Newcastle United 1 Arsenal 1

Last updated : 05 December 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Newcastle finally put some pride back into their play as they fought out a third successive Premier League draw with Arsenal, who have now moved four points clear of second-placed Manchester United.

Beleaguered boss Sam Allardyce saw a battling display from his under-pressure side that had only mustered one point from its previous five games.

And furthermore, Allardyce did not want to become tarnished by the unwanted statistic of being the first United manager ever to lose three successive Premier League games at St James' Park following those horrendous maulings by Portsmouth and Liverpool.

Yet the writing looked to be on the wall when a Charles N'Zogbia error allowed the league's leading scorer Emmanuel Adebayor to make it three goals in his last four games after just four minutes.

After growing discontent in those previous two games, the United crowd this time stood firm with a tremendous backing that seemed to inspire the players and the whole place erupted on the hour-mark when local hero Steven Taylor fired Newcastle level.

One of five English players in the Newcastle starting line-up - Arsenal had none - Taylor was the only change to the side beaten 3-1 at Blackburn.

Arsenal, unbeaten in the league since losing to West Ham eight months ago, could not have asked for a better start.

N'Zogbia's wayward clearance was played straight into the box leaving Adebayor still with a lot to do.

But the big man from Togo showed stunning qualities to first chest the ball and then smash a right-foot volley beyond the despairing Shay Given.

Newcastle could quite easily have buckled, but instead were galvanised by the outstanding Alan Smith, who caused trouble all night for the Gunners back four.

The England man won just about everything in the air but could only watch as skipper Geremi flashed a header narrowly wide and brought a good save out of Manuel Almunia from a free-kick.

Taylor announced his intentions to find the net after 34 minutes when, from Newcastle's first corner, he saw Almunia get a hand to his header and William Gallas chested the ball off the line.

Within seconds of the second-half restart, N'Zogbia almost redeemed his earlier mistake by bringing a wonderful save out of Spaniard Almunia.

But the goal Newcastle so rightly deserved came after 60 minutes when Arsenal attempted to play out a corner that saw Joey Barton force an error out of Eduardo.

Habib Beye whipped the ball back into the area, Smith got a slight flick and Obafemi Martins cleverly dummied the ball for Taylor to sweep in his first goal of the season off the near post.

Newcastle piled on the pressure after that and Arsenal always looked dangerous with their swift counter attacks.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger was furious when Adebayor went down under pressure from Beye and nothing was awarded.

But a draw was the right result as Newcastle became only the fourth team this season to prevent the Gunners making it maximum points in what has already been their best start ever to a season in the Premier League.