Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal, 2011. Fulham 2-3 Newcastle, 2003. These are some of the greatest comebacks in not only Newcastle’s history but also the Premier League’s and last weekend, Newcastle vs Everton produced another exquisite game to add to this illustrious list.
Newcastle stormed back from two goals down at half-time to beat Everton in a captivating match, leaving Toffees boss Marco Silva angry Ayoze Perez’s winner was not disallowed for offside.
Perez capped a stellar performance by whipping the ball past Jordan Pickford in the 84th minute after the Everton defence failed to react to Isaac Hayden’s lofted pass back into the box.
Perez had levelled three minutes earlier when Pickford spilled Miguel Almiron’s stinging drive into his path, while he also set up Rondon’s fine volley to get the hosts back into the game.
Until then, Rafael Benitez’s side had felt aggrieved at Mason’s decision not to send Pickford off for a foul on Rondon, with the England goalkeeper saving Matt Ritchie’s poor subsequent penalty.
Moments after that save, Richarlison tapped in his side’s second after Martin Dubravka parried Andres Gomes’ low cross straight to the Everton winger.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin got the opener on 18 minutes with a fine glancing header from Lucas Digne’s superb cross.
But the Toffees faded badly in the face of Newcastle’s second-half onslaught and are now only three points in front of Benitez’s side, with Silva admitting his side “have to look at ourselves”.
While unlucky and understandably frustrated to be 2-0 down at the interval, Newcastle were sloppy in the first half, not least when Ritchie stuttered in his run-up and hit a tame penalty down the middle that Pickford saved with his legs.
Benitez replaced captain Jamaal Lascelles, who had a knee injury, with Paul Dummett at half-time and later changed the shape of his side – moving Dummett to left back and pushing Ritchie up from there to right midfield, which allowed Newcastle to be more direct against a shaky Everton defence.
That defensive frailty was exposed on 65 minutes when Hayden played a hopeful pass up to Perez, who had only Rondon in support against four Everton defenders.
But Perez won the header back to Rondon, spun and received the return pass before deftly chipping to the Venezuela striker to volley beyond Pickford from 12 yards.
“The first goal was a great goal – I was joking that if Lionel Messi had done what Ayo did and Alan Shearer finished like Rondon, everybody would have been talking for a month about that,” said Benitez.
Dummett looped a header over when Rondon was better placed behind him but Newcastle kept coming and drew level on 81 minutes as Almiron struck from 30 yards and Perez slotted in the rebound after Pickford failed to push it wide.
Frustration had given way to fervent urgency and Everton wilted, their defence caught static as Rondon brought down Hayden’s lofted pass and Perez stabbed in the winner.
A day to savour for the Magpies and a day to remember for football itself.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suffered his first Premier League defeat since being appointed Manchester United’s interim manager as Arsenal leapfrogged their opponents to move into the top four.
Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka beat David de Gea with a swerving shot from outside the penalty area, which the United keeper was expected to stop.
Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno produced two crucial saves to keep out Lukaku, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the hosts’ lead from the penalty spot after Fred’s foul on Alexandre Lacazette.
The Gunners have won seven out of 10 top-flight games in 2019 and are one point behind north London rivals Tottenham, who sit third in the table, with eight games remaining.
United, who started the weekend in fourth, drop to fifth in the race for a Champions League spot next season.
“Tottenham Hotspur, we’re coming for you” chants filled Emirates Stadium at the final whistle as Arsenal fans celebrated a crucial win.
Last weekend, Aubameyang left Wembley dejected after his last-minute penalty was saved by Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris to deny Arsenal victory in the North London derby.
Against United, he stepped forward and beat De Gea from the spot to seal a first victory over the Red Devils in five league and cup meetings.
It was awarded after Fred’s forearm nudged into Lacazette, sending the French forward tumbling inside the box.
Lacazette inspired one of Arsenal’s finest days under Unai Emery’s command.
The Gunners were sharp, lively and industrious as they made amends after United eliminated them from the FA Cup six weeks ago.
Emery named six players who started Thursday’s Europa League defeat by Rennes in his starting line-up, but there was little sign of fatigue as the hosts came flying out of traps.
Arsenal have now played all their Champions League chasing rivals and in my opinion, a place in Europe’s most prestigious competition next season is very much in their own hands.
United have got used to winning under Solskjaer and it will be interesting to see how they respond to a first domestic setback under the Norwegian.
After their incredible midweek exploits against Paris St-Germain, they started slowly – although Lukaku will wonder how he did not put United ahead from their first serious attack.
The visitors paid the price when they conceded their earliest league goal under Solskjaer and, despite creating chances, were not clinical enough in the final third.
Paul Pogba was disappointing on his return to the side but he was by no means the only United player who failed to reach recent heights.
This was only United’s second defeat in 18 league and cup games under Solskjaer.
A place in the top four remains in their sight, although they will need an immediate reaction when they return to league action after this month’s international break.
Two late goals in five minutes earned Southampton an incredible victory against Tottenham, whose top-four hopes took a nosedive.
James Ward-Prowse earned the win with a sensational free-kick from 25 yards to keep the Saints two points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.
The midfielder’s strike came after calamitous defending allowed Southampton to draw level via Yan Valery, who pounced on Danny Rose’s mistake.
Victory seemed unlikely after a first half dominated by Spurs who took the lead when Harry Kane scored his 200th career goal.
But the amazing turnaround earned Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team a second consecutive home win – the first time Southampton have achieved that since December 2016.
Pochettino was cast as a bystander as he returned to his former employers and watched his team unravel from the stands.
That was in contrast to the first period when the visitors hit the woodwork twice before Kane’s opener, after Maya Yoshida fired against his own post and Christian Eriksen clipped the bar with a free-kick.
Dele Alli, who returned to the side after a seven-week injury absence, was a constant threat and set up Kane’s 24th goal of the season.
Part of the turnaround was because of Southampton’s extra impetus, provided by the excellent Sims, making his first appearance of the season after being on loan at Reading, and Shane Long, who also came on at the break but was taken off injured.
But Rose’s decision to let the ball through his legs close to goal handed the hosts a welcome boost.
And they never looked back as Stuart Armstrong strode forward in search of a winner only to be tripped by Kyle Walker-Peters, who was perhaps fortunate to only receive a yellow card.
That looked like a let-off, but with Ward-Prowse deadly from 25 yards out, he still made Spurs pay.
Considering Spurs still have to face the top two, Manchester City and Liverpool, achieving top four this season is starting to look like it might be a challenge for the Lilywhites, who only a few weeks ago were in contention for the title.
By Dan Silver