Deja vu for Newcastle!
NEWCASTLE UNITED are still searching for their first win under Kevin Keegan after enduring a 3-0 defeat once again at the hands of Arsenal.
On a night of little cheer for the travelling Toon Army the Gunners went back to the top of the Premier League to leave Newcastle without a Premier League victory since December 17.
United boss Kevin Keegan made just one change to the team that lost 3-0 in the FA Cup on Saturday with David Rozehnal replacing Jose Enrique after the Spaniard picked up a knock at the Emirates a few days ago.
The reshuffle meant the Czech star played in the holding role in the centre of midfield while Charles NÃ¢ÂÂZogbia dropped to left-back.
Joey Barton was also back in the fold and started on the bench.
Watching United from the stands for the first time was new executive director Dennis Wise with the former Chelsea man flanked by player recruitment supremo Tony Jimenez and technical co-ordinator Jeff Vetere.
Newcastle started the match in solid fashion in North London with neither side able to create a real chance in the opening 15 minutes.
Newcastle almost fell behind mid-way through the first half when Emmanuel Adebayor tried to close down a loose ball in front of goal with Shay GivenÃ¢ÂÂs unorthodox backheel flashing past his own post.
The Togo star then latched on to a right wing cross from Mathieu Flamini with six minutes of the first half left but his powerful volley was hit high over the bar.
Two minutes later though the same combination opened United up as FlaminiÃ¢ÂÂs identical cross was pounced on by the African who made no mistake a the second time of asking to head home.
UnitedÃ¢ÂÂs best chance finally arrived a minute before the break when Duff released Milner but the YorkshiremanÃ¢ÂÂs shot was deflected clear for a corner which was wasted by Newcastle.
Arsenal were full value for their lead at the break but United were desperate to score the first goal of KKÃ¢ÂÂs third coming.
United applied some early pressure on the Gunners in the second period and looked much more of a threat to the home side.
And Keegan introduced Barton on 57 minutes with the Scouse midfield man appearing for the first time since the home clash with Derby County on December 23.
Unsurprisingly Barton was taunted by Arsenal fans as he replaced Rozehnal.
But Newcastle still maintained their bright start to the period and the only shot that troubled Given came from Flamini who drove when straight at him on 67 minutes after an Adebayor left flank cross.
With 18 minutes left though Flamini was on hand to add ArsenalÃ¢ÂÂs second when he received a pass from Fabregas before unleashing an unstoppable 30 yard shot into the top corner.
Newcastle responded when NÃ¢ÂÂZogbia laid it off to Duff but the IrishmanÃ¢ÂÂs long range effort flashed wide of the post.
But it was 3-0 when a long ball from Gael Clichy found Bendtner who rolled it to Fabregas before the Spanish ace rattled home to finish off United with 10 minutes left.
With three minutes left Smith won a free-kick on the edge of the dee and Nicky Butt came so close when he cracked the bar before Arsenal scrambled clear.
ARSENAL: Almunia, Diaby (Gilberto 76), Sagna, Fabregas, Senderos, Eduardo (Bendtner 72), Gallas, Hleb, Flamini, Clichy, Adebayor (Walcott 82)
Subs: Lehmann, Hoyte.
UNITED: Given, Carr, Rozehnal (Barton 57), Cacapa, Taylor, Milner (Ameobi 73), Butt, NÃ¢ÂÂZogbia, Duff, Smith, Owen.
Subs: Harper, Edgar, LuaLua.
Ref: Mike Riley