Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Newcastle vs. Arsenal: Match Review

Newcastle came back from an early goal down to win a point against Premier League leaders Arsenal, who failed to capitalize on a game in hand but nonetheless went four points clear of second-placed Manchester United.

Arsenal were 1-0 up after only four minutes, after Emmanuel Adebayor drilled a fabulous volley into the back of Shay Given's net. Despite having lost their last four matches, though, Sam Allardyce's Newcastle showed some spirit, and got a point out of the match when Steven Taylor's 60th minute strike went in off of the post.

Newcastle: Shay Given; Habib Beye, David Rozenhal, Steven Taylor; Joey Barton, Nicky Butt, James Milner, Charles N'zogbia, Geremi; Obafemi Martins, Alan Smith

Arsenal: Manuel Almunia; Bacary Sagna, Kolo Toure, William Gallas, Gael Clichy; Emmanuel Eboue, Gilberto Silva, Lassana Diarra, Tomas Rosicky, Eduardo da Silva; Emmanuel Adebayor

Arsenal started off with a bang after a brilliant piece of work from Emmanuel Adebayor silenced the Tyneside crowd only four minutes into the game.

The lanky Togolese striker chested down a cross from Emmanuel Eboue, and drilled an unstoppable volley between Steven Taylor and David Rozenhal before the ball touched the ground.

The goal will certainly be a contender for goal of the month.

Newcastle almost responded only a few seconds after Adebayor's strike when Geremi sent a header just wide with Almunia beaten.

The Magpies skipper then saw a free kick well saved by a fully stretched Almunia in the 28th minute.

The Arsenal goalkeeper played brilliantly, and made yet another save as the game approached half-time, throwing up a hand to deflect Steven Taylor's header onto the post. The save was so unexpected that the Newcastle players appealed for a handball, assuming that an Arsenal outfielder had touched the ball, rather than the brilliant keeper.

It was a warning for Arsenal, though, as Newcastle continued to press the Gunners in the second half.

Charles N'Zogbia powered a shot towards the well-worked Arsenal keeper soon after the break, but the ball only stung the Almunia's hands from distance.

The visitors showed some of their promise soon after, as Tomas Rosicky played Eboue in down the right. Unfortunately the Ivorian crossed straight to Shay Given, wasting a gilt-edged opportunity.

Geremi saw a shot blocked by Gilberto in the 53rd minute, before an Arsenal fast-break started.
Adebayor and Rosicky played off of each other, but the Togo striker raced ahead into an offside position, as the Czech Republic captain had the ball stripped away.

It was a chance that the Gunners would rue, as Newcastle equalized in the 60th minute.

Bacary Sagna was kept away from Habib Beye's cross by a strong Obafemi Martins, and the ball fell perfectly for Steven Taylor. Sagna tried to recover, but his block came a fraction of a second too late, as Taylor's shot ricocheted home off of the bottom of Almunia's post, giving the keeper no chance.

Newcastle continued to play strongly, as a shell-shocked Arsenal side backed down.

Even Nicklas Bendtner coming on for Eduardo could do little, as Arsenal settled for a point at St. James' Park.