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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 August 2005, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle
Arsenal goalscorer Thierry Henry
Late goals from Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie helped Arsenal see off the challenge of 10-man Newcastle.

Henry slotted home from the spot on 81 minutes after Freddie Ljungberg was brought down by Charles N'Zogbia.

And Van Persie's deft finish from Ljungberg's cross six minutes later sealed victory for the Gunners.

Newcastle defended well after Jermaine Jenas received a straight red card for a challenge on Gilberto Silva after only 32 minutes, but could not hold on.

However, Arsenal probably deserved the win after dominating the second half, with Ljungberg and Henry forcing good saves from Shay Given.

The Gunners were playing the first match of their final season at Highbury and kicked off on a lush surface with the words 'Highbury 1913-2006' marked on the grass.

But the first half was not a classic. Arsenal's first opening did not come until 15 minutes, when Dennis Bergkamp's shot was well-held by Shay Given.

Cesc Fabregas, playing in midfield alongside Gilberto Silva, blocked a powerful drive from Newcastle debutant Emre as the visitors looked to respond.

Yet the match swung Arsenal's way after 32 minutes as Jenas was shown a straight red card for his tackle on Gilberto.

The midfielder may argue that his challenge was clumsy rather than malicious but referee Steve Bennett was unhappy with the way Jenas' trailing leg clattered into the Brazilian.

The Gunners almost took the lead moments later but Given was equal to Kolo Toure's close-range angled shot.

Henry wasted possibly the best chance of the half with minutes remaining, heading Lauren's cross over the bar.

Arsenal began the second half in positive fashion and could have taken the lead on 54 minutes had Ljungberg not got the ball stuck under his feet during a goalmouth scramble.

Henry just failed to connect with a through-pass and Bergkamp then had a shot blocked as the Gunners began to increase the pressure on the visitors.

Ljungberg came even closer on 68 minutes when Given brilliantly smothered his shot following a sublime pass with Henry.

Newcastle were penned back in their own half for long periods, although as the clocked ticked down they grew in confidence and the home fans became a little agitated.

And the relief was palpable when Bennett pointed to the spot after N'Zogbia impeded Ljungberg inside the box.

The excellent Given got a hand to Henry's spot-kick but could not keep it out.

And Van Persie's late contribution sealed victory.

  • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
    "They are a good side. It is never easy to play 10 men but I like the fact that we knew how to win because we kept patient.

    "Against a good Newcastle side, we knew before our penalty we could score - we could smell the goal coming.

    "I think Jermaine Jenas made a dangerous tackle. He brought his right foot on the standing leg of Gilberto."

  • Newcastle manager Graeme Souness told his club's website about his decision not to speak to other media after the match.

    "If you speak your mind, you end up in trouble, so I'm not going to speak about him and the same goes for my players.

    "They are quite rightfully upset at the things that went on out there. I am protecting them from saying something that might land them in trouble.

    "I blame myself for Jermaine's sending off. About 10 seconds before I was standing on the touchline shouting at him to be stronger in the tackle and that's what happens.

    "Up until the sending off of JJ, we were more than a match for a team who will be challenging for the championship come the end of the season."

    Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Senderos, Cole, Ljungberg, Silva, Fabregas (Hleb 72), Pires (Flamini 84), Bergkamp (Van Persie 72), Henry.
    Subs Not Used: Cygan, Almunia.

    Goals: Henry 81 pen, Van Persie 87.

    Newcastle: Given, Carr, Boumsong, Taylor, Babayaro, Dyer (N'Zogbia 69), Jenas, Parker (Faye 82), Emre, Bowyer, Shearer (Milner 72).
    Subs Not Used: Elliott, Harper.

    Sent Off: Jenas (32).

    Booked: Boumsong.

    Att: 38,072

    Ref: S Bennett (Kent).

    Interview: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

    Interview: Arsenal's Thierry Henry


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