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Last Updated: Monday, 9 April 2007, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Newcastle 0-0 Arsenal
Steve Harper replaces Shay Given
Harper came on for Given but need not have bothered
Newcastle and Arsenal were both well below their best in a dull draw.

The closest Newcastle came to breaking the deadlock was when James Milner's looping cross cannoned back off the bar with Jens Lehmann groping the air.

Arsenal were just as poor, but almost snatched a win when Gilberto Silva had two successive efforts cleared off the line by Nolberto Solano.

A major concern for Newcastle will be the groin injury to keeper Shay Given, which forced him off after 25 minutes.

Many of the attendant fans will have wished they had endured only as much of the match as Given did.

Disappointingly, there was a real end-of-season, nothing-to-play-for feel about the game.

The pace was pedestrian, the tempo tepid and the desire seemingly drained after a campaign which had promised much for both teams and delivered little.

However, with Arsenal needing to cement fourth place to secure Champions League football, the Gunners' lethargy was surprising.

606: DEBATE
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In the first half, a tame Alexander Hleb shot was easily saved by Given, who was later on hand to prevent Adebayor running through on goal.

But that stop proved to be Given's final contribution as he went off injured to be replaced by Steve Harper.

Not that Harper was called into action much - he needed only to watch as Adebayor thumped a header over the bar and the substitute stopper twiddled his gloved thumbs thereafter.

As for Newcastle, after a slow start they began to use Kieron Dyer's pace and Obefami Martin's athleticism to reasonable effect.

Damien Duff, too, tried to trouble Arsenal's backline but in keeping with the pattern of the match, clear-cut chances were at a premium.

Only Oguchi Onyewu brought a save out of Lehmann, who dived superbly to his right to palm away the defender's low strike.

Just after the restart, Milner looped in a cross from the right flank and it swerved over Lehmann and cannoned back off the bar.

But it was not notice of intent from Newcastle - and neither did it shock Arsenal into moving out of first gear.

Arsenal briefly threatened to up the tempo to jogging pace, and Eboue drove a shot wide of the upright.

But almost immediately it was back to ambling around the pitch as both teams opted not to break sweat.

The crowd was almost woken on 75 minutes when Stephen Taylor got tangled with Lehmann and it appeared there may yet be a competitive edge to the match.

No-one was fooled though - apart from referee Howard Webb, who perhaps wanted something to do and so booked William Gallas and Taylor for their part in the minor incident.

Then all the second-half chances came at once as Gilberto was twice denied in the same goalmouth scramble as Solano cleared the ball of the line.


  • Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder:
    "We have to be satisfied with a point but I am be disappointed it was not three points.

    "If we had got the first goal we would have won the game. I thought we started slowly and gave them too much respect.

    "But at half-time I thought we should have been ahead. It would have been an injustice if Arsenal had got the goal late on and won the game."

  • Arsene Wenger:
    "We lacked creativity but the spirit was fantastic. We wanted to win the game but it was important not to lose today.

    "When you are a bit tired and you do not score as many goals as you want, your confidence goes a little bit.

    "Even a 0-0 draw is not a bad result for us today, after our recent disappointments and the way our confidence has suffered."


    Newcastle: Given (Harper 25), Solano, Onyewu, Taylor, Carr, Milner, Butt, Emre (Luque 88), Duff, Martins, Dyer (N'Zogbia 52).
    Subs Not Used: Bramble, Ramage.

    Booked: Taylor.

    Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Hleb (Julio Baptista 61), Fabregas, Silva, Diaby, Ljungberg, Adebayor (Aliadiere 71).
    Subs Not Used: Almunia, Senderos, Denilson.

    Booked: Ljungberg, Gallas.

    Att: 52,293

    Ref: H Webb (S Yorkshire).



    SEE ALSO
    Premiership clockwatch
    09 Apr 07 |  Premiership
    Monday's Premiership photos
    09 Apr 07 |  Football


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