Arsenal beat Newcastle 7-3 with Theo Walcott scoring a hat-trick in thriller
Arsenal had to take the lead four times to beat Newcastle 7-3 in a thrilling clash at the Emirates Stadium.
Last Updated: 29/12/12 11:58pm
Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick - including the opener, the winner and the final goal of the game to claim the points for the Gunners but there was plenty of drama in between in an astonishing match.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski also put Arsenal ahead but the Magpies found three equalisers through Sylvain Marveaux and Demba Ba twice to make for a cracking contest.
Substitute Olivier Giroud then added gloss to the display with a late brace before Walcott capped an impressive display to lift Arsene Wenger's side to fifth in the Premier League table.
Despite conceding seven, Newcastle kept their defensive shape well in the early stages and even had the first chance of the game when Ba headed Marveaux's corner over the crossbar.
But the good work was undone when Davide Santon dropped too deep, allowing Walcott to latch onto Podolski's threaded pass and finish neatly past Tim Krul.
Walcott, playing in his favoured striker role, had opportunities to add to the lead on the break but squandered them and it proved costly as Newcastle found a first-half equaliser.
With the visitors continuing to dominate possession, Magpies winger Gabriel Obertan was fouled by Bacary Sagna and Ba saw his free-kick deflect off Jack Wilshere and past Wojciech Szczesny.
It was no more than Newcastle deserved at the break and when Marveaux and Ba had further chances just before the interval it could have been better for Alan Pardew's men.
Instead they were behind early in the second half as Oxlade-Chamberlain was given too much space by Santon and Krul could not keep his low effort from distance out despite getting a touch to the ball.
If that was supposed to kill off the visitors, they had other ideas. Obertan waltzed past Sagna and found Marveaux at the far post via a deflection off Laurent Koscielny to stun the home crowd.
Podolski then headed in after a fine run from Wilshere but even better work by Marveaux gave Ba the chance to make it three goals apiece with a sidefooted volley at the far post.
But Walcott took advantage of indecision in the Newcastle area to make it 4-3 and then turned provider to set up Giroud twice before jinking in from the left and lifting the ball over Krul to cap a remarkable match.