitors had doubled their lead. A free-kick from Arshavin on the left-hand side of the Newcastle box found an unmarked Johan Djourou in the centre of the area, who managed to head the ball well clear of the helpless Harper and into the top corner of the net in clinical fashion.
After a flurry on non-chances for Alan Pardew’s team, Arsenal had added another to their tally and Newcastle were all but out of the game in the first 10 minutes of the match. Walcott again got himself in the mix, working his way neatly into the Newcastle box and slotted the ball into the middle behind the waiting defenders and into the feet of Robin Van Persie, who was able to finish first time with a close range shot.
The first positive piece of play for the losing side came after Peter Lovenkrands stormed down the right-side of midfield to put in a accurate ball in for the waiting attackers in the box, but Leon Best couldn’t get his header on target.
Lovely work from Jack Wilshire coming down the left-side created an unobvious chance for captain Cesc Fabregas. Wilshire dribbled his way nicely into the area and a carefully placed chip pass found the Spaniard who blasted the ball at the far post, but Harper was there to stop any chance of Arsene Wenger’s side adding yet another goal to finish the game once and for all.
However, it wasn’t long before the fourth goal was on the board for Arsenal. Bacary Sagna worked the ball effortlessly down into the far right-hand corner of Newcastle’s area to whip in a perfect ball for a once again unmarked Van Persie to head in with a powerful finish leaving Harper and his team with no chance.
As a result of the visitor’s dominance, Arsenal were happy to pass the ball around patiently, trying to build up their play and look for a fifth goal. Meanwhile, Newcastle could only create minimal chances, but even those were never concrete and lacked conviction, relying on the odd corner to even try and threaten the Arsenal goal.
Van Persie was hunting down his second Arsenal hat-trick and was going for every chance he could get his hands on, including an effort from a Fabregas long-ball that found the Holland international who was able to keep off his opposing defenders and strike an effort not too far off of target.
The flying Dutchman wasn’t giving up too easily and almost looked to get his hat-trick all done and dusted in the first-half of the game. Wilshire was there again as playmaker who slipped the ball in for Van Persie and got a shot off after manoeuvring away from his marker, but Harper was once again there to halt Arsenal’s almost inevitable fifth goal.
The second-half started bitterly and spoiled the nature of what was such a good game to watch in the first as Abou Diaby was sent off after a bad challenge from Joey Barton upset the French midfielder, leading him to make his feelings known to the Newcastle man by pushing him to the ground. Kevin Nolan got himself involved in an attempt to calm the Arsenal man down, but Diaby refused to back down and pushed Nolan away, leaving Phil Dowd with only one decision.
After the dust settled, Newcastle looked for damage limitation as Danny Simpson worked his way into the Arsenal area and was able to blast a shot at goal, but Wojciech Szczesny was able to pull off a fantastic save that denied any sort of consolation for the Magpies.
Pardew’s men were able to bring one back on 66 minutes after Laurent Koscielny brought down Best in the area to give the home-side a penalty. Joey Barton stepped for the kick and slotted the ball into the left side of Szczesny’s net, giving the keeper no chance.
After a controversially disallowed goal from Best, the striker came back to claim Newcastle’s second in what appeared to be a great fight-back from the North-East outfit. A struggle in the box left the striker with the ball at his disposal and struck his shot firmly into the back of the net from close range.
The Magpies took full advantage of Arsenal’s missing man and began to create numerous chances, most of which from set-pieces. But it was another penalty that gave the St James’ faithful hope. Barton was there again to power the ball home from the spot to be within just one goal of their opponents.
An amazing comeback was finished with a cracking volleyed effort from 25 yards out from Tiote. A free-kick from the right-side was cleared but only as far as the Newcastle man and Tiote was able to finish the great game in style.