14 mins A
smooth forward move from United saw Tiote break over halfway and slide the
ball to Ba, whose slick layoff to Obertan allowed the Frenchman to pick
out Hatem Ben Arfa on the overlap.
The former Marseille man checked inside Gibbs and hit a thunderous low drive
that beat Wojciech Szczesny at his near post. The rather gimpy celebration
that followed was later revealed to be inspired by Obertan's poor dance
moves - with the object of the ridicule joining in 1-0
15 mins less
than 60 seconds later though and it was all square, as Arsenal attacked down
their right from the restart, Theo
Walcott centre and Robin Van Persie was left free to slot past Tim Krul as his
alleged marker Mike Williamson failed to intercept and was left
Half time: Arsenal 1 Newcastle 1
90+5 mins The home side broke upfield and Walcott sped away down the
right before dinking a cross into the heart of the United box. Both Van
Persie and substitute Aaron Ramsey challenged for the ball with Williamson
and the former looked to get the vital touch that took it towards the
oncoming Vermaelen towards the far post, who was able to stick out a leg
and volley home from within the six yard box, with another Gunner lurking
behind him, equally unmarked....
The goal -a near replica
of Hatem's at Fulham - was scored even later
than Gyan's flukey leveller at the mackems last season - and was just as
People say it's character-forming, apparently. 1-2
Full time: Arsenal 2 Newcastle 1
"Last minute defeats are galling. Unfortunately our right-back,
Danny (Simpson), got injured and we couldn't replace him as we had already
made three subs.
"It was a really committed performance to try and get something against
a side that are really in form. They pushed and they pushed and
unfortunately we didn't have the legs left at the end to see it through.
"We switched off after we scored and almost gifted them the first goal,
but we've defended well. We could have a bit more threat and keep the ball a
bit better. But it's difficult, they are a tough team.
"Forget how the game went because we could have offered a bit more
threat than we did, they were bang in form tonight, Arsenal. It was really
hard to stay the course, and to get to 94 minutes, it’s galling to lose.
"The most important thing was that we came here, put a real proper
effort in, and look organised, which we did. Maybe in possession we could’ve
done a little bit more, but we gave everything.
“It’s just unfortunate. It was a typical last-minute goal, and it hurt
"There were words between them (Robin
Van Persie and Tim Krul) at the start about this and that. It happens.
If we’d scored in the last minute, I’m sure one or two of them would
have been upset with us.
"There was a lot of verbals and it
kind of got a little bit silly. He was not doing anything other than to be
set for the kick. When you have got the whole team defending 40 metres in
front of the goal, it takes time. He was waiting for our strikers to get
“When you are away from home you are not going to rush things. We have had
that at our place. Goalkeepers do unbelievable things.
"The draw wouldn’t have made any
difference to us - we needed to win to stay in there and we ain’t going to
go there. We must go for the Europa League now. We have a lot to play for
untwisted his face to say:
"That is the best response to something
that has been questioned sometimes this season. I believe that shows we have
quality, we have spirit, which I have never questioned. It was a relentless
effort again tonight from the first to the last minute. The tempo was absolutely
top level tonight. We kept going until the last second and just managed to win
"Certainly the fact we have done
it before helped us. Even when we were 1-0 down we just kept going and we
feel now at the moment in the team we just have that complete and total
commitment to do as well as we can and give absolutely everything. That
gets the crowd behind the team and you saw a very entertaining game
tonight against a very good Newcastle side.
"We played recently against
Tottenham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sunderland who are all very difficult
to beat and we won all of these games. We know every time it was very
tight and we won in the last minute in three of them. There is definitely
complete commitment in every single game. Where we finish is down to how
we keep going and if we put that same amount of effort into every single
"I don't compare us to any other
team, I just think we have rebuilt confidence and belief and that will be
vital in the race until the end. It can change very quickly because as
soon as you lose a little bit of urgency you are in trouble in this
league. So let's focus on keeping that and after we will see when we
"At the moment I maintain that
because we have gone through some difficult periods and it's very
important that we keep our feet on the ground, keep our complete focus and
give absolutely everything until the end. We have done that recently
because we produced a great game tonight, we produced a great game against
Milan and we produced a great game against Tottenham. That has to be our
"If you look at our run from the
Chelsea win until January you will see that our run was quite positive.
But we had four full backs out in January and it is something that can
work one game but it cannot work for five or six games. For that I believe
we were punished but the quality was always there. Today we have 52 points
with ten games to go and we have gone through a difficult period in
January but recently we have won the games in the last minute whereas we
lost the games in the last minute against Fulham and Manchester United.
"The atmosphere is great within
the squad, and tonight it was exceptional in the dressing room because the
pleasure is even more intense when you win in the final minute of the game
where you have given everything. And the disappointment is intense when
you have lost in the last minute of a game. The positive recent history of
a team has a very positive influence and the positive vibes make everyone
Regarding the Krul / Van Persie incidents:
"Is it history from Holland? Is
it just today's story? I don't know, they both looked a bit nervous. I
have not spoken to Robin yet. I will find out but I am happy it stayed
yellow and did not become red. He is absolutely committed and he gave
everything again tonight. He got us a quick equaliser. But the whole team
played very well and Walcott also had an exceptional performance
Alan Pardew's 50th Premier League
game in charge of the club has seen his side win 18 times, draw 17 and lose 15.
Hatem Ben Arfa netted his fourth goal of the season and the third in
the Premier League as we scored our 19th goal in 14 away games - compared to
just 15 all last season.
United scored first but lost in an away PL game for the third time this
season, after doing so at Liverpool (ahead for four minutes), Fulham
(ahead for nine minutes) and now Arsenal (ahead for one minute).
Magpies @ Gunners - Premier years
2011/12: Lost 1-2 Ben Arfa
2008/09: Lost 0-3
2007/08: Lost 0-3
2007/08: Lost 0-3 (FAC)
2007/08: Lost 0-2 (LC)
2006/07: Drew 1-1 Dyer
2005/06: Lost 0-2
2004/05: Lost 0-1
2003/04: Lost 2-3 Robert, Bernard
2002/03: Lost 0-1
2001/02: Lost 0-3 (FAC)
2001/02: Won 3-1 O'Brien, Shearer, Robert
2000/01: Lost 0-5
1999/00: Drew 0-0
1998/99: Lost 0-3
1997/98: Lost 1-3 Barton
1996/97: Won 1-0 Elliott
1995/96: Lost 0-2 (LC)
1995/96: Lost 0-2
1994/95: Won 3-2 Keown og, Beardsley, Fox
1993/94: Lost 1-2 Beardsley
(@ Highbury until 2005-06 season,
Total record against Arsenal:
Like a comedian, football is often all about the.....timing.
Rather than focus on the precise number of seconds between the first and second
goals here though, or the time remaining on the referee's watch as we conceded
possession deep in the opponent's half just before 10pm, it's the fixture order
over the full season that we refer to.
Given a favourable run of games when the opposition have their eyes elsewhere,
are coming off the back of a midweek European expedition or have a treatment
room that resembles A&E at the RVI on Sunday morning, it's possible to
string together a series of results that leads a side away from the lower
reaches and into mid-table respectability, with upwardly mobile
An Arsenal side under pressure before a ball was kicked this season came to
Tyneside for the opening game and on a day when nobody hit the ground running,
Joey Barton's theatrical tumble upset all and sundry and we had our first point
and a rare clean sheet against the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger's side then ending the Samri Nasri saga by allowing him to defect
to Manchester City, followed him up the M6 to Old Trafford and then promptly
conceded eight goals. Timing.
Similarly, our excursion the weekend after to a still-chastened mackems was a
masterful piece of scheduling that reinforced those feelings of impotence
(despite them finishing above us last season) and soon saw pasty boy walking
The flip side though can have an effect way above the eleven versus
A midfield featuring Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye might reasonably have been
expected to hold things together rather better than their understudies managed
at Spurs. However, our arrival at White Hart Lane for 'Arry's coming out party
was a classic case of wrong place, wrong time and most teams would surely fared
no better or if you're Wigan, lost by a far greater margin....
Lately though, things have started to go awry a little too often for comfort,
when the unexpected results involving ourselves aren't favourable to us. We may
have been able to reacquaint Mark Hughes with the art of losing in his first
QPR game, but Terry Connor's managerial bow had a galvanising effect on the
Wolves and the 2012 vintage mackem rabble displayed rather more conviction(s)
than of late, thanks to the man management/kidology of their latest
And so it was with this game. In one corner, a Magpies side who have never
subsequently scaled the heights of the 3-0 home victory over Manchester United two months
earlier due to various injuries, suspensions international callups, loss of
Opposing them, a Gunners side who had put five past their deadly rivals last
time out in the league here (a feat that we'd just achieved when coming here
last season and winning), adding to a tally of seven scored in the game before
and another three in the Champions League exit to Milan.
That suggested a side gathering momentum and turning recent jeers to cheers
(albeit via elongated passages of near-silence this evening from catatonic home
fans) and so it proved, as yet another last gasp winner saw Wenger indulging in
his bizarre celebratory gallop once more.
A hectic start saw Arsenal squander the first of a rake of decent scoring
opportunities when Robin Van Persie somehow failed to connect with Theo
Walcott's low cross. Our first attack then brought only the third goal we've
scored here in seven visits (all in the first half, all at the far end) and a
lightning reply that sparked a running battle between our 'keeper and
The second half then followed the pattern of our previous visits here, with the
home side building up a head of steam as they bore down goal. Some poor
finishing and gallant defending though made a draw look increasingly inevitable
until that late night TV nasty. Krul's goal leading a charmed life as it did in
that unlikely victory here on our last visit and our epic draw at Old Trafford
Added time came and with it the rare sight of Newcastle players in the final
third of the field at our end. Unfortunately that late incursion ended the
tragic sight of Krul picking the ball out of his net again and the quarrel
between the two Dutchmen that had simmered throughout the evening then
escalated from gesticulating and exchanging unpleasantries into more overt
threats of violence that saw most of their colleagues become involved - hardly
an ideal situation coming just days after we were landed with an FA charge for
another melee against the mackems.
Both players were booked as five minutes of added time turned into eight, with
our man upset by RVP's continued attempts to block his clearances and incurring
the wrath of the prolific forward and home fans for dallying over his kicks -
something which while hardly ideal was nowhere near the ludicrous time-wasting
antics of Wolves 'keeper Hennessey on Tyneside last month.
A defeat of that nature was a painful way for Alan Pardew to mark his 50th
Premier League game in charge of United and although his side never really
fired on all cylinders, their effort and commitment deserved some sort of
He had put his faith in a line-up that included Gabriel Obertan (in central
midfield) and Ben Arfa,
with Ryan Taylor absent due to injury and Papiss Cisse dropped to the bench -
where he was joined by Haris Vuckic following the expiration of his loan deal
at Cardiff City (recalled following the injury to Peter Lovenkrands).
Davide Santon's pace saw him reinstated at left back to match Walcott's speed
but despite shrugging him off in the opening exchanges, the Italian was given
an increasingly torrid time as Arsenal funneled most their forward play down
their right flank in the opening 45 minutes.
James Perch replaced Santon at the interval and put in another decent shift as
we dug in and looked to have done enough to register a third successive draw.
It wasn't to be though and a fanbase who have done more than their fair share
of trudging disconsolately through North London streets exited in almost total
In the interests of unity, we'll not name names but perhaps the biggest
indicator of the varying attitudes of our squad could be gauged at full time.
Some used their final ounces of energy to get off the pitch as quickly as
possible, a few others had the decency to look gutted and applaud the away
support, while some laughed, joked and swapped shirts with their victorious
Coming from someone whose murderous post-match thoughts concerning smug Gooners
in the same carriage persisted as far as Acton Town on a Piccadilly line tube
train, that's awfully difficult to comprehend never mind tolerate....
Our inadequacies this evening could be summarised in one sentence - Williamson
out of his depth, Santon identified as a weak link and duly exploited, a lack
of cohesion in the midfield and the little matter of Demba Ba losing his Midas touch in front of
goal - not that he ever had sight of it.
As it is, we're now at the point of the season when aesthetic considerations
give way to a grim determination to secure as many points as possible in a
measured, calm way but scrapping from the first whistle to the last nonetheless
and simply wanting it more than the opposition.
For the manager and his staff, the task is to accentuate the positives of this
performance, whilst lamenting the final frantic few seconds of added time that
denied them what would have been a worthy if slightly fortuitous point.
A great deal still depends on how fortune favours Pardew in the remaining
weeks: if Coloccini ends up sidelined by injury and suspension then the nearest
we'll get to Europe is a day trip to Holy Island. It remains to be seen whether
there's anything more in the tank or if the remaining ten games end up as a
levelling exercise and we've simply used up our allotted good fortune.
of the juvenile muppetry glimpsed at the reserve derby though, the biggest plus
of this round of games may just be the continuing re-engagement of the owner in
this "project" as evidenced by his MD's candid and unapologetic
public comments last week. Given the rampant uncertainty over the finances of
many clubs, keeping them on board could turn out be a more tangible reward for
a season of effort than a Europa League place.
Even to consider playing competitive games overseas though is startling
progress - quite frankly, this second season back in the top-flight had outgrown
our expectations by the first week of January. I'm still tickled at scoring in
this postcode. This time two years ago we were scraping a draw at the smoggies in a team
featuring Tamas Kadar, Fitz Hall and Fabrice Pancrate.
Losing to the last kick of the ball at the Emirates twenty four months on
doesn't seem quite so bad in that context - and the air is cleaner.