NEWCASTLE UNITED 1–0 ARSENAL: BY THE VISUALS
NEWCASTLE UNITED 1–0 ARSENAL: BY THE NUMBERS
100 – Eddie Nketiah and Benjamin White made their 100th appearances for Arsenal against Newcastle. White has missed only 11 matches in all competitions since joining the club in July 2021.
After being knocked out of the League Cup earlier in the week, Arsenal visited St. James’ Park hoping to avoid their second defeat in just four days. However, what transpired was a controversial second-half goal that secured a 1-0 victory for Newcastle and brought an end to our unbeaten start to the league season.
Martin Ødegaard missed the game due to an injury he sustained during a training session unrelated to his brief appearance against West Ham. His absence, along with that of Thomas Partey and Gabriel Jesus, made a tough fixture even more challenging. However, it was Anthony Gordan’s triple VAR-checked close-range finish (xG 0.68) that became the pivotal moment in a contest with few chances for both teams.
16 – Arsenal had scored in each of their previous 16 games this season, but were unable to find the back of the net against a well drilled and resilient Newcastle team.
14 – The Gunners had a total of 14 attempts, which makes it the 8th time this Premier League season that we’ve taken fewer than 15 shots in a fixture. For context, we averaged 15.5 shots per game last season.
0.57 – Arsenal expected goals (0.34 xG open-play and 0.23 xG set play) is the second-lowest we’ve registered this season.
1 – Shot on target against Newcastle and just two attempts in the last 30 minutes after conceding.
There was some criticism levelled at Arteta’s Arsenal after the game, primarily centred on the fact that when you don’t create chances, you leave yourself vulnerable to the game being decided in such a manner.
While it’s true that, compared to last season, we are producing less in front of the goal and taking fewer shots, with penalties helping to compensate for the lack of creativity, our preferred front three have only started a single league game together.
10 – Arsenal took 10 shots away at Newcastle last season (4 fewer than Saturday), with goals coming from Ødegaard (0.04 xG) and Fabian Schär (own goal).
On the other hand, this Arsenal side effectively controlled the tempo of the game and is a team that won’t be bullied anymore – a far cry from some of the Arsenal teams we’ve seen down the years. We stood up to an intensely physical team. The old Arsenal would have struggled with that.
16 – Newcastle’s 16 passes into Arsenal’s box is the fewest they’ve achieved so far this season (they completed 21 against Manchester City at the Etihad).
58 – No player attempted more passes than Declan Rice. He ranked first in several passing categories, including passes into the final third (11), progressive passes (13), and passes into the penalty area (3). Rice also led in carries (49) and the progressive distance covered during carries (178 metres). He recorded 3 interceptions, 5 recoveries (second in Arsenal colours), and 5 clearances (more than any other Arsenal player).
There was a 2 minute passage of play that exemplified how influential his presence is becoming to this Arsenal team – a Vieira-esque burst through the middle of the pitch, where he just ate up the ground, was unfortunately let down by Nketiah’s movement. Then he latched onto a second ball, displayed brilliant footwork, and drove towards the byline.
I thought he and Saliba were outstanding throughout.
I didn’t think we played badly away from home in a hostile atmosphere. Newcastle managed to get away with it for the goal, and were fortunate to finish the game with eleven players.
I’m not sure if the referee saw the Bruno incident, but VAR made a blunder on that, and I have no clue why they didn’t send the referee to the monitor for a review. Kai Havertz was lucky he missed his challenge but the yellow card he received was fair based on the outcome.
Unfortunately, the sequence of play leading up to the goal was entirely different from how we defended for the majority of the game. I couldn’t see them scoring, but, sadly, I couldn’t see us scoring either.
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Sources: Opta, fbref, @Orbinho twitter feed