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Saturday, October 30, 1999 Published at 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK


Magpies deny goal-shy Gunners

Arsenal's Patrick Vieira got little change from Gary Speed (right)

Arsenal 0-0 Newcastle

Bobby Robson's Newcastle United grabbed their first away point of the season as they held Arsenal to a goalless draw at Highbury.


The BBC's David Oates: "They were comfortably shackled by Bobby Robson's men"
The rejuvenated Magpies, who are now unbeaten in three games, never looked like losing, with Arsenal unable to breakthrough their stubborn defence.

Chances were few and far between although Newcastle were lucky not to go a goal behind when midfielder Franck Dumas cleared a Patrick Vieira header off the Magpies goal-line.

Despite the introduction of Dutch pair Dennis Bergkamp and Mark Overmars in the second half, the North East side held out to claim an unlikely point.

Arsenal looked jaded after their midweek defeat by Fiorentina and subsequent exit from the Champions League.

Six-match ban

The North London team made six changes to the side last lost against the Italians with Oleg Luzhny, Gilles Grimandi and Silvinho just three of the superstars available to come in.

But even with fresh faces Arsene Wenger's side lacked any sort of creativity to break through a workman-like Newcastle team.

Manager Robson had a plan and he carried it out with a certain swagger.

The Newcastle of old - leaky defence, naive ball-play - seemed to be a distant memory as they limited Arsenal to barely a half-chance in the first half.

Two minutes before the break, French striker Thierry Henry struck a inswinging corner from the his right which deflected in to the path of compatriot Patrick Vieira.

Vieira - who faces a six match ban, starting in two weeks time - powered a goalbound header, which deflected into the path of a fortunate Newcastle defender Franck Dumas, who cleared off the line.

Subsequent television replays showed that the ball had actually crossed the line, but that for the Gunners, was of no consolation.

The second half was of similar vain to the first 45, with Robson's men defending even deeper, mercilessly trying to hold on.

Venomous shot

Bergkamp was introduced at the start but even his invention was tempered by midfield pairing Gary Speed and Robert Lee, who remained dogged and determined throughout the match.

The Magpies Dutch keeper John Karelse was relatively untroubled, although he had to be on his toes when the lively Henry cut in from the left.

Henry had the beating of fellow Frenchman and Newcastle fullback Didier Domi.

But with only Karelse to beat, Henry struck his venomous shot into the side-netting.

Ten minutes later Arsenal were fortunate not to be down to 10 men, when Martin Keown fouled Alan Shearer just outside the penalty box.

The England centre-back was the last defender and impeded the Magpies striker.

Referee Peter Jones consulted his linesman, but gave a yellow card to a lucky Keown.

Despite his good fortune, the Arsenal regular will now face a six-match ban after picking up his fifth yellow card of the domestic season.

Thre final few minutes were nervy for Newcastle although Arsenal never really had any penetration to disturb the Magpies' resistance.

Wenger's side looked weary on a rain-soaked afternoon at Highbury with the only ray of sunshine coming from Robson once the final whistle had sounded.

Teams:

Arsenal: Seaman, Luzhny, Keown, Adams, Winterburn, Ljungberg, Vieira, Grimandi, Silvinho, Henry, Suker. Subs: Bergkamp, Overmars, Manninger, Upson, Kanu.

Newcastle: Karelse, Dabizas, Marcelino, Dumas, Pistone, Lee, Solano, Speed, Domi, Gallacher, Shearer. Subs: Maric, Charvet, Hughes, Ferguson, Perez.

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough)





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