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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal thwarted by stubborn Newcastle as relentless home march is brought to a halt

Arsenal (0) 0

Newcastle United (0) 0

Arsenal surrendered their 100 per cent home record and missed the chance to go 10 points clear at the top of the table after a frustrating night at the Emirates.

At the start, it looked for all the world as though the Gunners would be adding to the seven straight wins already chalked up on home soil in the Premier League.

Playing at pace, setting up clever combinations and driving towards that six-yard box, never mind the 18-yard area, they simply swarmed all over the visitors like angry bees. The energy and ambition were pouring out of them.

Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Sako were Newcastle’s chief tormentors as Arsenal seemed intent on putting the game to bed in the opening 10 minutes. Granit Xhaka slammed a shot into the side netting. Gabriel headed narrowly wide.

But cooking up a storm is one thing, keeping it going is another and once the obdurate Magpies had steadied the ship, the contest became more of a bad-tempered quagmire of over-zealous challenges and professional fouls to break up play.

Ref Andrew Madley flourished seven yellow cards – four for the visitors – which was a fair reflection of the untidy scrap it became.

One of the main turnarounds in Geordie fortunes has been in defence, where the Saudi petro-dollars have been particularly well spent.

Sven Botman and Fabian Schar are good at sealing off central areas. Kieran Trippier made like difficult for Gaby Martinelli and Dan Burn worked hard to subdue the effervescent Saka’s fleet-footed probings.

In the end, Nick Pope had few real saves of note to make in spite of their monopoly of territory and constant pressure from the home side.

They came closest when Martinelli’s glancing header flew wide of the far post and when a late low shot from the always-battling Eddie Nketiah, was diverted clear by Pope’s outstretched foot.

Newcastle’s only defeat so far this season came at Liverpool and they are not the side the Gunners usually roll over with ease. They are third in the table for a reason.

The mood was frantic until the very end with Mikel Arteta and Eddie Howe exchanging angry words after the ref ignored home appeals for a penalty. There was contact to hand in the area but it was clutching at straws.

Gunners: (4-3-3) Ramsdale – White (Tomiyasu 76), Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko – Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka – Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli. Subs not used: Turner, Tierney, Holding, Tomiyasu, Vieira, Lokonga, Elneny, Marquinhos, Butler-Oyedeji

Magpies: (4-3-3) Pope – Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn – S Longstaff, Guimaraes, Willock (Saint-Maximin 87) – Almiron (Murphy 68), Wilson (Wood 68), Joelinton. Subs not used: Dubravka, Lascelles, Ritchie, Lewis, Manquillo, Anderson


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