WHAT A way to do it. Newcastle United ended their London jinx on Tuesday night at the 30th time of asking, and in doing so took over at the top of the Premiership table.

Referee Graham Poll controversially sent off two players and gave an even stranger penalty, as two goals in the last six minutes from the Magpies secured victory.

Arsenal's Ray Parlour was first to go in the opening half and then Craig Bellamy, who missed Saturday's win over Blackburn through suspension, followed after the interval.

Sandwiched in between was an equaliser from Newcastle's Andy O'Brien, cancelling out Robert Pires' first.

But, by far and away the biggest decision of the night was a penalty on 85 minutes.

Substitute Laurent Robert was adjudged to have been brought down by Sol Campbell, despite touching the ball, and Alan Shearer capped his 150th Premiership appearance for the club with a successful spot-kick. And then Robert finished things off in injury-time as Lomana Lua Lua put him clear.

The match, dubbed the clash between the two most in-form sides, did not disappoint and there were more twists and turns than a rollercoaster ride.

Kieron Dyer started his first start since February after coming on as a substitute in each of Newcastle's last three games.

Olivier Bernard kept his place ahead of Laurent Robert following the youngster's goal against Blackburn.

Bernard's fellow country man, Sylvain Distin, found himself on the bench though despite an impressive showing on Saturday - Nikos Dabizas was recalled to the heart of the Magpies defence after being rested.

Newcastle went to London in the knowledge that a two-goal victory would take them to the top of the Premiership for the first time since September 6 last season, but not even they surely expected to succeed in overtaking Liverpool.

The St. James' Park outfit knew only too well that it was not going to be an easy task - regardless of the London hoodoo.

Arsene Wenger's men romped to a 5-0 win in North London during the last campaign and significantly the chief instigator of that defeat, hat-trick man Parlour, was recalled to the starting line-up. Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu and Pires were also back for the Gunners.

And, as expected, the hosts showed their intentions early, particularly through their French connection.

Leading scorer Thierry Henry, Pires, Patrick Vieira and Sylvain Wiltord were all quickly involved and posed a massive threat.

Predictably, the opening goal was not too far away and it stemmed from a moment of brilliance from Henry.

Seemingly in an position of nowhere to run, the former Juventus man volleyed a cross over his head and the ball fell to Ashley Cole unmarked at the back post. The England full-back crossed to Pires, who tapped in the first on 20 minutes.

It was clear it was going to be a busy night for Irish keeper Shay Given, who was making his 100th appearance in a Newcastle shirt along with Nolberto Solano.

Newcastle were failing miserably to halt the incessant pressure homing in on Given's goal, but Arsenal's failure to convert their superior possession into goals always gave the visitors a chance.

And referee Graham Poll handed Robson's side a lifeline two minutes before the half-time whistle when the Tring official dished out the red card to in-form Parlour.

The midfielder, who was initially booked for a foul on Dabizas, was shown his second yellow for a trip from behind on Alan Shearer as the former England skipper skipped past him.

Within three minutes of Robert's and Lua Lua's introduction the latter's corner was met by the head of O'Brien on the hour to level matters.

But then 12 minutes after that Mr Poll was at it again when he showed Bellamy a a straight red card for a strayed arm which hit Cole - an action the official deemed violent conduct.

And as it looked as though the game was teetering towards a 1-1 draw the referee made an extremely conroversial decision to hand Newcastle victory by Shearer firing in the late penalty. And then somehow the Georides were gifted a third to send them into ecstasy as Robert then raced clear again to finish off sweetly.

Goals: Pires (1-0, 20 mins); O'Brien (1-1, 60); Shearer (1-2, 86); Robert (1-3, 90)

Bookings: Parlour, Vieira, Dabizas (foul); Speed, Bellamy, Lauren (dissent);

Sent off: Parlour 43 (second booking), Bellamy 72 (violent conduct)

Attendance: 38,012

Referee: Graham Poll (Tring)

Arsenal (4-4-2): Taylor 6; Cole 6, Keown 7, Campbell 6, Lauren 6; Pires 9, Vieira 7, Parlour 5, Wiltord 7 (Bergkamp 67, 6); Henry 8, Kanu 6 (van Bronckhorst 46, 6). Subs not used: Grimandi, Upson, Stack.

Newcastle (4-4-2): Given 7; Elliott 5 (Robert 58, 6), Dabizas 8, O'Brien 8, Hughes 6; Solano 5 (Lua Lua 58, 6), Dyer 6 (Distin 86), Speed 7, Bernard 6; Shearer 6, Bellamy 6. Subs not used: Harper, McClen.

Man of the Match: Robert Pires - A constant menace down the left wing