Wednesday, December 18, 2013

18 December 2001 - It Was Just A Temporary Setback

On 18 December 2001, Arsenal lost to Newcastle 1-3. It was their last loss of the season as they went on to win the title.

The two teams started the day in second and third, with Arsenal ahead only by virtue of a better goal differential. They hosted Newcastle at Highbury on a Tuesday, and took a 20th-minute lead with a goal from Robert Pires. But two minutes before the break, referee Graham Poll ejected Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour, who received his second yellow card of the day for tripping Newcastle's Alan Shearer.

Newcastle made their advantage pay off in the second half, with Andy O'Brien equalizing in the 60th minute. Then, in the 85th minute, Poll awarded a penalty to the visitors for Sol Campbell's foul on Laurent Robert and Shearer converted the kick to put Newcastle up 1-2. Robert scored in stoppage time to extend the final margin to 1-3, giving the Toon their first win in London since 1997 and sent them to the top of league over Liverpool.

Arsenal regrouped, however, and went undefeated for the remainder of the season. They won their last thirteen matches, including an away win over Newcastle, to win the league seven points clear of runners-up Liverpool with a record of 26 wins, 9 draws, and only 3 losses.

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