MATCH REPORTS

Arsenal 7 Newcastle 3

Demba Ba

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter

At the Emirates Stadium

 

 

Arsenal 7 (Walcott 20, 73, 90; Oxlade-Chamberlain 51; Podolski 64, Giroud 85, 87)

Newcastle United 3 (Ba 44, 69; Marveaux 59)

 

 

Newcastle United came from behind three times at the Emirates Stadium, but suffered a 7-3 defeat against Arsenal on Saturday night.

 

Demba Ba took his tally for the season to 13 and Sylvain Marveaux was also on target for the Magpies, but they were undone by a rampant home side, with hat-trick hero Theo Walcott their driving force.

 

Walcott, playing in a lone striking role, opened the scoring but Ba responded just before half-time with a deflected free-kick.

 

Following a tame first period it was a different story after the break as the goals flowed and refused to stop.

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain edged the Gunners back in front, only to see Marveaux level, but then Lukas Podolski nodded home Arsenal's third.

 

Ba made it three apiece with a close-range finish, but Arsene Wenger's side then ran riot, with Walcott bagging two more to complete his hat-trick and substitute Olivier Giroud netting a brace.

 

The Gunners started brightly and within two minutes had broken at speed, with Oxlade-Chamberlain flashing a low, angled drive well wide, but it was United who should have broken the deadlock on 17 minutes.

 

Marveaux's right-wing corner was met by the unmarked head of Ba at the near post, but somehow the 11-goal front man nodded over when you would have backed him to at least hit the target.

 

And they were made to pay almost immediately by Walcott.

 

German international Podolski slotted a ball down the left channel for the forward to chase and he raced away from the visitors' defence before slotting a clinical finish across the face of goal, out of the reach of Tim Krul and into the bottom corner.

 

Eight minutes before the break Walcott came within a whisker of grabbing his second of the evening, holding off the challenge of James Perch inside the area, before attempting to prod an effort past Krul, only for the Dutch stopper to produce an excellent point-blank stop.

 

Ba's header aside, United had offered precious little in the attacking third, but as the time ticked away, Cheick Tiote almost conjured up an equaliser out of nothing.

 

Receiving the ball 25 yards out, there was nothing on, so the midfielder tried his luck with a fierce drive which stung the fingertips of Wojciech Szczesny as the Arsenal stopper pushed it over the bar.

 

But their brief period of pressure paid dividends in the 44th minute with the equaliser and Ba's 12th goal of another prolific season.

 

Gabriel Obertan was upended 20 yards out by Bacary Sagna and Ba's free-kick struck the head of Jack Wilshere to wrongfoot Szczesny and find the back of the net.

 

In a crazy spell of Magpies' dominance they could have even gone into half-time ahead, with Marveaux forcing an outstanding save from Arsenal's Polish keeper and Ba heading the resulting corner off target.

 

Just as they had in the first half, Arsenal started the second period full of attacking intent and were rewarded on 51 minutes when Santi Cazorla fed Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the area.

 

The wide man needed no second invitation to have a shot and drilled the Gunners back in front.

 

But Newcastle's fighting spirit - which was so evident at Manchester United on Boxing Day - was on display at the Emirates as well, as they levelled things up for a second time just before the hour mark.

 

Gael Bigirimana fed Obertan wide on the left, and the Frenchman eased past Sagna before delivering a low cross which found Marveaux unmarked at the far post to tap home from a yard out.

 

The hosts roared back and Krul had to be at his best, first to parry Cazorla's strike before diving bravely at the feet of Podolski just as the forward was about to pull the trigger.

 

But the German was not to be denied and in the 64th minute he nodded Arsenal back in front.

 

Tiote lost possession in the middle of the park and Wilshere made his way into the box before chipping a dangerous cross towards the far post.

 

In trying to clear the danger from almost on his own goalline, United skipper Fabricio Coloccini could only head back across the face of goal and Podolski nipped in to apply a close-range finish.

 

Yet again, the lead didn't last long as Newcastle hit three on the road for the second game in succession.

 

Marveaux was the provider this time, being afforded far too much time to drive forward towards the edge of the area, then turn and clip an inch-perfect pass with the outside of his boot into the path of Ba, who snuck in to sidefoot home.

 

It was end-to-end stuff and on 73 minutes Arsenal edged back in front through Walcott's second of the evening.

 

Kieran Gibbs got in down the left to deliver a low cross into the danger zone, and although Podolski missed his kick, it fell kindly to Walcott, who swivelled and found the top corner past the helpless Krul.

 

The Magpies still wouldn't lie down and Bigirimana thumped a long-range volley straight into Szczesny's midriff, before Shola Ameobi and Shane Ferguson were introduced from the substitutes' bench to freshen up the attacking options.

 

But the game was finally put out of their reach with five minutes remaining as Walcott crossed from the right, and replacement Giroud planted a diving header past Krul.

 

There was still time for the French striker to grab his second - and Arsenal's sixth - of a remarkable evening. Picking up a loose ball on the edge of the area, Giroud worked himself a yard of space before drilling an effort into the back of the net.

 

It was game over by this point, but Walcott made sure of it, completing his hat-trick as the match entered stoppage time, dribbling in off the left and waltzing through three challenges before dinking the ball over Krul.

 

 

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen (c), Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs; Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Olivier Giroud 74), Santi Cazorla (Francis Coquelin 86), Lukas Podolski (Aaron Ramsey 82); Theo Walcott

 

Subs not used: Vito Mannone, Johan Djourou, Francis Coquelin, Tomas Rosicky, Gervinho

 

 

Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson (Shane Ferguson 82), James Perch, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Gael Bigirimana (Shola Ameobi 82), Cheick Tiote; Papiss Cisse, Sylvain Marveaux (James Tavernier 88), Gabriel Obertan; Demba Ba

 

Subs not used: Steve Harper, Remie Streete, Mehdi Abeid, Sammy Ameobi

 

 

Referee: Chris Foy (Lancashire)

 

Bookings: Arsenal - none; Newcastle - Santon (90)

 

 

Attendance: 60,087

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