Andy Carroll made headlines for the right reasons as his goal gave Newcastle a shock 1-0 win over title-chasing Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.
The England Under-21 striker, tipped to feature in the senior squad for the friendly with France later this month, had started the day on the front pages following allegations about his private life. However, in front of watching England boss Fabio Capello, the Newcastle number nine headed in what proved to be the winner at the end of the first half.
Although Arsenal twice hit the woodwork through Cesc Fabregas' deflected free-kick and Theo Walcott, the Gunners were well below par and their miserable afternoon was compounded by the dismissal of centre-back Laurent Koscielny in stoppage time for a professional foul.
Newcastle had been thumped 4-0 by Arsenal in the Carling Cup clash at St James Park a fortnight ago, but went into this game buoyed by their thrashing of local rivals Sunderland.
Arsenal - looking to keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea - almost took the lead on 11 minutes when Fabregas' deflected 22-yard free-kick crashed against the crossbar after ricocheting off the wall.
The Emirates Stadium almost erupted when Samir Nasri's drive appeared to be heading for the top corner - only for Toon goalkeeper Tim Krul to pull-off a fine one-handed save.
However, Newcastle took a shock lead on the stroke of half-time when a deep free-kick into the Arsenal box from Joey Barton was met by Carroll, who got there ahead of Lukasz Fabianski to nod the visitors in front.
At the start of the second half, Arsenal hit the woodwork again when Walcott darted into the right side of the area from Jack Wilshere's pass and lashed in an angled drive, which crashed against the underside of the bar with Krul beaten.
Arsenal continued to press, with Alex Song cutting the ball back across the six-yard box, but Marouane Chamakh was unable to connect.
As full-time approached, the Gunners threw long balls forwards, but Newcastle were not to be denied a shock victory as the hosts finished with 10 men after centre-half Koscielny was shown a straight red card for hauling down substitute Nile Ranger.
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