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Newcastle 1-3 Arsenal

By Nabil Hassan

Nicklas Bendtner
Nicklas Bendtner celebrates his second-half header

Nicklas Bendtner, Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri secured victory for Arsenal to leave Newcastle in the relegation zone.

Arsenal took the lead when Bendtner headed home Andrey Arshavin's free-kick while Obafemi Martins volleyed home from 12-yards a minute later.

The Gunners were back in front when Diaby smashed home from 18-yards with Nasri sealing the win soon after.

Earlier, Manuel Almunia had saved Martins first-half penalty after he had brought down Newcastle's Ryan Taylor.

Newcastle had begun the day just out of the relegation places but Stoke's 1-0 victory against Middlesbrough meant the Magpies slipped into the bottom three before kick-off.

Wenger pleased with Arsenal resilience

And defeat to Arsenal further compounds Newcastle's place in the relegation places with eight games left.

For Arsenal victory sees them consolidate their position in fourth place with the Gunners 10 points behind leaders United having played a game more.

Newcastle left Michael Owen on the bench but could have done with the England striker midway through the first half when they were awarded a penalty.

Martins took it, but his weak strike was easily saved by Almunia low to his left.

The Newcastle striker missed further chances, with Peter Lovenkrands also guilty of wastefulness in front of goal.

606: DEBATE

Newcastle played well in an open first half, but Arsenal always looked dangerous on the break.

Magpies defender Steven Taylor twice blocked goal bound strikes that looked destined for the back of the net, while keeper Steve Harper also saved well from close range from Robin Van Persie.

Taylor, meanwhile, was lucky to escape punishment for a crude elbow on Andrey Arshavin who later shaved the top of the Newcastle crossbar with a fine 25-yard strike.

But despite the open nature of the game, the first half ended goalless. The second half was a different affair.

Newcastle started brightly forcing a series of corners, and from one of them, Steven Taylor had a header cleared off the line by William Gallas.

Destiny in our own hands - Hughton

But Arsenal responded and took a 56th minute lead when an unmarked Bendtner headed home Arshavin's out swinging free-kick from close range. A minute later Newcastle were level.

Martins latched onto a hopeful long ball, blocked Gallas' clearance and volleyed home from inside the box for 1-1.

Arsenal were soon back in the lead with Diaby playing a neat one-two with Van Persie and from 18-yards smashed past Harper for 2-1.

Two soon became three with Nasri beating Harper from a tight angle at the Newcastle keeper's near post.

A rampant Arsenal had further chances with Van Persie forcing a fine save from Harper with Diaby hitting a post in injury time as the Magpies were spared further punishment.


Newcastle: Harper, Steven Taylor (Owen 65), Coloccini, Bassong (Beye 38), Jose Enrique, Ryan Taylor, Butt, Nolan, Duff, Lovenkrands (Ameobi 79), Martins.
Subs Not Used: Krul, Smith, Gutierrez, Geremi.

Goals: Martins 58.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Toure, Clichy, Arshavin (Song Billong 74), Denilson, Diaby, Nasri, Van Persie, Bendtner (Eboue 89).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Eduardo, Vela, Djourou, Gibbs.

Booked: Gallas.

Goals: Bendtner 57, Diaby 64, Nasri 67.

Att: 49,972

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin 7.93 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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see also
Hughton issues relegation warning
21 Mar 09 |  Newcastle
Premier League as it happened
21 Mar 09 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
21 Mar 09 |  Football


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