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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 6, 2007

Allardyce breathes easier after draw with Gunners

Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce breathed a huge sigh of relief after seeing his side emerge from their slump to hold Premier League leaders Arsenal to a 1-1 draw.

The Magpies have now taken just two points from the last 18 they have contested, but it was the manner in which this one was acquired which gave the 50,305 fans inside St James' Park hope that a corner has been turned.

Asked how important the result was, Allardyce said: 'Big. The result is huge. I would have said at the start, if we got a draw it might have felt like a win.

'But I didn't think we got what we deserved. It's not often you can get Arsenal on the back foot for so long.

'It was us trying to go and get the win, and it was them hanging on for the draw and not us, so that's really encouraging.'

Emmanuel Adebayor had given the Gunners a fourth-minute lead with a superb volley, but where Newcastle had buckled in their previous two home games against Portsmouth and Liverpool, they summoned up a unity which had been missing previously to fight back.

Their reward came on the hour when defender Steven Taylor fired home the equaliser off the post, and his side looked the more likely victors as time ran down.

The Magpies were applauded off the pitch at the break and received a rapturous send-off on the final whistle with the bond between players and fans restored after a difficult few weeks on Tyneside.

Allardyce said: 'I love it, that's what I came for, Fifty-two thousand fans cheering is what you want to hear every week.

'But more importantly, it is what my players do for me. They do what they can for me which helps me and them with the fans, hopefully building a relationship over a period of time where we are all enjoying playing at St James'.

'We were doing that prior to those two defeats at home, so we have got to make sure it does not turn that way again by committing like we did.'

For opposite number Arsene Wenger, it was another blow struck by an old foe, and he likened the Magpies' committed approach to the one adopted so often in the past against his team by Allardyce's Bolton.

He said: 'It was exactly the same type of organisation and the same type of play, very direct, very committed and in a 4-3-3.

'You could feel before the game there was a crisis. I anticipated a different game because you could see that no matter if there were differences within the club, it looked like they had made a real union to win this game and fight.

'I must say on their side, everyone was on board because everyone in their team did fight like mad for 90 minutes.

'They made a fight of it and that's why they got a point from it.'

The draw sent Wenger's men four points clear at the top of the table as they prepare for Sunday's trip to Middlesbrough, where injured trio Cesc Fabregas, Alexander Hleb and Mathieu Flamini are once again likely to miss out.