Newcastle United 1 Arsenal 3

Last updated : 21 March 2009 By Footymad Previewer
Arsenal produced a five-star second-half display to stretch their unbeaten Premier League run to 16 games.

But Newcastle are really under pressure and staring relegation firmly in the face.

Newcastle gave a gritty fighting display, but for those who think the Geordies are too big for the drop - think again.

It's now just one win in 14 for demoralised Newcastle who must be wondering where their next three points will come from.

The last thing Newcastle needed was the arrival of Arsenal, sandwiched in between successive home games against Manchester United and Chelsea.

Arsenal oozed with class in the second half and produced goals from Niklas Bendtner, Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri with Obafemi Martins hitting the Newcastle consolation after earlier missing from the penalty spot.

With goals at a premium this season, Newcastle wasted a golden opportunity to go ahead after 23 minutes when Martins saw his spot kick saved.

Manuel Almunia fumbled a cross under pressure from Ryan Taylor and then rugby tackled the former Wigan man to the ground.

Fresh from his penalty saving heroics against Roma, Almunia redeemed himself by going to his left and holding on to Martins' poor spot kick.

Arsenal broke the deadlock after 57 minutes when Bendtner superbly headed in a free-kick from the excellent Andrey Arshavin.

But within 13 seconds of the kick off Newcastle were level - poor defending allowing Martins to level it up.

Robin Van Persie then helped transform the game with two shrewd passes though Newcastle will feel aggrieved at Arsenal regaining the lead when they were down to ten players while Steven Taylor was receiving treatment.

Van Persie released Diaby to finish with style and then Nasri wrapped it up after 67 when he was played in by Van Persie, though Steve Harper will be disappointed to have been beaten at his near post.

Arsenal also rattled the rattled the woodwork twice as Newcastle folded and their heads dropped.

In the opening half, Steven Taylor came to the rescue at the other end with a brave block as Andrey Arshavin pulled the trigger from just inside the box.

Koul Toure then emulated Taylor with a tackle also perfection on Peter Lovenkrands and from the resulting corner Martins headed wide.

The class of Russian striker Arshavin was highlighted when Steven Taylor twice failed to foul the lightning quick deadline signing who hit a stinging 25-yard drive that clipped the bar.

Newcastle's season of injury woes continued after 38 minutes, when player of the season Sebastien Bassong - believed to be an Arsenal target - limped off with a groin strain and was replaced by Senegal international Habib Beye having his first action since Boxing Day.

The home fans were relishing Newcastle's long awaited fighting spirit and saw another good chance go begging when Kevin Nolan whipped in a left wing cross to which Lovenkrands was unable to supply the finishing touch.

Had they shown as much commitment throughout the season Newcastle would not have found themselves in the bottom three.

But even so Newcastle were still as capable as ever of pressing the self destruct button as thy showed on the stroke of half-time when Fabrizio Coloccini slipped

Bendtner raced clear to find van Persie but once again Steven Taylor came to the rescue with a last gasp challenge.