Arsenal Title Charge Suffer Minor Setback with Newcastle Stalemate
Arsenal dropped two crucial points and missed the chance to go 10 points clear of the EPL after a goalless draw in a top of the table clash with the resilient third place Newcastle.
Arsenal had a late penalty appeal after the ball appears to strike Jacob Murphy’s arm, but centre referee, Andrew Madley decided not to give it, a decision that infuriated Gunners’ manager, Mikel Arteta.
In a game the home side was hoping to extend their lead at the top against the team with the best defensive record in the league this season, it was poised to be a hard fought battle with tackles flying in from all angles.
Madley issued a total of nine yellow cards, with five coming in the first half alone, as tempers flared.
Both teams produced an entertaining but cagey first half devoid of clearcut goal scoring chances, with Arsenal failing to convert their early opportunities after a promising start.
Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli who had a quiet night all failed to convert their chances for the Gunners.
The Magpies’ best chance came in first half stoppage time, but Joelinton failed to bring his header down at the far post with an open goal at his mercy.
Mikel Arteta’s men were more in control of the game in the second half as they threw everything at the visitors but could not break the deadlock.
Eddie Howe’s side looked more contented with leaving the Emirates with a draw as they sat back and hoped to catch the attacking Arsenal team on a counter.
Eddie Nketiah who had found the back of the net in his last two games saw a late chance saved by Nick Pope in the 87th minute as Arsenal failed to score for the first time in the league this season.
Speaking after the game, Arteta told SkySports: “Extremely proud of my players. The way we played, dominated the game, tried and continued to control the game. We needed that spark in the final third. We had so many situations. And we had two scandalous penalties”.
Manchester City travel to Chelsea on Thursday and a victory for them would see Arsenal’s lead cut to five points.