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  • May 15, 2021

Exclusive: Ten years on from incredible Magpies comeback at St James’ Park, which made Premier League history and featured stunning Cheick Tiote goal

 Exclusive: Ten years on from incredible Magpies comeback at St James’ Park, which made Premier League history and featured stunning Cheick Tiote goal


Newcastle will meet Arsenal at St James’ Park this weekend and it’s ten years since THAT game.

A lot has changed with the two clubs over the last decade, but the Premier League clash on February 5, 2011 is one that will live long in the memory.

Cheick Tiote scored one of the most memorable goals in Premier League history

AFP

Cheick Tiote scored one of the most memorable goals in Premier League history

The Magpies remain the only team in Premier League history to have ever come back from 4-0 down to get a result – sealing a 4-4 draw.

The atmosphere at St James’ Park was electric and sadly there will be no fans to cheer either side on for Sunday’s game on Tyneside.

Things started badly for Alan Pardew’s side as Theo Walcott struck inside the first minute after Andrey Arshavin sent him through.

Two minutes later, Johan Djourou headed in an Arshavin free-kick to double their advantage before Newcastle had even got going.

Abu Diaby’s sending off changed the game early in the second half

Getty

Abu Diaby’s sending off changed the game early in the second half

Robin Van Persie added his first in the 10th minute when he guided his shot past Steven Harper.

The striker then ghosted between Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini to make it 4-0 just 26 minutes into the match.

“They were unbelievable,” Barton told the Newcastle Chronicle. “We were slightly off it but they were also very, very good and they just exploited it ruthlessly. 

“They were exceptional and you could see why they were challenging for the title. They scored relatively early and went into overdrive and I remember thinking ‘Can we keep the score down?’”

Things started to change for Newcastle after the break, though.

Centre-back Djourou limped off after 48 minutes while Abou Diaby was sent off for putting his hand on Joey Barton’s neck and pushing him to the floor.

Newcastle were brilliant in the second half in what was one of the best Premier League games ever

Getty

Newcastle were brilliant in the second half in what was one of the best Premier League games ever

Barton added: “It’s the Abou Diaby sending off that just switches the momentum. They’d gone from purring, playing Rolls Royce football and pass, pass, pass to all of a sudden it being ‘Oh no, we’ve got ten men’ and the momentum in the stadium just shifted.

“We never thought we’d get back to 4-4 but you could just feel the energy and the momentum. We got a goal back and I’m telling you, if that game goes on for five minutes more we’d have won that match because they were gone.

“Emotionally, they were gone.”

The home side reduced the deficit when Laurent Koscielny brought down Leon Best in the box and Barton converted the penalty.

Best made it 4-2 and gave Newcastle hope when he shot beyond Wojciech Szczesny.

A second penalty from Barton, after another Koscielny foul, made the comeback even closer with seven minutes of the match to play.

Then Cheick Tiote scored that goal to make it 4-4 and send the Newcastle fans, those who did not leave at half-time, wild.

Alan Pardew and everyone else at St James’ Park couldn’t believe what they had seen

Getty Images – Getty

Alan Pardew and everyone else at St James’ Park couldn’t believe what they had seen

Tiote wrote his name in Newcastle’s history – his strike was shortlisted for the club’s Goal of the Decade – as he thumped an absolutely stunning volley from outside the box into the bottom corner after Arsenal failed to clear a free-kick.

No team before, or since, has overturned a four goal deficit to get a point from a match.

“I just remember sitting in the dressing room afterwards, completely emotionally shot,” goalkeeper Harper said. 

“I’ve always said that Newcastle is an emotional rollercoaster and that was the rollercoaster of being a professional footballer in 90 minutes: to thinking ‘This could be ten’ to nearly winning the game in an hour and a half.”

The late Tiote, who sadly died of cardiac arrest in June 2017 during a training session for Chinese club Beijing Enterprises, will surely be in the thoughts of Magpies fans on Sunday.

And they’ll be hoping the current Toon stars can produce more moments of magic and another memorable result against the Gunners.





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