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Official Match thread: Arsenal V Newcastle

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From the beeb -



Sunday, 14 August

Kick-off: 1330 BST




Arsenal are without the suspended Jose Antonio Reyes so Dennis Bergkamp will start up front with Thierry Henry.


Sol Campbell is still missing with a calf injury but Manuel Almunia is fit again after a broken finger.


Alan Shearer has shaken off a calf injury in time to play but Newcastle are without strikers Michael Chopra (knee) and Shola Ameobi (suspension).


New signings Scott Parker, Emre and Craig Moore are included but there is no place for Titus Bramble (elbow).






Arsenal (from): Lehmann, Almunia, Lauren, Hoyte, Cole, Clichy, Toure, Senderos, Cygan, Gilberto Silva, Fabregas, Flamini, Pires, Ljungberg, van Persie, Hleb, Bergkamp, Henry.


Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Carr, Babayaro, Taylor, Elliott, Boumsong, Moore, Parker, Emre, Jenas, Bowyer, Faye, N'Zogbia, Shearer, Dyer, Milner.







Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger:

"Newcastle can be one of the dangerous teams this season.

"No-one expects them to be but they are a good side, especially in the middle of the park where they have made some good additions with Emre and Parker.


"They already had a very good midfield, so they're a very good side and a great performance will be needed to win."



Newcastle boss Graeme Souness:

"We are under no illusions that it will be a very hard game for us but if we can enjoy a bit of luck and perform we can win any game.

"We've had them watched and there's things we think we can exploit.


"We're going to Highbury with some outstanding players in our ranks. I'm confident and looking forward to it. I know the players will be up for it."









ARSENAL go into this final season at Highbury before the move to Ashburton Grove, desperately wanting to bow out with a fourth Premier League title. They've not finished outside the top two for eight seasons, and proudly boast the longest continuous stay in top flight football. This will be their 80th successive campaign in the highest League.


The FA Cup winners hold the record for the longest unbeaten start to a Premiership season. It's a record that will never be broken, as they completed the entire campaign the season before last without defeat. Twelve months ago they extended that unbeaten run to a League record 49, with eight wins and one draw from the first nine outings. They face Newcastle for a Sunday lunchtime fixture, in what will be Arsene Wenger's 499th competitive match in charge. His 500th is scheduled, fittingly, for the trip to Chelsea seven days later. Arsenal have won their opening League fixture in each of the last four seasons, and in six of the last seven.


The Gunners have won half of their 24 Premiership matches against Newcastle. That includes the last three at Highbury, culminating in a 1-0 victory last January when Dennis Bergkamp was on target.


NEWCASTLE UNITED have been Premiership runners-up twice and ended in the top three four times. But they could only manage 14th last season, and go into their 13th consecutive campaign at the highest level and 76th season in the top tier knowing that an improvement is required on their lowest ever Premiership placing last May.


The Magpies have not lost an opening day fixture for four seasons. The last two have both been away, to Leeds and Middlesbrough, and both resulted in 2-2 draws. The Tyneside club hold the record for successive victories at the start of a Premier League season. Kevin Keegan's side managed six on the spin in 1994.


The Magpies were 'doubled' by Arsenal last season with two 1-0 defeats, and have not scored against the Gunners in three meetings.


Premiership Ins and Outs





Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent)










Club stats


Last season: 2nd 83 points


One of seven ever presents in the Premier League.


Title winners in 1998, 2002 and 2004.


Been crowned champions of England 13 times.


Scored 117 goals in all competitions last term.


Netted an unsurpassed 87 goals in the Premier League (averaging one every 39 minutes).


Failed to score in only three top flight games. No club could match that.

Opened the scoring in an unequalled 30 of their 38 matches.


Won eight of their last 10 Premiership matches - losing the final encounter to Birmingham.


Scored in every home League game last term.





Club stats


Last season: 14th 44 points


Ended last season four places and 11 points above the drop zone.


Finished 12 places and 39 points below runners-up Arsenal and 51 points behind champions Chelsea.









Squad profiles


Thierry HENRY was last season's leading scorer amongst Premiership players, with 30 League and Cup goals.


HENRY won the Golden Boot award as leading scorer in the Premiership with 25 goals.


The French scoring ace is within four goals of Ian Wright's record 185 for Arsenal.





Squad profiles


Alan SHEARER is the Premiership's leading scorer of all time with 250 goals.

SHEARER needs two more to total 275 in English top flight football.


The former England skipper is eight short of Jackie Milburn's record of 200 for the Tyneside club. (Milburn's total consists of 177 League goals and 23 in the FA Cup.

It does not include the goal he scored in Newcastle's 2-1 loss to Tottenham in the 1951 FA Charity Shield).


If he participates, SHEARER will be playing the day after turning 35.


If involved, Scott PARKER will be making his 150th career League appearance (Charlton, Norwich, Chelsea and Newcastle).







Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle United

23 January 2005 - Ref: Steve Dunn

Arsenal scorer: Bergkamp 19







League: Arsenal 53 wins, Newcastle 60, Draws 31

Prem: Arsenal 12 wins, Newcastle 7, Draws 5


HEAD TO HEAD at Arsenal

League: Arsenal 35 wins, Newcastle 21, Draws 16

Prem: Arsenal 8 wins, Newcastle 3, Draws 1

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J Lehmann, B Lauren, K Toure, P Senderos, A Cole, F Ljungberg, G Silva, F Fabregas, R Pires, D Bergkamp, T Henry


Subs: R Van Persie, A Hleb, M Flamini, P Cygan, M Almunia




S Given, S Carr, J Boumsong, S Taylor, C Babayaro, K Dyer, J Jenas, S Parker, B Emre, L Bowyer, A Shearer


Subs: R Elliott, S Harper, C N'Zogbia, A Faye, J Milner

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Impressed with how the team has performed so far. Was really enjoying the game until Bennett interfered. Didn't take him long to remind me how incompetence is ruining the game.


If they're going to employ totalitarian tactics by not allowing people to speak out against their shocking incompetence then I shall have to respond in kind by setting up death squads. Anyone interested in doing things the old fashioned way PM me!


Don't reckon we can hold out for 45 minutes now, but then I didn't expect us to perform like this in the first place.

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Watching that penalty again I don't see what N'Zogbia did. Ljungberg fresh aired his shot and fell over his own feet!


Considering Arsenal fans were still whining about Graham Poll three seasons later for daring to be fair at Highbury, I just wonder if they'll be honest about this bastard Bennett ? Well - as they didnt for the worst biased refereeing performance in history (Graham Ashby in the sending off of Ginola quarter final league cup, when Arsenal got away with gbh on Ginola) I doubt it somehow.

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Overall we have defended really really well! not sure about the penalty but it was all arse in the second half. ref made an absolute howler he couldn't even see the challenge which just makes u wonder if he was an arse fan or just an incompetent ass!


Taylor and boumsong had a great match! both defended bravely.


scott parker for me was outstanding defending so well in the later stages of the game when the arse was doing all the pressing!


particularly impressed with emre who chased every ball and put in a solid performance! bowyer impressed as well!

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