JJ hands over a point

Last updated : 28 September 2003 By FootyMad

Thierry Henry coolly tucked away an 80th-minute penalty to sink Newcastle United and keep Arsenal top of the Premiership.

Gunners top-scorer Henry chipped the ball into the centre of the net as keeper Shay Given committed himself to the dive after Jermaine Jenas had conceded the spot kick by handling a Robert Pires corner.

Henry said: "It was a test of character and it was so important for us to win. Even when we don't have full control of the game we can still get something out of it.

"I felt the way I took the penalty was the right thing to do. We did well to get through the last 20 minutes, effectively with 10 men with Freddie Ljungberg injured."

He added: "We conceded a couple of goals we might have avoided - but Kieron Dyer played very well for Newcastle."

Arsene Wenger said: "We knew we were under pressure after the last few days and we gave the right response. We had several injuries but we just kept finding something extra."

Victory puts Arsenal four points clear of Chelsea who have two games in hand while Newcastle remain in the bottom three.

But the Gunners' success was achieved at a price. Skipper Patrick Vieira limped off early with a thigh strain while Ljungberg, Ashley Cole and Martin Keown also suffered knocks and all are doubtful for the Champions League game at Lokomotiv Moscow on Tuesday.

Newcastle had the man-of-the-match in midfielder Dyer who must have impressed watching England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson. His run and cross set up Newcastle's first equaliser for Lauren Robert and his slide rule pass created their second, brilliantly finished by Olivier Bernard.

Henry gave Arsenal an 18th-minute lead when he netted at the far post after Titus Bramble mis-kicked his clearance from Lauren's centre, but the Gunners held that lead for only seven minutes before Robert replied.

After the break Ljungberg gave a hint of things to come when he hit the post with a curling 50th-minute effort.

Gilberto Silva then restored their lead when he arrived unmarked to finish Pires' 67th-minute free-kick, the ball flying past Given off the Brazilian's shoulder.

Bernard struck five minutes later, but, as so often, Henry had the last word.