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  Saturday, 23 March, 2002, 13:56 GMT
Arsenal ease past Newcastle
Bergkamp (left) leads Arsenal's celebrations
Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle United
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Dennis Bergkamp delivered a Dutch masterclass to send Arsenal into the FA Cup semi-final as Newcastle United's sinking season suffered another setback.

He was the inspiration behind another convincing Arsenal win as they bounced back from Champions League disappointment to book a date with Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on 14 April.

But Arsene Wenger's joy will have been tainted by an injury to the influential Robert Pires, who was stretchered off in the first half with a knee problem.

Pires put Arsenal on the path to victory with a goal in the opening seconds - then set up Bergkamp for another early strike as Newcastle were swept aside.

Bergkamp joy after scoring Arsenal's second
Sol Campbell added a third just after half-time to end Newcastle's realistic hopes of silverware, despite a season rich in promise.

Arsenal's opening surge meant Newcastle had no chance of repeating their league victory at Highbury earlier this season.

Now Wenger will be hoping the injury to Pires, arguably Arsenal's most influential figure this season, is not serious as they stay on course for another league and FA Cup double.


The bad news is that we could be without Robert Pires for a while - the first signs are not good and it's very sad
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal received the perfect tonic after their midweek Champions League exit when they went ahead after 62 seconds.

The architects, as so many times this season, were Bergkamp and Pires, with the Dutchman setting up the France midfield man for a sweeping right-foot finish from the angle of the penalty box.

Bergkamp then struck an upright before Pires repaid the compliment after eight minutes as Arsenal effectively sealed their place in the last four.

Freddy Ljungberg beats Nikos dabizas
Pires broke clear on the left and crossed for the unmarked Bergkamp to score from close range.

Arsenal suffered a serious blow after 26 minutes when Pires was stretchered off after lengthy treatment to a knee injury following an awkward fall under pressure from Nikos Dabizas.

Newcastle showed commendable character, but the damage was done despite chances for Andy O'Brien and Alan Shearer that were wasted.


Some of our fans got up at four in the morning to get here - sadly we woke up 15 minutes too late
Newcastle manager Bobby Robson
Robson's hopes of a revival were crushed four minutes into the second half when Campbell out-muscled Dabizas to head Bergkamp's free-kick past Shay Given.

Bergkamp was bringing Highbury to its feet with the full range of his skills, and he almost added to his catalogue of classic goals with a chip that struck an upright.

Arsenal even enjoyed the luxury of giving fit-again Francis Jeffers a rare run-out as the seconds ticked away - but for Newcastle only the search for a European place remains.


Arsenal: Wright, Luzhny, Adams, Campbell, Cole, Ljungberg, Vieira, Edu, Pires, Wiltord, Bergkamp. Subs: Seaman, Dixon, Jeffers, Grimandi, Kanu.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, O'Brien, Dabizas, Distin, Solano, Acuna, Dyer, Laurent Robert, Laurent Robert, Shearer, Cort. Subs: Elliott, Harper, Lua-Lua, Kerr, Bernard.

Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield)

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC football correspondent Mike Ingham
"Bergkamp tortured the opposition"
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"It was all us in the second-half"
Arsenal striker Denis Bergkamp
"This is probably the best form I've had for a few years"
Links to more FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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