Friday, January 27, 2023

Arsenal 0-0 Newcastle United: Leaders frustrated by resilient Magpies

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 Jan 2023


Arsenal missed the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 10 points as they were held to a goalless draw by Newcastle United.

In a game of few clear-cut opportunities, the Gunners made an electric start to the game but could not take advantage, while Joelinton missed the best chance for Newcastle in the final moments of the first half at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

Third-placed Newcastle’s resilient display continued into the second period, leaving Arsenal unable to score in a Premier League game for the first time this season and ending their 100 per cent home record in the top flight.

Manchester City can cut the advantage held by Mikel Arteta’s side at the summit to five points if they beat Chelsea on Thursday.

Arsenal came flying out of the blocks, Martin Odegaard smashing a volley over the crossbar and Bukayo Saka weaving his way into the box from the right to before having an effort saved by Nick Pope in a flurry of early opportunities for the hosts.

Newcastle made the necessary tactical changes though, providing Dan Burn with more support in his defensive duties against Saka, which changed the tempo of the game – and it was Eddie Howe’s side who had the best chance of the first half, Joelinton heading wide at the far post following a corner.

A slow start to the second half saw both sides struggle to create openings, Arsenal limited to speculative shots at goal while Aaron Ramsdale remained untested at the other end.

Howe sacrificed Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron, bringing on Chris Wood and Jacob Murphy for the final 22 minutes, though it was Arsenal who continued to look the more likely to find a breakthrough.

Eddie Nketiah had a golden opportunity to win, forcing a save from the feet of Pope late on.

Arsenal wanted a penalty for handball against Murphy in stoppage time, but VAR did not intervene and Arsenal dropped points for only the third time this season.

What does it mean? Arsenal need a Plan B

Arsenal’s front three has performed well since the resumption of the Premier League season, Martinelli, Saka and Eddie Nketiah having all scored in the past two games, but the need for an alternative amid Gabriel Jesus’ injury absence became abundantly clear.

Of Arsenal’s 17 shots, only four were on target and none were categorised as big chances by Opta, with the usual exploits in the attacking third not yielding results and a lack of options on the bench to change the game.

Arteta’s side reportedly remain locked in talks with Shakhtar Donetsk for Ukraine international Mykhaylo Mudryk and that is a deal they could really do with getting done.

Misfiring Martinelli

While Martinelli had the most shots (four) and touches in the opposition box (12) for Arsenal, he did not make his usual impact.

The Brazil winger had no successful dribbles from five attempts and lost possession on 20 occasions, with Newcastle doing a good job of keeping him quiet.

Howe stops the rot

Howe had suffered defeat in all of his previous six away Premier League matches (five with Bournemouth, one with Newcastle), while the Gunners boasted 11 consecutive home victories against the Magpies.

Both streaks came to an end on Tuesday, with Newcastle halting Arsenal’s 10-game winning streak in the Premier League at home and becoming the first side to leave Emirates Stadium with points this season.

What’s next?

Arsenal travel to Oxford United in the FA Cup on Monday, with Newcastle on the road against Sheffield Wednesday in the same competition two days prior.


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