Newcastle United

Premier League
March 23, 1996

Arsenal were by no means favourites when they headed into this Premier League clash against Newcastle in March 1996.

Kevin Keegan's side led the way at the top of the table with two games in hand ahead of their trip to Highbury, despite winning just one of their previous four fixtures.

The Tyneside outfit's title hopes were wavering despite a healthy advantage at the top and Arsenal only served to make matters worse with this victory in north London.

Arsenal themselves were pushing for a European place in Bruce Rioch's sole season in charge, a significant improvement from the 1994/95 campaign's disappointing mid-table finish.

This was a game that saw Arsenal start strongly and never look back. Rioch named an attacking line-up for the clash with Ian Wright, John Hartson and Dennis Bergkamp all starting against the Magpies.

Early pressure quickly told. Scott Marshall grabbed his only goal for the Club inside three minutes, before Wright doubled the hosts' advantage less than 15 minutes later.

The striker was forced off through injury just before the break but it mattered little as Arsenal saw out an impressive win over Keegan's side.

Marshall, pictured challenging Newcastle's Faustino Asprilla alongside David Platt, featured a handful of times over the campaign but struggled to win a regular place ahead of the likes of Martin Keown and Tony Adams.

For Arsenal it was another step towards Europe, for Newcastle another nail in the coffin.

The 12-point lead they held in early February had already been slashed and their fortunes would not improve. The classic 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield followed and Newcastle had blown their big opportunity to keep the pressure on Manchester United.

"I'd love it if we beat them," declared Keegan. They didn't. Sir Alex Ferguson's side held their nerve in the run-in to claim their third Premier League title, with Keegan left to ponder what might have been.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Linighan, Winterburn (Helder, 89), Marshall, Platt, Merson, Bergkamp, Wright (Parlour, 41), Hartson. Subs not used: Hillier.

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12 Mar 2012