A match for the ages finishes in spectacular fashion...
An amazing comeback from Newcastle United left Arsenal in shock after four goals in the first-half for Arsene Wenger’s side looked to have won the game, but after losing Abou Diaby to a red card, the Gunners found themselves taking just one point home from what looked like a sure three.
It was action from the go in the first-half as Arsenal found themselves in the lead with less than a minute played. Theo Walcott got the goal after being put through by Andrey Arshavin. Johan Djourou doubled the visitors' advantage with an easy header.
Arsenal weren’t finished yet and scored their third with just 10 minutes played. Robin Van Persie got the goal after being set up nicely by Walcott. The Dutchman added his second when powered 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 who pushed the Englishman to the ground and Phil Dowd showed the Arsenal man a straight red.
The Magpies came storming back as two Barton penalties sandwiched a strike from Leon Best. 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 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 added another to their tally and Newcastle were all but out of the game in the first 10 minutes of the match. Walcott worked his way neatly into the Newcastle box and slotted the ball to 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 hosts 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 Wilshere coming down the left-side created a chance for captain Cesc Fabregas. Wilshere 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.
However, it wasn’t long before the fourth goal was on the board for Arsenal. Bacary Sagna worked the ball effortlessly into the far right-hand corner of Newcastle’s area to whip in a perfect cross for an unmarked Van Persie to head in with a powerful finish leaving Harper and his team with no chance.
The second-half started bitterly and spoiled the nature of what was a good game to watch when 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 up and slotted the ball into the left side of Szczesny’s net, giving the 'keeper no chance.
Best claimed 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 came 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 Cheikh 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.