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                                                    Arsenal
                                                    Theo Walcott (20 mins)
                                                    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (50 mins)
                                                    Lukas Podolski (64 mins)
                                                    Theo Walcott (73 mins)
                                                    Olivier Giroud (85 mins)
                                                    Olivier Giroud (87 mins)
                                                    Theo Walcott ((90 + 2 mins) mins)
                                                    7-3
                                                    Newcastle
                                                    Demba Ba (43 mins)
                                                    Sylvain Marveaux (59 mins)
                                                    Demba Ba (69 mins)

                                                    Barclays Premier League , Dec 29, 2012
                                                    Ground: Emirates Stadium , Kickoff: 17:30 , Att 60,087

                                                    Team news

                                                    Gunners pair back in action Striker Olivier Giroud and midfielder Tomas Rosicky have both recovered from illness and are available for Arsenal's home game against Newcastle.

                                                    Defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) and midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) are expected to return to training next week.

                                                    Back-up goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is out with a foot injury.

                                                    Despite a recent improvement, boss Arsene Wenger acknowledged his team have not been up to scratch and has promised an improvement for the remainder of the season.

                                                    "We will (do better in the second half of the season)," Wenger said.

                                                    "We are behind our schedule and we have to make up the points we miss at the moment.

                                                    "We rebuilt the team at the start of the season. Overall what is important for us is to improve the quality of our displays and focus just on that. Points will come." Wenger has the rare luxury of an almost fully-fit squad to choose from.

                                                    "This is the first time since I've been here that we go into New Year's Day without any injuries," he said.

                                                    "Santos and Diaby are coming back into the group on Monday so apart from Lukasz Fabianski, nobody is injured." Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will head into the new year ruing the month which spoiled 2012 for him.

                                                    Much of the last 12 months has proved a thrilling adventure for the 51-year-old, who guided the club to a top-five Barclays Premier League finish at the end of last season and back into European football for the first time in five years.

                                                    Despite the frustrations of a difficult summer transfer window and an indifferent start to the new campaign, Pardew was relatively happy with his lot until November came around.

                                                    In the space of 17 days, the Magpies lost to West Ham and Swansea at home and Southampton and Stoke on the road, and they reached the season's halfway point on Boxing Day with an agonising 4-3 Boxing Day defeat at Manchester United, meaning they have lost seven of their last nine league games.

                                                    Asked if he would be glad to see the back of the first half of the season, Pardew, who today found himself the target of an astonishing rant from United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson, said: "Yes, I will be.

                                                    "You take November out of the calendar year and you have to say what a bloody great year we had.

                                                    "But unfortunately November soured it and it's put us in a tricky position for this first half of the season.

                                                    "If we had picked up six points and been sitting on 26 with fourth place at 33, we would have been all right.

                                                    "We are really six points short of actually doing very well with the squad we have had.

                                                    "But we mustn't take our eye off it and think it's been okay or it's acceptable. It isn't and we have got to do better." Pardew faces a fresh selection headache.

                                                    Midfielder Cheick Tiote returns from a one-match ban, but counterpart Vurnon Anita is out with an ankle injury sustained in the 4-3 defeat at Manchester United, while central defender Mike Williamson is suspended after collecting his fifth booking of the season at Old Trafford.

                                                    Jonas Gutierrez (knee) has joined fellow midfielders Yohan Cabaye (groin) and Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) as well as central defender Steven Taylor (also hamstring) on the sidelines, while full-back Ryan Taylor and midfielders Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic (all knee) are still missing.

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                                                    Arsenal vs Newcastle

                                                    Last modified 20:15 29/12/12

                                                    Walcott the star in thriller Theo Walcott gave Arsene Wenger yet another reminder of his goal-scoring talents as he bagged a stunning hat-trick to sink Newcastle in a 10-goal thriller at the Emirates Stadium.

                                                    Wenger had talked up Walcott as the next Thierry Henry yesterday, and the England forward - still to pen a new deal with the club - did little to disprove that idea, scoring three excellent goals and setting up two more to give Arsenal the win that ensures they will end 2012 in fifth place, two points behind Chelsea and three adrift of Tottenham with a match in hand.

                                                    Arsenal's record scorer Henry was in the stands watching his beloved former club and he was on his feet after 20 minutes thanks to Walcott's opener - a fine curled finish following an Henry-esque break from the halfway line.

                                                    Newcastle pulled level through Demba Ba, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored, only for Ba to grab his second to make it 2-2.

                                                    Arsenal looked set for a disappointing draw after Sylvain Marveaux equalised Lukasz Podolski's header, but Walcott turned on the class to put the Gunners 4-3 up.

                                                    The former Southampton man set up Olivier Giroud twice and added his much-deserved third strike in injury time with a deft chip over Tim Krul.

                                                    Walcott has scored four goals and won one decisive penalty in the three games he has started up front and he now has 14 for the season.

                                                    There were no early indications that this would turn out to be a thriller in the opening quarter as both teams started sluggishly.

                                                    Other than a couple of bits of skill from Santi Cazorla, Arsenal started poorly.

                                                    Walcott, eager to show he can cut it as a striker, used his pace to break behind the Newcastle defence, but Krul rushed off his line to clear.

                                                    Newcastle, branded a "wee club in the north-east" by Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday, had the best chance of the opening quarter of an hour through Ba who somehow headed over Marveaux's corner from eight yards.

                                                    The quiet atmosphere inside the Emirates Stadium lifted after 19 minutes when Podolski slotted Walcott in behind the Magpies defence and the England man raced through before caressing the ball past Krul in to the far corner.

                                                    The goal was reminiscent of many strikes from Henry and thus brought the Frenchman to his feet in the stands.

                                                    Walcott was in the thick of the action again just before half-time, wriggling free from his marker, but Krul came off his line to stop the 23-year-old's shot.

                                                    Cheick Tiote, who scored the equaliser in February's 4-4 thriller, almost brought the visitors level six minutes before the break with a swirling 25-yard drive that Wojciech Szczesny awkwardly punched away.

                                                    Walcott immediately flew up the other end, but he laid a square pass behind the un-marked Cazorla, rather than in front of him and Gael Bigirimana cut the danger out.

                                                    Arsenal were made to pay for the error just over two minutes from the break.

                                                    Bacary Sagna fouled Gabriel Obertan 25 yards out and Ba's resulting set-piece flew off Jack Wilshere's head in to the Arsenal goal past the stranded Szczesny.

                                                    Arsenal came out much stronger after the break. Kieran Gibbs drew a save from Krul at his near post shortly before Oxlade-Chamberlain beat the Dutchman to make it 2-1.

                                                    Podolski intercepted a weak throw-in, heading the ball to Cazorla, who found Oxlade-Chamberlain and he made no mistake with a fine low drive from 20 yards.

                                                    Walcott somehow muscled Tiote off the ball and charged at goal, but he dragged his shot horribly wide.

                                                    Once again Arsenal were made to pay as Newcastle equalised. Obertan turned Sagna inside out before his cross was deflected off Koscielny and in to the path of the un-marked Marveaux who tapped in to an empty net from barely two yards.

                                                    Arsenal were back ahead within five minutes, however. Wilshere charged at the Newcastle defence and chipped a wonderful ball to the back post. Coloccini could only head his clearance against the bar and the ball fell to Podolski who nodded home the easiest finish of his career to make it 3-2.

                                                    The 60,000 fans inside the Emirates Stadium barely had time to draw breath before Newcastle equalised again.

                                                    Marveaux bought time with his trickery before swinging a ball to the back post where Ba bustled Gibbs out of the way to turn the ball past Szczesny.

                                                    The home crowd blasted their team's sloppy defending, but Walcott dug them out of trouble five minutes later with Arsenal's fourth.

                                                    Gibbs slotted the ball across the box for Podolski, he missed ball, but Walcott was stood just behind him and he fired in to the roof of Krul's goal.

                                                    Giroud then killed off the game with five minutes left, latching on to Walcott's cross to head between Krul's legs.

                                                    The Frenchman then rubbed salt in to Newcastle's wounds by slotting past Krul to make it 6-3 after Walcott charged at the Toon defence.

                                                    Walcott then got the hat-trick he deserved in injury time, picking himself off the turf after being flattened by Tiote before chipping the ball over Krul with a brilliant finish.

                                                    Arsenal could have had an eighth in injury time, but Giroud's header hit the bar.

                                                    Team Line-ups

                                                    ArsenalRating
                                                    Player rating out of ten Player name Substitution Did they score? Player's disciplinary record Rating
                                                    1 Wojciech Szczesny
                                                    3 Bacary Sagna
                                                    6 Laurent Koscielny
                                                    5 Thomas Vermaelen
                                                    28 Kieran Gibbs
                                                    8 Mikel Arteta
                                                    10 Jack Wilshere
                                                    19 Santi Cazorla(sub 85)
                                                    15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain(sub 73) Goal
                                                    9 Lukas Podolski(sub 81) Goal
                                                    14 Theo Walcott Goal
                                                    Substitutes
                                                    24 Vito Mannone
                                                    7 Tomas Rosicky
                                                    12 Olivier Giroud(sub 73) Goal
                                                    16 Aaron Ramsey(sub 81)
                                                    20 Johan Djourou
                                                    22 Francis Coquelin(sub 85)
                                                    27 Yao Gervinho
                                                    NewcastleRating
                                                    Player rating out of ten Player name Did they score? Player's disciplinary record Substitution Rating
                                                    1 Tim Krul
                                                    5 Danny Simpson(sub 81)
                                                    2 Fabricio Coloccini
                                                    14 James Perch
                                                    3 Davide Santon
                                                    25 Gabriel Obertan
                                                    20 Gael Bigirimana(sub 81)
                                                    24 Cheick Tiote
                                                    22 Sylvain Marveaux(sub 87) Goal
                                                    19 Demba Ba Goal
                                                    9 Papiss Cisse
                                                    Substitutes
                                                    37 Steve Harper
                                                    23 Shola Ameobi(sub 81)
                                                    28 Sammy Ameobi
                                                    31 Shane Ferguson(sub 81)
                                                    34 James Tavernier(sub 87)
                                                    39 Mehdi Abeid
                                                    44 Remie Streete

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