With a tenacious performance at Emirates Stadium, Newcastle United frustrated Premier League leaders Arsenal and earned a point.
Arsenal wanted to increase their lead over the competition to 10 points, but Newcastle United, who also had top-four aspirations, forced them into a grueling, attritional match.
There weren’t many opportunities, but Newcastle’s Joelinton may have missed the best one when he headed wide in the last seconds of the first half with the goal at his disposal.
Arsenal’s Gabriel and striker Gabriel Martinelli nearly missed the goal with headers, and Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope made a key late save with his legs from Eddie Nketiah.
When Gabriel was hauled back by Dan Burn, the Gunners also appeared to have had a straightforward penalty claim denied.
Seven yellow cards were issued during the game, which became a scrappy contest. The score stayed tied, giving Arsenal an eight-point advantage despite being held at home.
The breakdown of a hard-fought draw at the Emirates ⚔️@Oracle | #ARSNEW pic.twitter.com/ypUEC4xr7p
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 3, 2023
Arsenal left disappointed as Newcastle demonstrated progress
Even though it is only the first week of January, Mikel Arteta, the manager of Arsenal, may have provided a hint as to the mounting expectations for the team following their impressive start.
For most of the evening, right up until the end, Arteta was on the edge of his technical area.
He confronted the fourth official, Jarred Gillett when only five additional minutes remained and then moved toward his opposite manager Eddie Howe after late penalty appeals were denied before being escorted away.
It certainly didn’t exude a sense of serenity when needed, as Arsenal felt dissatisfaction due to Newcastle’s tenacious defensive strategy and desire to draw Arsenal into a dogfight.
Leeds United thwarted Newcastle’s attempt to break into the top four at St. James’ Park, but they proved they could dig deep when they fought to secure an important point at Arsenal.
Eddie Howe, the manager, will be pleased with the effort and the outcome, albeit he is aware that Joelinton’s conversion of a rather straightforward-headed opportunity may have made it even better.
Newcastle demonstrated their tremendous improvement under Howe and with the infusion of wealth from their Saudi Arabian owners by being well-organized, attempting to threaten when they could, and doing so again.
Should Arsenal have been awarded a stoppage time penalty? #MyPLMorning | #ARSNEW pic.twitter.com/vQprsD8fPQ
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 3, 2023
Arteta hits out at officials after Arsenal had two scandalous penalties waved away
Mikel Arteta lamented two “scandalous” penalty rulings as Premier League leaders Arsenal wasted the opportunity to extend their advantage to 10 points following a discouraging goalless draw with Newcastle.
The Spaniard exclaimed, “I’m incredibly proud, the way we played, the way we controlled the game, the approach that we had from the beginning.”
“In the final third, we missed that spark to find that opportunity, to find that ideal time and additional pass and a little bit of finishing quality, but we had a lot of situations in and around the box to perform better.”
“The two penalty calls were disgraceful. The two of them. They were both penalties, whether they were or weren’t. We lacked that in the final third, and we lacked two big decisions.”
Mikel Arteta on which penalty claim was stronger: “It’s not about stronger. They are two penalties, it’s that simple. I’m not talking [about the referee], I’m talking about what I’ve seen now & it’s two scandalous penalties [not given].” #afc pic.twitter.com/KNYJuQT3QK
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) January 3, 2023
Eddie Howe: We managed the game well
After the game, Eddie Howe said that his team needed to be “very steady” to leave Arsenal with a point.
“As a team, we were tenacious and excellently defending all areas of the pitch. They are a top squad, but we handled the game well, and there was a lot to enjoy about it,” Howe added.
“They [Arsenal] are really good in wide areas, tactically and technically. We had to solve those issues, and the players deserve praise.”
“We had a difficult beginning, improved during the middle of the game, and were always going to need to play exceptionally well to win.”