Premier League - Toon shock Arsenal
Sun, 07 Nov 15:29:00 2010
The goal came on the stroke of half-time as Fabianski made an ill-advised charge to reach a Joey Barton free-kick; big Carroll was there before him to head over the Polish shot-stopper's flapping hands and into the net.
Arsenal were hoping to go back up to second with a victory but looked lethargic and unimaginative throughout against a well-oiled Newcastle side who produced a very different but equally-impressive performance to the one that saw them crush Sunderland 5-1 last weekend.
To compound a miserable afternoon for Arsenal, Laurent Koscielny was given a straight red card in stoppage time for denying Nile Ranger a goalscoring opportunity.
Newcastle's half-time lead was real smash-and-grab stuff as Carroll's header was their only attempt on goal in the entire half.
However, they did a very impressive containment job on Arsenal, as the hosts struggled to find any sort of fluidity in their game.
The Gunners could only muster two significant moments in the opening 45 minutes. The first came in the 13th when Cesc Fabregas's 35-yard free-kick clipped the top of the wall and then looped onto the crossbar after the deflection deceived Tim Krul.
The Dutch keeper was zeroed in on 40 minutes though as he made a superb save to push away a Sami Nasri strike from the edge of the area that looked headed for the top corner.
The goal on the stroke of half-time rocked Arsenal and will again raise questions marks over the quality of their goalkeeping pool. Fabianski had been enjoying a good, error-free spell in the team but the spotlight will be back on him after this latest gaffe.
In truth though, he was far from alone in under-performing for the hosts. There was no significant shift in pattern in the second half although Theo Walcott nearly restored parity when he cannoned a shot off the underside of the bar in the 49th minute.
Arsenal brought on Andrei Arshavin and Robin van Persie to try and change things but with little effect.
Van Persie, making his first appearance since hurting his ankle in August, looked well off the pace and not yet ready for a starting berth.
Arsenal would finish the match with just two attempts on target, with Fabregas's tame header into the arms of Krul the only other effort after Nasri's first-half strike.
Indeed, Newcastle looked comfortable throughout the second half as Cheick Tiote and Joey Barton impressively bossed the midfield.
Carroll was also superb, both up front and while defending set-pieces, and he no doubt will have impressed the watching England coach Fabio Capello.
However, it was a miserable afternoon for the Gunners, summed up in stoppage time when Koscielny bundled down substitute Ranger to prevent him going clear on goal.
It was the Frenchman's second red card of the season and he now faces a long spell on the sidelines.
On the evidence of this performance though, that is the least of Arsene Wenger's problems.SeŠn Fay / Eurosport