Anger as light fades at St James'

Newcastle United 1 Arsenal 3

No matter what some say, there are still good things about Newcastle United. One of them is the St James' Park DJ.

As bewildered, silenced punters departed a scene of what felt very much like loss, the Tannoy cranked into "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out". Full-volume Morrissey warbling sweetly about a double-decker bus crash as the mournful shuffled out: this was a selection more inspired than many at this ground of late. Morrissey and marred.

It is a time for Gallowgate humour. Around the corner at the Northern Stage theatre, a production of Look Back In Anger plays, and to paraphrase, Newcastle don't want to be a lost cause.

But that is how it feels. Even though there are eight games remaining, something withered here. Belief, hope, call it what you will, logic says that a team that has won just six of 30 league games so far will not suddenly string three or four together in the last eight.

Given that Newcastle have yet to play Chelsea at home and Liverpool and Aston Villa away, the margin for error was reducing even before Obafemi Martins slid a weak 23rd-minute penalty-kick into the hands of Manuel Almunia.

That was one downward turning point on the night. Fifteen minutes later, Sébastien Bassong limped off. That was another, the full effect of which was seen as Nicklas Bendtner rose unchallenged to nod Arsenal ahead 12 minutes after half-time. Then Steven Taylor received treatment on the touchline as Abou Diaby exchanged a one-two with Robin van Persie to run through Newcastle's heart and bury the second. That was another.

Three minutes later, Samir Nasri made it three to end the contest and though Martins had briefly made it 1-1, the last 20 minutes could have seen Arsenal score more.

For the faithful, who had been generating real noise, resignation set in. There were flickers of anger, though, beside the home dugout and higher up.

The club owner Mike Ashley was confronted by an angry figure, one who is well known to Newcastle players past and present. He was removed from the premises.

Without wishing to be provocative, Ashley might need to ready himself for more of that, because the local hostility towards him and the likes of Dennis Wise has been on hold. It has not disappeared. With Newcastle lying two points below fourth-bottom Blackburn, their fate is not theirs to decide and the indefatigable fan base seems ready to explode.

"I wish Newcastle stay in the league, personally, because I like the people here, I like the consistency of the support," said the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger. "I really hope they stay up. But it will be very close." It is foreseeable that others will say the same in the coming weeks but sentiment will not make Newcastle win.

A fit Michael Owen would help; the caretaker coach Chris Hughton dropped Owen for Peter Lovenkrands and said Owen was "maybe not back up to match speed". Wenger admitted surprise at Owen's status on the bench.

Wenger praised Lovenkrands, but he could afford to be generous. This was a third straight league win and Manchester United and Chelsea had both lost.

"They still have quality to finish it off but you can see how important psychology is," Wenger said of United and the title. "They had a big disappointment losing to Liverpool; and when you have a knock like that it can be difficult to recover. I am sure they will recover because their manager is experienced, their players are experienced and they still have a game in hand. I still have hope."

Asked why, Wenger replied: "Because I am a bit crazy."

Newcastle fans can supply their own punchline.

Goals: Bendtner (57) 0-1; Martins (58) 1-1; Diaby (64) 1-2; Nasri (67) 1-3.

Newcastle United (4-4-1-1) Harper; S Taylor (Owen, 66), Coloccini, Bassong (Beye, 38) Enrique; R Taylor, Butt, Nolan, Duff; Lovenkrands (Ameobi, 79); Martins. Substitutes not used: Krul (gk), Smith, Geremi, Gutierrez.

Arsenal (4-4-2) Almunia; Sagna, Touré, Gallas, Clichy; Nasri, Diaby, Denilson, Arshavin (Song, 75); Bendtner (Eboué, 89), Van Persie. Substitutes not used: Fabianski (gk), Djourou, Gibbs, Vela, Eduardo.

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).

Booked: Arsenal Gallas.

Man of the match: Diaby.

Attendance: 49,972.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent