Just another game
Arsenal fans flocked into St. James Park hoping their side would show Newcastle how to play football. New arrival Alan Pardew had already seen off Liverpool at St. James Park in his first game in charge but their main man Andy Carroll had left on deadline day. With £35m lying around and no chance to spend it on a replacement, Pardew looked to Leon Best, the ex-Coventry striker. Not known as a prolific goal scorer, Best arrived on the scene with a bang and scored instantly and is now Pardew's first choice striker. Arsenal where having their own selection problems too. Samir Nasri had hit top form, Van Persie back in on the goals and Arshavin fighting out the last spot with Chamakh and Walcott. Arsenal were set to play their normal game and Newcastle ready to disrupt their rhythm and counter Arsenal. Most predicted a good game, but never one that would go down in history.
Down and out
The game kicked off and instantly, Theo Walcott broker free down the right wing and lashed the ball into the net. Less than a minute in and Arsenal had the lead. Another minute later, Arsenal were back in the Newcastle box with a corner that Johan Djourou nodded in. Newcastle's hopes looked t be in tatters and with yet another Arsenal attack, the Toon found themselves 3-0 down inside ten minutes. Arsenal set to cruise control and even though the game seemed won they swept forward and it was only a matter of time until Robin Van Persie had his second. A sublime cross from Bacary Sagna gave the Dutchman a 1v1 with Steve Harper and there was only one winner. The Newcastle fans in disarray, Arsenal's in disbelief of how easy the game had seemed. The remaining twenty minutes of the half passed and Arsenal seemed untouchable. They had clicked and it would take something special to beat them.
Newcastle came out from the tunnel a new side, new belief. It took them twenty four minutes to work a goal and Joey Barton struck home the penalty awarded past Szczesny. The fight was restored in the Newcastle side and Pardew's men were out for a second goal. With only fifteen minutes to go, Leon Best finished off a good move by Newcastle by reading a deflection and tapping the ball home. The fans started to believe in their side and they genuinely believed a comeback was possible. The Arsenal fans discontent with the goal but still ahead. Tensions started to boil as Kevin Nolan wanted to take the ball back to the Kick off after the goal but Szczesny would not give the ball away. Nolan barged the young Keeper and there was a tussle but referee Phil Dowd pulled the players apart and Nolan got away with a warning. Abou Diaby of the Arsenal midfield was involved in the controversy. He was sent off with a straight red card by Dowd for a lunging tackle on Barton. Diaby claimed Barton should have been sent off instead and the tables seemed to be turning on Arsenal as Newcastle seemed to become more involved in the game. Leon Best was denied a goal just shy of the eighty minute mark but it didn't take him long to make up for it. Newcastle again broke into the Arsenal box and Best was hacked down and the defender escaped with a yellow card. Joey Barton stepped up for the penalty and the pressure was on. The stadium went quiet. Barton took his run up and sent the keeper the wrong way. Seven minutes to play and Newcastle were beginning to ponder the unthinkable. An incredible haul back of goals in any game, let alone against Arsenal. Newcastle kept the pressure on but Arsenal kept solid at the back.
Eighty seven minutes on the clock and Newcastle had a corner. Barton swung it in but Arsenal cleared. The ball came out to Cheik Tiote. Not many players would have the cheek, let alone skill to take on a volley such as this. Twenty five yards out and the ball spinning on its way towards him, Tiote had the audacity to take the shot on. And did he catch the shot well. Tiote had managed to time the hit to perfection, take aim and slice the ball through the group of players and slot it into the bottom corner. An eruption unlike I've ever seen before. Unbelievable. Breathe taking and just sensational. A swarm of Newcastle players turned to Tiote as he celebrated his miracle goal. He threw himself to the floor and on to his knees. Raw emotion on his face as the best comeback of all time had come to life. The greatest match of football ever to be played, a fittingly stunning goal to equalise. Tiote collapsed onto the pitch as the feelings came back to him. For a second, nothing mattered in the world. The fans were inspired and to see the sheer emotion on their faces is a rare sight in football. The whole stand erupting, a swarm of waving arms and an incredible moment. The world will never forget the moment Cheik Tiote slammed the equaliser against Arsenal in the eighty seventh minute. 'The comeback to end all comebacks' said Jonathan Pearce for BBC Match of the Day you could say it was an understatement. The goal a fitting testament to the Newcastle team's spirit that day. The only way to sum up such an incredible game of football... Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal.
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