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Arsenal Triumph 2-1 over Resilient Newcastle at the Emirates: How It Happened

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12:  Arsenal players celebrate after Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal scored their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on March 12, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
H AndelAnalyst IIIMarch 12, 2012

Arsenal started brightly, but Newcastle United drew the first blood in the 14th minute, when Ben Arfa fired the visitors ahead.

Arsenal replied immediately.

It took only 53 seconds for the equalizer,  which developed down the right flank through Theo Walcott, who whipped in a low cross that found the marked Robin van Persie, but who, though, turned his marker and fired a low left-footer into the Newcastle net.

Robin van Persie takes the strike that gave Arsenal the equalizer. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

Newcastle reorganized and decided to take the stink out of the game by taking the tempo down and by opting to be scrappy in the midfield.

It worked.

The first half ended with things even.

The two teams battled for midfield supremacy. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

 

At resumption, Arsenal were determined to win the game, fashioning out a few good chances that looked gold-gilded, but all effort to get the ball into the Newcastle goal proved abortive.

Frustration mounted, more so, when Tomas Rosicky, who had been excellent in the match, missed  a chance with the goal mouth at his mercy, and again, when Gervinho did the same in the dying minutes.

It appeared the match was headed to a draw.

Tottenham Hotspur, a team Arsenal would put tremendous pressure upon in the fight for third place, would escape with a three-point advantage. This would be the narrative at full-time.

Arsenal would have just a point advantage over Chelsea, and this draw would give Newcastle a greater chance at mounting a strong challenge for top-four finish.

A few tempers flared, notably between Arsenal's Robin van Persie and Tim Krul, the Newcastle goalkeeper. It appeared the Arsenal captain wasn't happy with Krul's time-wasting antics.

Robin van Persie and Tim Krul battled in the match in more ways than one.  Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

Four minutes of added time are played. There is only one last chance for either of the two teams to mount an attack and nick it.

Arsenal have the ball.

It comes to Alex Song halfway in the Newcastle area, Song sends the ball wide to the right to Theo Walcott. Walcott receives it and launches a good cross into the Newcastle area, it escapes Arsenal's most advanced players as well as Newcastle defenders.

But...

One factor is left unaccounted for—Thomas Vermaelen, one of Arsenal's center-backs who had sprinted forward during the attack. He mops up, and drives the loose ball into the heart of the Newcastle goal.

Theo Walcott was involved in Arsenal's winning goal. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

The Emirates go wild. Screams everywhere. The players make a pile of bodies in a wild celebration.

The score reads 2-1.

Tottenham didn't escape with a three-point advantage, they have just one, and Chelsea don't have just a point difference to make up for fourth place, they have three.

Arsenal fought. Arsenal won. The fans celebrated.

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