With Arsenal in fine goalscoring form after cruising to a five-star victory against Sheffield United last time out, Mikel Arteta’s Gunners would face a tough challenge on Saturday as they visited Newcastle United – unbeaten in the league since defeat to Brighton in early September.
NEW: Pope; Burn, Schär, Lascelles, Trippier; Joelinton, Guimarães, Longstaff; Gordon, Wilson, Almirón
ARS: Raya; Tomiyasu, Gabriel, Saliba, White; Rice, Jorginho, Havertz; Martinelli, Nketiah, Saka
Fans hoping to see another silky spectacle would be disappointed on Saturday evening, with a scrappy affair developing at St James’ Park – with the midfield battle proving to be the dictating factor for much of the game.
Kai Havertz was perhaps fortunate to escape a dismissal in the first half after a brutal challenge on Sean Longstaff – but Newcastle should have been reduced to ten men too, with Bruno Guimarães lucky to remain on the pitch after elbowing Jorginho.
But the thus-far unbeaten Gunners would crumble in the second half, with Anthony Gordon’s strike marred by yet more VAR controversy. Three separate checks were needed – revealing whether the ball had travelled out of pay, then if there had been a foul on Gabriel, and then finally checking for an offside.Embed from Getty Images
Gordon was allowed to celebrate after more than four minutes of review though, and the visitors never came close to restoring parity as they fall to their first Premier League defeat of the season.
It leaves their North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, as the solitary unbeaten side – but the Gunners will look to return to winning ways against Burnley next weekend. First though, they must host Sevilla in midweek.
A colossal three points bring Newcastle United closer to the top four once again, and they’re set to travel to Borussia Dortmund before an away day at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium next weekend.