By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes that a second-half sending off was one of the turning points in last season’s dramatic 4-4 draw at Newcastle.

In arguably the most eye-catching game of the Premier League campaign, Arsenal raced into a 4-0 half-time lead before Johan Djourou limped off and Abou Diaby saw red for reacting to a challenge from Joey Barton.

In a frantic finale Newcastle hit back to earn a point with Barton scoring twice from the spot. Wenger has plenty of regrets from that February afternoon but he believes Diaby’s dismissal was the key.

“We had an exceptional first half in that game and we were only caught back when we played with ten men,” he said ahead of Saturday’s trip to Tyneside. 

“We conceded two penalties under very special circumstances on the day and were a bit unlucky. 

“Because we got caught back we didn’t get any credit for the good first-half performance, but I can understand that.”

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12 Aug 2011