Diaby's killer punch floors Newcastle

Newcastle United 1 Arsenal 3

Arsenal are in a groove. It has surely come too late to have Manchester United quivering but Arsène Wenger's team stretched their unbeaten Premier League run to 16 games last night. That Manuel Almunia was key to the latest victory shows that this was not one of those scintillating all-out attacking displays, but it contained a devastating 10-minute spell midway through the second half when Arsenal floored a hitherto spirited Newcastle.

Goals from Nicklas Bendtner, Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri crushed Newcastle's resistance. That their goalkeeper, Steve Harper, was also prominent revealed that Arsenal developed as a force over the 90 minutes.

Newcastle contributed to their downfall with injuries to defenders Sebastien Bassong and Steven Taylor that meant three different central pairings were employed. But for an hour, as Wenger conceded, Newcastle were robust and combative. Ultimately, however, they were to pay heavily for Obafemi Martins' missed 23rd minute penalty - saved by Almunia. Shades of Rome in the Champions' League said Wenger.

Martins later redeemed himself with a sweet volleyed equaliser but having slipped into the bottom three before kick-off, that's where Newcastle will remain for the international fortnight. They are two points off fourth-bottom Blackburn with eight games left and owner Mike Ashley, who sported a grimace as the game petered out, was seen walking towards the home dressing room afterwards.

If it was to say "well done for 60 minutes", then that would be understandable. "Newcastle put us under pressure in the first half and they could have been in front," said Wenger, who added he was surprised Michael Owen was dropped to the bench. "But I must say that Martins and [Peter] Lovenkrands were lively."

Wenger had popped into the press room before the game to check on the news from Fulham and had smiled when he heard it, but he admitted that the possibility of catching United is "a chance in a billion." He also said: "You never know."

Arsenal are10 points behind the champions, who have a game in hand, and the win might have more ramifications for fourth place than the title. Aston Villa go to Liverpool today. "It's in our hands now," Wenger said.

Newcastle United would love to be able to say such a thing. But Martins' squandered penalty is emblematic of a traumatic season.

Compared to the previous outing at Hull, this was a vast improvement though and Owen watched on as an energetic home effort got underway. Damien Duff, Lovenkrands and Martins were bursting consistently through the visiting defence.

Yet in an end-to-end affair, Steven Taylor also made vital blocks from Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie.

But Bassong's 38th minute departure had implications in the 57th when Bendtner rose unchallenged to head home. Martins' equaliser turned out to be an interruption. Diaby and Nasri rattled in two more. Owen did come on but the game was gone.

Attendance: 49,972

Referee: Mark Halsey

Man of the match: Diaby

Match rating: 7/10

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor