Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 0

Last updated : 13 April 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Newcastle's run of eight successive home wins this year at St James' Park has come to an end, but no-one was complaining about the goalless draw with champions-elect Arsenal.

This crucial point lifted United level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool in the quest for the vital final Champions league spot, just two days after the Gunners had hit four goals past the Anfield outfit.

Both sides had their chances - Arsenal the more clear-cut - but after a pulsating 90 minutes a draw suited both teams.

The outstanding Jonathan Woodgate summed up the feelings of the Newcastle camp when he said: "Arsenal are a great side and they are tough from the first minute.

"This was a massive point for us as we look for that fourth spot, anything less will be a massive failure." Those sentiments were echoed by Craig Bellamy, who came close to giving Newcastle a dramatic early lead.

"We had one or two chances, but Arsenal are a great side. Thank God we only have to play them twice a year," he said.

That Bellamy opportunity came with just four minutes on the clock when he cleverly back-flicked a right-wing cross from Alan Shearer only to see Jens Lehmann pull off a stunning save.

The Premiership's leading scorer Thierry Henry was never at his fluent best following his hat-trick against Liverpool, but still served warning of his intentions when curling a shot just wide from the edge of the box after 18 minutes.

Jose Antonio Reyes then fired wide in a good spell for the Gunners, who came close to breaking the deadlock on the stroke of half-time.

A Jermaine Jenas backpass fell straight to Sylvain Wiltord on the edge of the box, but the French international scuffed his shot off-target in the search for his 50th Arsenal goal.

Lehmann held on to a Laurent Robert free-kick early in the second half, but it was Arsenal who should have gone ahead just after the hour mark.

With Newcastle appealing for offside, Henry timed his run to perfection and was left with just Shay Given to beat.

Given forced the 34-goal striker wide and he shot against the foot of the post from the tightest of angles.

It was not until the 74th minute that Reyes had Arsenal's first shot on target and two minutes later he should have done better from an Henry cross that he headed against Given from just six yards.