Full time: Arsenal 7 (SEVEN) Newcastle 3
I would summarise this game, but I have plans to leave work before 2013. In short, Theo Walcott had the time of his life. Night.
90+4 min Giroud hits the bar from Ramsey's cross. That would have been his hat-trick as well, and he's only been on the field for 20 minutes.
90+3 min I've just realised the score is 7-3. The eff?
GOAL! Arsenal 7-3 Newcastle (Walcott 90+2)
Thierry Walcott gets his second hat-trick of the season. He was actually fouled on the left of the box as he tried to slither between two defenders, but while everyone else was appealing for a penalty Walcott sprang straight to his feet and dinked the ball softly over Krul and into the net. That was another extremely good finish.
90 min Santon is booked for a nasty hack at Giroud.
GOAL! Arsenal 6-3 Newcastle (Giroud 87)
This is getting silly now. Giroud gets his second goal in three minutes, picking up a loose ball on the right of the box and rattling it past Krul at the near post. Newcastle thought there might have been a foul on Tiote in the build-up, but such is life.
86 min Arsenal bring on Coquelin for Cazorla.
GOAL! Arsenal 5-3 Newcastle (Giroud 85)
For the third time this season, Arsenal have scored five in a home league game. This time Walcott was the provider with an outstanding cross towards Giroud, who dived to head emphatically past Krul from six yards. If Walcott's first goal was pure Thierry Henry, then that cross was pure David Beckham: he ran away from goal, around the ball, before whipping it first time into the perfect area between defenders and goalkeeper. Wonderful stuff.
83 min Walcott is very close to his hat-trick, sidefooting a shot from the edge of the box that hits Perch and drifts fractionally wide of the far post.
83 min A substitution per side: Shola Ameobi replaces the impressive Gael Bigirimana – he could be a player, that lad – and Aaron Ramsey comes on for Lukas Podolski, who had a part in all four goals. Actually Newcastle have made a second substitution, with Shane Ferguson replacing Danny Simpson.
82 min A good stat from Jon Champion on ESPN: Newcastle have actually won more 4-3s than they've lost in the Premier League era. It's just that people only really remember the defeats. Actually, I suppose the 4-3 win at Leeds in 2001 was pretty memorable.
81 min Walcott beats Krul to a bouncing ball in the box, but he's too wide to shoot and his eventual cross is cleared.
80 min A goal is overdue; the last one came seven minutes ago.
76 min Bigirimana's 25-yard shot is well hit but straight at the keeper.
74 min Arsenal bring on Olivier Giroud for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. That means Walcott, on a hat-trick, will return to the right wing.
GOAL! Arsenal 4-3 Newcastle (Walcott 73)
Not for the first time, Newcastle are 4-3 behind in a Premier League match. The goal was prompted by Podolski, who put Gibbs through on the left of the box with a neat pass for the second time in the half. This time Gibbs eschewed the shot, pulling it back towards Podolski. He missed his kick completely but it came to Walcott, who did a slick 180-degree turn and rammed a rising drive into the roof of the net from 10 yards. That was a good finish because there were a slew of bodies between him and the goal.
72 min "Stephen Ireland owns central midfield in the cowardlyPremier League XI," says Matt Dony. "He's gone from outplaying Robinho to avoiding any kind of responsibility whatsoever in just a few short years."
Is he a coward? He just seems like somebody who completely lost his way. Whatever the reason, it's pretty sad as he was a delightful player in 2008-09. I thought he'd be to New City what Frank Lampard was to New Chelsea.
71 min That's 13 goals in 160 minutes since Christmas: not even Keegan's Newcastle were this entertaining.
GOAL! Arsenal 3-3 Newcastle (Ba 69)
Told you there'd be goals plural. We've now had six of them. Marveaux, given too much room on the edge of the area, flicked a pass cross with the outside of his left foot behind the defence, and Ba got away from Gibbs to sidefoot a crisp volley through Szczesny from eight yards. As my colleague Daniel Harris point out, this is the precise opposite of what happened to Newcastle at Old Trafford: they have come from behind on three occasions.
66 min Koscielny misses a fine chance, flick-heading Wilshere's inswinging cross well wide of the far post from eight yards.
GOAL! Arsenal 3-2 Newcastle (Podolski 64)
Arsenal are back in front thanks to some wonderful play from Jack Wilshere. He moved smoothly into the area, running from centre to left, and then dinked in a glorious cross from the byline. It looped over Krul and, although Coloccini did brilliantly to head it from under his own bar, Podolski followed up to head the loose ball in from a few yards. That was a devilishly difficult cross to deal with, and I'm not sure Coloccini could have done much more.
63 min More excellent goalkeeping from Krul, who charges from his line to claim Cazorla's through ball a fraction before Podolski. Cazorla has been outstanding since half-time.
62 min "For me, Marveaux sounds like a Victorian purveyor of derring-do," says Phil Sawyer. "'Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, the great Marveaux will cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Blindfolded. While juggling monkeys.'"
61 min A nice left-footed curler from Cazorla on the edge of the box is very well saved by Krul, plunging to his right. He got a very strong hand on that to deflect it wide for a corner.
GOAL! Arsenal 2-2 Newcastle (Marveaux 59)
Bravo Marveaux, and other lame puns. Sylvain Marveaux has scored his first Premier League goal for Newcastle. It was made by Gabriel Obertan, who beat Sagna far too easily in the box before getting to the byline and sidefooting a low cross that deflected off Koscielny and straight to Marveaux at the far post. He swept it in from a couple of yards. Marveaux was in a bizarre amount of space, with the left-back Gibbs sucked towards the near post for reasons best known to him.
57 min Walcott mistakes himself for Lionel Messi and wastes a three-on-two opportunity by going alone and shooting lamely wide from 20 yards. He must drive Wenger mad; his potential is enormous but his decision-making is not entirely without fault.
56 min "Might your other reader suggest candidates for a Premiership Cowardly XI?" says Ian Copestake. "If Wilshere has been put on its sub's bench and Nasri is a key player then my suggestion for inclusion is Downing, for whom the pass back and run forward quickly away from the ball is a signature move." That left-wing spot would be hotly contested: Nasri, Downing and of course Ashley Young.
55 min "Evening Rob," says Simon McMahon. "The highlight of the sporting year? Might be yet to come. The darts tonight could be truly historic. I have a feeling we could see a nine-darter from both players in the van Gerwen v. Lewis match. With Barney and Taylor already through, and Wade and Newton to come tonight as well, whoever wins the Sid Waddell Trophy on New Year's Day will have deserved it. Please make my year and say you'll be staying on to do the darts. You know you want to."
I would love to but I'm actually off to the darts, so sod pleasing the peasants. <Impartiality department> Come on MvG! </impartiality department>
53 min Wenger has sorted his zip out. Arsene knows (how to fix a busted zip).
52 min "Evening, Rob," says Ian Copestake. "The great thing about having the surname Marveaux is that no matter what he does it sounds fantastic. A Marveaux cross, a Marveaux volley, a Marveaux two-footed lunge over the ball."
GOAL! Arsenal 2-1 Newcastle (Oxlade-Chamberlain 50)
This is a really nice finish from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The goal actually came from a Newcastle throw-in. Simpson threw it onto the head of Podolski, who flicked it infield to Cazorla. He swept the ball low across the face of the box to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who ran at Santon before drilling an accomplished shot across Krul and into the corner.
50 min Podolski has had a weird game. Apart from creating the goal and two other clear chances he has done the square root of bugger all.
47 min An early chance for Arsenal. Wilshere played the ball square to Podolski, 20 yards from goal. He slipped an excellent angled pass to put the onrushing Gibbs through on goal, to the left of centre, but his sidefooted shot was straight at Krul. Had he drilled it across the keeper he would probably have scored.
47 min "Given the abuse directed at Samir Nasri following his shirking at Van Persie's winner in the Manchester derby," begins my colleague Paul Doyle, "must we now call Jack Wilshere a, let's see, spotted-dick-eating surrender monkey?"
46 min Arsenal kick off the second half.
Half time: Arsenal 1-1 Newcastle
Ba, eight yards from goal, heads Marveaux's left-wing corner over the bar. That was another pretty decent chance, and it's also the last touch of the half. Newcastle have been excellent, palpably superior to a sluggish Arsenal. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.
45+1 min Marveaux draws a good save from Szczesny. This would have been a lovely goal. He sprinted from the halfway line to the edge of the box, zipped infield and drilled a rising left-footed shot that Szczesny palmed away two-handed as he leapt to his right. The shot was just a bit too straight, although it was still a good save.
45 min "What makes a good game?" muses Matt Dony. "Goals, shots, drama? Get with it, grandad. Possession is the only KPI that matters these days, ok? Grinding, eternal possession. Ok?"
GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Newcastle (Ba 44)
Obertan is fouled by Sagna, 20 yards from goal to the left of centre. Demba Ba will fancy this – and he scores with the aid of a big deflection. Jack Wilshere was on the end of the wall and turned his back on the ball, which hit him on the back of the head and went into the net past the wrong-footed Szcezsny. It's a fortunate goal, but Newcastle certainly deserve it.
43 min "Walcott's goal looked like vintage Henry, the last shot looked like vintage Walcott," says Alex Amponsah. He is a really good finisher I think, at least with his right foot.
42 min "Don't expect Arsenal to renew that Nike contract anytime soon if they don't solve that zipper issue," says Thierry Salvet.
41 min From the resulting corner, Arsenal break two-on-one but Walcott's pass is beyond hopeless. What an opportunity that was. In a sense that's as bad as missing a one-on-one.
40 min Newcastle know about Tiote's ability to shoot from range, and after a nice passing move he hits a vicious shot that Szczesny palms over for a corner. It was too straight to cause the keeper significant problems but it was beautifully hit.
37 min Walcott misses a very good chance to make it 2-0. He was put through on goal by Podolski, again to the left of centre, but this time he had to use his left foot. You know what that means: a slightly tame shot that was comfortably saved by the advancing Krul.
36 min Newcastle have outpassed Arsenal in the last 20 minutes. It's a slightly strange game. In fact in the last five minutes, Newcastle have had 74 per cent of the possession. Szczesny has had nothing to do, mind.
35 min For those who believe in old-fashioned notions of football entertainment – goals, shots, drama – this game has been rubbish.
34 min The Emirates atmosphere is not exactly comparable to the Estadio Monumental on 25 June 1978.
31 min It was Santon, the left-back, who played Walcott onside for the goal. The centre-halves let him go because they thought he was running into an offside position.
30 min If you can't read my award-winning description of the goal, please press F5. Our auto-refresh tool doesn't work properly.
29 min Mr Tulisa wins another corner for Newcastle down the right-hand side. Chris Waddle on ESPN says Newcastle have "controlled the game" between the two 18-yard boxes. I wouldn't go that far but they have played well. The corner is claimed easily by Sir Chesney.
28 min Wilshere's gentle inswinging corner is dropped by the under-pressure Krul, who claims it at the second attempt.
25 min Newcastle are not without menace going forward, and have defended very well apart from that one moment that led to the goal. I suppose that's the problem, though: at this level, wee clubs are punished for their mistakes.
22 min Arsene Wenger is still losing The Battle of Busted Zip.
GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle (Walcott 20)
Thierry Henry should sue Theo Walcott for copyright, because this goal is straight from Henry's highlights reel. Walcott ran away from the Newcastle defence, who were far too high up the field, to meet a good pass from Podolski down the left. From there he was able to move infield, to the left edge of the six-yard box, before sidefooting calmly, almost arrogantly, past Krul into the far corner. The overall comparison between Walcott and Henry may border on sacrilege, but that run and finish were eerily Henry-like.
17 min "Newcastle should switch to some kind of 4-0-4-0-2 formation," says Alex Netherton. "This could be revolutionary, Rob. What do you make of it?" BAN BANTER.
16 min Simpson wins Newcastle's first corner, down the right. It's swung in and headed over by Ba, only six yards out. He was under a lot of pressure but having got there he should perhaps have scored. Before the corner was taken the camera cut to Arsene Wenger, who was wrestling fruitlessly with a busted zip on his padded jacket. It was funnier than I've just made it sound.
13 min "I'm amazed how Wenger's team selection has been dictated by an attempt to placate Theo Walcott," says Jon Major. " I can see some merit in playing him up front alongside someone like Giroud, but as a lone striker? Surely for this formation he's third choice for the role behind Giroud and Podolski. Possibly fourth if Gervinho is having one of those days when he remembers how his legs work."
11 min There has been some pretty football, mostly from Arsenal, but they haven't really got behind Newcastle as yet. Their defence should be well screened by Tiote and the highly promising Bigirimana.
10 min It's a different challenge for Walcott today. His two games up front before this came away from home, which in theory should be easier for him because there will be more space behind defences. So far he hasn't really got into the game.
8 min See 7 min.
7 min See 6 min.
6 min Nothing is happening.
4 min Cazorla finds space on the right of the box, near the byline, but his driven cross is too close to Krul.
3 min "I'm following tonight's MBM instead of reading the Cheryl Cole autobiography – you're welcome!" says Ryan Dunne. "Re: Pardew's comments. Everyone says that Fergie's 'mind games' schtick is overrated, but surely he is very adept at putting opposition managers in lose/lose situations? If an opposition manager ignores Fergie's wind-ups or tries to suck up to him (c.f. Hodgson at Liverpool) , they look cowardly (not least to their own team and fans?), whereas if they do respond the get cast as Keegan-esque nutters-cum-bottlers? Wenger's 'everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home' comment is the only time, in contrast, I can really recall an opposition manager getting a proper zinger in. Mourinho didn't even try!"
1 min Newcastle kick off from right to left, and Arsenal almost score after 49 seconds. When Tiote's shot is blocked, Wilshere leads a three-on-three break, eventually finding Oxlade-Chamberlain. He moves to the edge of the box and then drags a shot across goal and comfortably wide.
Also in north London tonight
it's Van Gerwen v Lewis! Hot darn that is going to be good.
In his pre-match interview, Alan Pardew declined to respond to Sir Alex Ferguson's comments. Pardew, you might say, has kept really quiet.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski; Walcott.
Subs: Mannone, Djourou, Coquelin, Rosicky, Ramsey, Gervinho, Giroud.
Wee Newcastle (4-2-3-1) Krul; Simpson, Perch, Coloccini, Santon; Bigirimana, Tiote; Cisse, Marveaux, Obertan; Ba.
Subs: Harper, Ferguson, Tavernier, Streete, Abeid, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi.
Hello. Arsenal v Wee Newcastle wouldn't be on anybody's list of great fixtures, but there have been some memorable moments since English football began in 1992: Dennis Bergkamp's did-he-mean-that-who-cares-just-look-at-it goal, Newcastle coming from 4-0 down, Thierry Henry's tantrum, Ray Parlour's hat-trick, David Ginola getting a red card for elbowing Lee Dixon in the coupon.
If it might be pushing it to expect something similar today, we should at least get goals plural. Newcastle are a hard side to fathom; they haven't won away from home all season, and have a million injuries, yet they almost won at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. Arsenal have recovered from their third crisis (sic) of the season, and the form of Thierry Walcott in particular has given them legitimate grounds of optimism that they will finish in the top four for the 17th consecutive season under Arsene Wenger. Before Wenger, Arsenal's longest run of consecutive top-four finishes was five, back in the 1930s.
Arsenal should win today, 3-1 perhaps, although they do like to throw in the occasional daft home defeat to confuse everyone. As ever in football/life, nobody knows anything.