Arsenal's Unbeaten Record Crumbles in Controversial Match Against Newcastle

Arsenal’s Unbeaten Record Crumbles in Controversial Match Against Newcastle

Newcastle brought an end to Arsenal’s unbeaten streak in the Premier League when VAR controversially upheld Anthony Gordon’s goal, sealing the Magpies’ thrilling 1-0 victory on Saturday.

In what was Mikel Arteta’s side’s first defeat in 11 league matches, the loss left a bitter aftertaste. During the game, Joelinton visibly pushed Arsenal’s defender Gabriel while both contested Joe Willock’s cross, leading to Gordon’s close-range goal.

Aside from fruitlessly appealing for a foul by Joelinton, Arsenal also protested that the ball had gone out of play before Willock’s cross. These moments added to the many contentious incidents in a highly charged match at St James’ Park.

Both Arsenal’s Kai Havertz and Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes were fortunate not to receive red cards in the first half, intensifying the drama. Arsenal’s back-to-back losses, following their League Cup elimination at the hands of West Ham, proved to be a significant setback in their pursuit of the title.

Arteta’s team currently occupies third place in the league, trailing leaders Manchester City by three points. Tottenham has an opportunity to leapfrog into the top position and open up a five-point gap over their North London rivals if they defeat Chelsea on Monday.

For Newcastle, this victory marked a memorable week for Eddie Howe’s sixth-placed team, who had knocked Manchester United out of the League Cup at Old Trafford just days before.

The first half was scrappy, characterized by hard tackles and relentless pressing, but lacked inspiration or clear-cut opportunities. In the opening half-hour, Newcastle failed to register a single shot, and Arsenal struggled to create meaningful chances, failing to trouble Newcastle’s goalkeeper, Nick Pope.

The tension finally boiled over as Havertz launched into a reckless challenge that sent Sean Longstaff to the ground, sparking a scuffle between the two teams. Havertz received a yellow card from referee Stuart Attwell, which frustrated Longstaff, as well as his teammates Gordon and Fabian Schar, who were booked for protesting the decision.

Havertz, having received four yellow cards with just one shot on target in the Premier League since his preseason move from Chelsea, has proven to be a liability.

Arsenal’s limited chances were met with Pope’s save from Gabriel Martinelli’s strike. However, Guimaraes added further acrimony to the first half as he elbowed Jorginho in the head and kicked the ball at Havertz, resulting in a shove from Declan Rice in retaliation.

Guimaraes seemed to embrace the role of an instigator in the game, and his unnecessary push on Jorginho went unpunished after the break.

Rice narrowly missed with a header after Newcastle failed to clear Martinelli’s cross. This miss proved costly, as Newcastle controversially took the lead in the 64th minute.

When Willock rescued Jacob Murphy’s wayward shot near the corner flag, the ball appeared to be on the brink of going out of play. Nevertheless, Willock continued the attack and delivered a cross that led to Joelinton’s push on Gabriel, allowing Gordon to score from close range.

Arsenal vehemently protested to Attwell, but VAR sided with Newcastle on three counts: no out-of-bounds, no foul by Joelinton, and no offside by Gordon.

Despite dominating possession in the closing stages, Arsenal could not break through in the penalty area, suffering their first defeat of the season.