Football: Arsenal's day of blood, sweat and tears

Arsenal 0 Newcastle United 1 (Elliott 44) Attendance: 38,179

The sweat had hardly dried on Manchester United's foreheads when Newcastle United emerged as possible joint runners in the field for next season's Champions' League. They finished a hugely tense, competitive game at Highbury with 10 men and Les Ferdinand as a defender, but they fiercely held on to Robbie Elliott's first-half lead.

As for Arsenal, they embarked on their penultimate match of the season knowing that defeat would almost certainly see the closing of the door on their European hopes and reopen a window of opportunity for Newcastle. They finished with Arsene Wenger admitting: "It was very frustrating to finish in this way. Our fault this season was that we lost the big home games against Manchester United, Liverpool, now Newcastle."

It was not a day to be without the dauntless Tony Adams, who had aggravated an ankle injury while playing for England in midweek. And although he had recovered sufficiently to start yesterday, double vision cost him the second half.

This was a game for the sturdy and determined. Within 15 minutes the names of Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp and Steve Watson had been taken while Adams had shown perfect self-discipline when coolly taking the ball off Robert Lee and Faustino Asprilla.

Bergkamp infuriated Watson by grazing his chest with his studs, but then came his sweeter side as he carefully curled a shot from Lee Dixon's searching cross-field ball.

Pavel Srnicek, playing faultlessly in the Newcastle goal even though it was his first appearance of the year, soared across and grabbed the ball in mid-air.

Meanwhile, a full-blooded but fair challenge by Adams knocked the breath and apparently the enthusiasm out of Ferdinand, resulting in Newcastle relying more and more on Lee's attacking from midfield. Yet he succumbed to injury, forcing the struggling Ferdinand to stay on and Lee Clark to come on.

If anyone had reason to cry "enough" it was Adams, who suffered a collision on the ground when Asprilla smashed into his face. Hardly any wonder that the match turned into a seething battle with Arsenal seeming to take advantage of Newcastle's negligence in possession. So they considered themselves unfortunate when, two minutes into first-half injury time, Darren Peacock lifted the ball high into the area for Elliott to head home.

When, at half-time, Adams had to give in to his eye problem, Dixon, hitherto outstanding at right wing-back, took a central defensive role with Ray Parlour taking over the right side. But the central defender with the greatest influence was Watson, whose control of Wright was crucial. On those occasions when Wright did have chances, Srnicek was equal to them, while Dixon proved his worth on the Arsenal goal-line in clearing from Asprilla's replacement, Keith Gillespie.

Gillespie's appearance was brief and really only endangered Newcastle's position. Having already had his name taken, he then inflicted a challenge from slightly behind Nigel Winterburn who admittedly looked threatening down the left side and was about to enter the penalty area.

The referee, Martin Bodenham, who was already book-happy considering the predictable intensity of the game, sent him off. Newcastle dispatched Ferdinand to inspire a defence that stood up to 15 minutes of permanent assault and utter frustration for Arsenal.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn