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Vermaelen's twist is cruel on United.

Byline: Mark Douglas Mark William Douglas (b. 20 October, 1968 in Nelson, New Zealand) is an international cricketer. He played six one-day internationals and no Tests for New Zealand. He also played for Nelson in the Hawke Cup.  

IF Newcastle United are to fulfil their ambition of playing in Europe again, they must first rediscover the lost art of playing outside NE1.

Away games have rarely been enjoyable experiences since the turn of the year and here again, they departed the capital on the back of a gut-wrenching defeat.

And even though they emerged with far greater credit than on their last trip to North London North London is a part of London, England which has several possible definitions. River & geography
The part of London north of the River Thames (illustrated).
, this lacerating loss to a last-minute Thomas Vermaelen tap-in was a much more bitter pill to swallow for Alan Pardew's men.

Dogged, determined and obdurate to the point of obsession, Newcastle thought they had notched only their fourth point of 2012 - only to be undone at the death on one of the few times Arsenal managed to grab a yard on their back four.

Their frustration was only deepened by the graceless way Robin van Persie - so brilliant with the ball at his feet - celebrated the win in front of his compatriot com·pa·tri·ot  
1. A person from one's own country.

2. A colleague.

[French compatriote, from Late Latin compatri
 Tim Krul.

The pair had to be separated at the end of a game in which tensions were never far from the surface.

Good luck to Bert van Marwijk Lambertus ("Bert") van Marwijk (born 19 May, 1952 in Deventer, Overijssel) is a former football (soccer) player from the Netherlands, and nowadays a coach. He is the father-in-law of Bayern Munich midfielder Mark van Bommel.  smoothing over relations between those two in time for Euro 2012.

Not that Newcastle fans will care as they tend to the open wounds of such a numbing defeat this morning.

Given the heroics of the previous 90 minutes, it was an especially cruel way for United's young goalkeeper to end on the losing side. Time and again he pulled off brilliant stops to deny van Persie, who was at the forefront of seemingly endless red raids on black and white territory.

He deserved more than to be beaten with virtually the last kick of the game, United for once having failed to clear their lines to allow Vermaelen to steal in.

We have grown used to Krul performing such feats but now he has managed it in London and in front of the TV cameras, the rest of the country's card has been marked. Thank goodness the ink is dry on that new long-term contract.

At least there were positives to be dredged from the depths of despair.

United were out-played but the return of resolve, resilience and robust defending is to be applauded even if it did not bring its reward.

Hatem Ben Arfa's terrific goal and allround performance was another plus, even if the mercurial mercurial /mer·cu·ri·al/ (mer-kur´e-il)
1. pertaining to mercury.

2. a preparation containing mercury.

 France schemer faded out of the game as the evening wore on.

There should certainly be less of a hangover than after the Tottenham game, when United's surrender was absolute.

Here they survived the van Persie strike that cancelled out their lead within seconds and conspired to frustrate a team on a roll both at home and abroad.

Ultimately, though, they will have to improve away from home to hang onto sixth place.

The last time United were in North London a disastrous evening ended with Pardew chiding himself for being too adventurous in his team selection.

But whatever residual reservations lingered after their nightmare on White Hart Lane
For the railway station of the same name, see White Hart Lane railway station.

White Hart Lane is the home of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. It is situated in Tottenham, North London.
, he could ill afford to ignore the brio of Ben Arfa after his superlative show against Sunderland.

There was a concession to caution by dropping Papiss Demba Cisse but Newcastle, with their mercurial midfielder in one of those moods, looked bright and bold in those early stages - despite the pressing threat of Walcott and the irrepressible van Persie.

Few teams grab an equal share of possession at the Emirates but as an intriguing first half wore on, Newcastle began to grow in authority and confidence.

By then the two sides had swapped exquisite strikes within 60 seconds of each other.

United's first was a sublime Ben Arfa effort, the France schemer cutting inside to sweep a majestic low drive past Wojciech Szczesny at his near post.

Advantage United - or so it seemed. In reality, within seconds they were back to square one for failing to mount a convincing enough defence to the genius of van Persie.

Indeed the Newcastle following were still on their feet acclaiming Ben Arfa's brilliance when Arsenal posted their brilliantly succinct response.

Walcott put Davide Santon San´ton

n. 1. A Turkish saint; a kind of dervish, regarded by the people as a saint: also, a hermit.
 on the back foot with his rapier pace but it was the savvy of van Persie that conjured the leveller lev·el·ler  
Variant of leveler.

Noun 1. leveller - a radical who advocates the abolition of social distinctions

radical - a person who has radical ideas or opinions

He had Mike Williamson to beat when the England winger found him with a cross hit with pace and top spin.

The Holland striker controlled expertly, swivelled past the dazzled Newcastle defender and then planted a precise shot past Tim Krul.

It was gut-wrenching but even the most ardent Toon Army foot soldier had to admire the brutal elegance of his footwork. We awaited the visiting onslaught but United were resolute and obdurate after some dangerous Gunners raids. Who else but van Persie went close a few minutes after his goal, flashing a shot just over Krul's goal before he stung the palms of his compatriot with a dipping freekick.

United needed to be meaner than they had been at Tottenham and to the frustration of the home supporters, they began to slowly squeeze the life out of the contest.

Krul spent a couple of seconds dawdling over a goal kick in a move that enraged van Persie but it was a sign that Newcastle's generosity at Spurs was a one time only deal.

The goalkeeper was utterly undeterred by the Emirates cat calls every time he took a dead ball and here was proof that United have steel to match their style. For so long it seemed as if he would have the final say as Arsenal grew frustrated as the second half wore on.

When substitute Gervinho conspired to screw wide from five yards, the Gunners best chances seemed to have passed.

But Vermaelen struck at the death to deny Newcastle the point that their heart and resolve might have warranted.

PREMIER LEAGUE PW D L F APts Man Utd....................... 28 21 4 3 68 27 67 Man City ...................... 28 21 3 4 69 20 66 Tottenham ................... 28 16 5 7 52 34 53 Arsenal........................28 16 4 8 57 39 52 Chelsea ....................... 28 14 7 7 48 32 49 Newcastle .................. 28 12 8 8 40 41 44 Liverpool ..................... 27 10 9 8 30 26 39 Sunderland................ 28 10 7 11 36 31 37 Everton........................27 10 7 10 28 28 37 Fulham ........................ 28 9 9 10 37 37 36 Swansea...................... 28 9 9 10 31 34 36 Norwich.......................28 9 9 10 39 45 36 Stoke ........................... 28 10 6 12 27 39 36 West Brom .................. 28 10 5 13 34 37 35 Aston Villa ................... 28 7 12 9 31 35 33 Blackburn ................... 28 6 7 15 40 60 25 Bolton..........................28 7 2 19 31 57 23 QPR QPR Queens Park Rangers (football club)
QPR Quarterly Progress Report
QPR Quadrature Partial Response
QPR Quarterly Performance Review
QPR Question, Persuade, Refer (suicide prevention program) 
 ............................. 28 5 7 16 29 48 22 Wolverhampton...........28 5 7 16 30 58 22 Wigan Wigan (wĭg`ən), city (1991 pop. 88,725) and metropolitan district, N England, located in the Manchester metropolitan area on the Douglas River.  .......................... 28 4 9 15 24 53 21


ROSICKY VS TIOTE One of the game's key battles played out in midfield. Left, Demba Ba controls the ball last night UNITED'S UNLUCKY POSTCODE postcode

a system of letters and numbers used to aid the sorting of mail

Noun 1. postcode - a code of letters and digits added to a postal address to aid in the sorting of mail
postal code, ZIP code, ZIP
 Clockwise from left - Robin Van Persie, Mike Williamson and Tim Krul tangle; Davide Santon gets in Theo Walcott's face; and both sets of players have words with Dutchmen van Persie and Krul involved again
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2012
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