Recap “Scrappy Arsenal denied in 8 goals thriller”
Arsenal visited St.James’s park to take on Newcastle united on Saturday 5 of February, looking to close in on the leaders, Manchester United and keep their title hopes alive. It was a game that was filled with excitement, tension, anger, climax and had an
anti-climax to it. It was a story of two halves. Arsenal got there 4 goals in the first 26 minutes while Newcastle got their 4 in the last 21 minutes.
Newcastle United played Peter Lovenkrands alongside Leon Best to strengthen the forward line in the absence of Andy Carroll. Cheick Tiote also made a comeback after missing the game against Fulham, played on the 2 of February.
Arsenal’s boss Arsene Wenger gave out of form Andrei Arshavin, a chance to revive his fortunes and the same applied for Abou Diaby who also has looked out of sorts this season.
Arsenal got the half underway and it took just 42 seconds for Theo Walcott to put the ball inside Steve Haper’s net to enjoy an early advantage. Newcastle still did not recover from the shock of Walcott’s early goal that a free kick from Arshavin led to
the gunners 2nd goal from Johan Djourou in the 3rd minute to put them 2 up. The toons could not believe, what was happening with them and they lost their heads for a while and began shooting from distance in order to get the equalizing
goal. Arsenal kept on building the pressure mainly through Cesc Fabregas, Walcott and Jack Wilshere.
Arsenal made another move from the right and this time Walcott fed in a delivery to the Netherland’s star Robin Van Persie who drove in the 3rd goal for the gunners on the 10th minute mark. Newcastle contingent in the crowd could not
believe on their eyes whatever they were witnessing. The toons tried their level best to get out of jail but Arsenal had other ideas on their mind and kept on bombarding towards Harper’s goal. It wasn’t even half hour on the clock when Bacary Sagna’s cross
was headed in by Van Persie to give the visitors a massive 4-0 advantage on the 26 minutes mark. It was the Dutchman’s 2nd goal of the match.
Most Newcastle fans started heading towards the exit as the home team’s comeback was looking inevitable.
Newcastle tried to go inside the gunners box through Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan but Arsenal’s defence stood firm over the ball.
Newcastle escaped goals from further attacks as the referee blew the whistle to end the first half. Arsenal went into the tunnel with a huge breathing space.
Newcastle started the 2nd half and they decided to play with an all out attacking formation. The hosts had only one thing on their mind and that is to attack. They knew that sitting back and stopping arsenal from inflicting further damage won’t
do any good so they went on attack. The half got heated up in the 50th minute when Diaby was given the marching orders for pushing down Barton on the ground and hen pushing Nolan from the back to justify his frustration upon Barton’s challenge.
Arsenal were down to 10 men as the toons tried to build upon this numerical advantage.
It was a complete turnaround in the 2nd half in terms of ball possession. It was Arsenal in the 1st half and hard to believe it was Newcastle in the 2nd. When one thought that it’s all over for the toon army, they never gave
up and kept on piling up the pressure on Arsenal. Best was fouled inside the box by Laurent Koscielny as Newcastle got the penalty and Barton converted it in the 69th minute to bring some sort of relief. Gunners keeper, Wojciech Szczesny got into
books for time wasting.
By this time, Arsenal knew that they just have to defend now with just 20 minutes remaining on the clock and by no means, the home team can manage a comeback. As Arsenal sat back, hosts kept coming at them and on the 75th minute mark, Best sparked
some new hope in the team with the 2nd goal to make it 4-2. Hosts made another run and this time it was Tomas Rosicky who conceded a penalty for pushing Mike Williamson in the box. Barton again converted it in the 83rd minute and made
Newcastle knew that there was enough time left to score an equalizer and it was Tiote whose thunderous volley beat everybody including Arsenal’s keeper and finished going into the net to make it 4-4 on the 87th minute mark.
There was a huge eruption in the crowd following that equalizer as the inevitable happened. Nolan went remarkably close to make it 5-4 but his shot was a whisker away from the post as the five minutes of injury time were over.
Both teams got 1 point each when Arsenal should have easily walked away with all 3 points. It was the first time in the Premier league history that any team has let slip the 4 goal advantage.
This 8 goal thriller will certainly be remembered for a very long time. Arsenal hearts were certainly broken.