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Season 2007-08
 Arsenal (h) Premiership

 in association with 

Date: Wednesday 5th December 2007, 7.45pm Live on Sky

 St. James' Park





1 - 1



4 mins Steven Taylor put Charles N'Zogbia under unnecessary pressure but the stand-in left back's clearance was poor and fell straight to Emmanuel Eboue whose cross was chested then volleyed spectacularly past Given by Adebayor to stun a noisy St. James'. 0-1

Half time: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1

60 mins Habib Beye crossed and when Alan Smith's flick was dummied by Obafemi Martins, Taylor was at the back post to steer the ball in via the post from ten yards at the Leazes End. He then embarked upon what he called a "half Forrest", galloping off to celebrate with the Milburn paddocks. 1-1

Full time: Newcastle 1 Arsenal 1

We Said

Sam said:

"I thought the fans were going to suck that Steven Taylor shot in for us, but it wasn't quite to be.

"They are the ones you've got to get in to win football matches, and unfortunately it didn't, but Steven scored a very good goal anyway.

"I thought Arsenal might have come back a little bit after that, but they didn't. We kept the pressure on right to the very, very end. It was a great point in the end.

"The players are feeling a little better about themselves, and hopefully they'll have a little bit more confidence and keep the desire and commitment, and use their abilties and talents to good effect when the opportunity comes around.

"We didn't let our heads go down, and were very, very unlucky not to equalise within a minute of Geremi's header.

"We put some pressure on crosses, throw ins and corners, and there were a lot of scrambles going on in Arsenal's box.

"We felt we could put them under more pressure in the second half, and we might get some reward. We got 50 per cent of what we deserved, and that was a draw.

"They saw Arsenal begin to struggle for the first time in the game in the second half, and then tried to take full advantage of that because it's not often Arsenal struggle with a team like they've got.

"Everybody saw for the last 45 minutes they found it difficult going, and we went right to the end and came up with the sort of opportunity that if we'd had a bit more luck and confidence, we'd have actually won it.

"Under the circumstances, it is a weight lifted off us all, and me. But I will keep working and knowing what's right and not get distracted by the outside influences."

"I have been doing the job long enough to know I cannot let outside influences change my focus or my way of managing because I know I would not be sitting here if I was not good at what I do."

"I am relieved, but disappointed we did not win, which is a little hard to take."

"Pulling off a performance like that and coming back from 1-0 down and then having enough opportunities or half-chances - and particularly one really good chance at the death, left the lads and us disappointed, I have to say."

"Coming out of the run we have had going into the game, we would have all settled for a draw.

"When they went 1-0 up so early, it looked like it might be difficult, but tonight was not difficult for our players because of their commitment to playing well at St James' to get the fans behind them and will them on to a result was there for all to see."

"Sadly at the end, we did not get the just rewards we deserved from the header at the far post, which was as good a chance as you can get."

Chris Mort post-match said:

"Sam and I met and we knew that we had to put things right. We were both very keen to go out and do well against Arsenal.

"Maybe it might not have happened last night, but we knew that eventually it will turn round.

"We were never going to isolate things on one game, or say a time when we would do something.

"We performed in a way that's incredibly satisfying for everybody connected with Newcastle United.

"The fans would have went home happy with themselves. We're all thrilled with the performance, and the result could have been even better.

"The fans were perfect, but that didn't surprise me at all. We went 1-0 down and they absolutely supported their team.

"And as we said throughout, the Newcastle fans can have a massive influence to what happens on the pitch. They did that. They got behind us and the team responded accordingly.

"It would be wrong to judge the team on a particular fixture, and I'm not going to ignore the fact we had some bad results lately.

"And the team is going to need time to get things right, and we're going to give them time to get it right. We'll get it right eventually.

"And it was evidence we are heading in the right direction."

They Said

Arsene Wenger said:

"...The pressure from the stands was so big that overall I cannot blame the referee..... there was a union to win this game and fight tonight. Everybody was on board because their team fought like mad for 90 minutes and they got a point from it." 

"It's not bad. We would have signed for that at the start of the season, but when you are 1-0 in front..."

Asked if he thought the result was a fair one:

"Yes, maybe overall, yes, even though it was frustrating for us.

"It was a physically very, very difficult game for us tonight and mentally as well because they did fight for every ball.

"We were not up to our usual game, but we got a point that maybe we would not have got last year.

"But it was down more to the quality of our defending than to our drive going forward."

Gilberto added:

"They (Newcastle) played a good game at home with the crowd behind them, shouting all the time."


Steven Taylor's first goal of the season was only our fourth in nine games against Arsenal on Tyneside.

The defender opened his account this time round after grabbing four goals last season:
(Celta Vigo h UEFA Cup, Blackburn a, Birmingham a FA Cup and Sheffield United (a).

His shot also prevented Sam Allardyce from becoming the first Newcastle boss to preside over three successive home defeats in the Premiership. The last Magpies manager to claim that dubious record was Willie McFaul, defeated in the opening trio of home league games in 1987/88.  

Gunners on Tyneside - Premiership:

Drew 1-1 Taylor
2006/07: Drew 0-0 
Won 1-0 Solano
2004/05: Lost 0-1
Drew 0-0
2002/03: Drew 1-1 Robert
2001/02: Drew 1-1 Robert
2001/02: Lost 0-2
2000/01: Drew 0-0
1999/00: Won 4-2 Speed 2, Shearer, Griffin
1998/99: Drew 1-1 Hamann
1997/98: Lost 0-1
1996/97: Lost 1-2 Shearer
1995/96: Won 2-0 Ginola, Ferdinand
1994/95: Won 1-0 Beardsley
1993/94: Won 2-0 Cole, Beardsley

Total record against Arsenal:
  P W D L F A
SJP 75 40 17 18 137 82
Hbury/Em 74 21 17 36 80 119
League 149 61 34 54 217 201
SJP(FA) 2 0 2 0 4 4
Hbury/W/Stoke 7 4 0 3 7 9
SJP(LC) 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hbury/Em 3 0 0 3 0 8
Cup 12 4 2 6 11 21
Tot 161 65 36 60 228 222



When praising the vocal efforts at Ewood last weekend from our fans, we expressed hopes and fears that those 6,000 voices could be submerged beneath waves of negativity and indifference on home soil.

We needn't have worried.

To quote country music giant Merle Haggard, "Today I started loving you again", as our gathering resentment at the recent antics of some fellow fans was blown away by a vibrant and vocal united front coming from the stands.

Urged on in a manner that seemed to make an impression on everyone, Newcastle's much-maligned players posted a performance of genuine quality, determination and resolution on the pitch.

The Premiership leaders may have left Tyneside with their unbeaten record still intact but they were probably more relieved than disappointed with the draw, despite having taken an early lead. 

And that goal was the first test of the crowd's newly-rediscovered optimism.

The momentary bewilderment that followed the visitors goal gave way to a stirring vocal response. The team may have just conceded but the fans refused to follow suit and simply redoubled their efforts -
it's a long time since we did that. 

Where people had sloped off in disgust against Pompey and 'Pool, tonight they stood only to exhort their side on to greater heights. Like a revivalist gospel meeting, people testified. 

And from a personal perspective, it was especially heartening to hear the Gallowgate End rediscover its voice and start off songs and chants, rather than be the source of malcontment as sometimes seems to be the case when looking from the other end (cue 5,000 angry emails.....)

We'd contemplated a headline of "A Toon called Malice" had it all gone awry again, but in the end "That's Entertainment" was more apt.

But before we veer off totally into sychophantic simpering, it's as well to recall that we're still without a win in six games and for forty five minutes gave little sign of having anything in the style or content departments to go along with this rediscovered work ethic.

Not that you'd know that from the post-match coverage, where the over-the-top media reaction to this draw illustrated amply what ludicrous times we live in.

Despite Mort and Ashley's attempts not to portray this game as make or break for the manager, we still had a build-up more in keeping with a Las Vegas grapplefest. It was Judgement Night, apparently - even though Sky's Richard Keys did his best to dampen his own channel's hype.

And afterwards - although Allardyce was entitled to get a little carried away in his relief - there was a level of coverage that outweighed the ultimate significance of this match to either team.

If anything, the reaction to this point was akin to the New Years Day 2-2 against Man U, with Taylor taking the part of goalscoring saviour from the understudy Edgar.

hat pressure relieving point was seized upon by Roeder as evidence that his "way" would bring the good times back to the ground. 

But let's pause to recall that one week later Glenn's country casuals led by slacker generation icon Dyer, loafed their way to a cup draw at St.Andrews before being trounced in the replay - a defeat that Roeder never really recovered from.

The violent swings of over-reaction do little to help anyone and should things not go according to plan against Birmingham this time, we'll doubtless be the subject of yet more "crisis club" phone ins and broadcasts.

In fairness though, the press-led over-reaction that portrayed Sam as hero rather than villain was inspired by the crowd's backing, which included a surprisingly vigorous rendition of "Big Sam's Black and White Army".

That was recognition that his side had delivered the sort of gritty, industrious display that had been expected (and feared) given his previous organisational and motivational efforts at Bolton, but missing too often so far this season.

That approach still doesn't tick all the boxes as far as we and most of this crowd are concerned - although defensive solidity was still a vast improvement on the recent brittleness.

Vitally though, there was also something to admire from our forward forays towards the final whistle - a resurgence of the OOOH factor as we pressed forward, Milner and Zog looking to find a way through and a series of corners being forced amid great applause and encouragement

Even at that point there was a massive frustration at our setup that left a gaping hole down the right flank that would surely have brought us some reward had it been filled with a player getting into precisely the place from which Solano's shot beat this lot here two seasons ago.

A redoubling of efforts is essential if we're to stop the Birmingham revival - and dare we say that a more overtly attacking formation would send out a positive message that it's not all backs to the wall big hoof stuff. Something like Emre for Geremi or Enrique in defence to push Zog up...

Further proof of our own renaissance would come if we were to venture to Craven Cottage and record both that elusive first away clean sheet for a year and overdue second away win of the season without deploying eleven men behind the ball. 

In the same way that this isn't the time for votes of confidence, it's also inopportune to start patting people on the back for a job well done. Fear was ultimately a motivation tonight for us.

Quite simply, it's what they get paid for and so often talk about doing before failing to delivery. One should never have to demand competence and spirit - it should be expected.

As it was before, the future of Allardyce remains in the hands of his players and the fans. Tonight proved that both can feed off each other and actually enjoy themselves in the process. 

The challenge now is to keep it going and not fall into the trap of believing everything you read....  



Page last updated 09 October, 2007