Prior to the game, Aleksandar Mitrovic looked set to give the relatively new pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista a ninety-minute headache. After ten minutes Mitrovic had started the process well, he made a couple of flashy runs, pulsating aerial duels and the Arsenal centre backs looked tense. Like any bad headache the pair were desperate for a cure and unfortunately Mitrovic drove to the chemist for them. The striker stuck his studs into Francis Coquelin's ankle and although the tackle wasn't malicious it gave Andre Marriner (who gave out cards for fun this afternoon) a chance to give the hot-headed frontman his marching orders. Newcastle United's already difficult task was instantly magnified and despite a plucky first half that ended with the teams level, the home side began to tire early in the second. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's 52nd minute shot was turned into Tim Krul's goal by Fabricio Coloccini who will be credited with the own goal. Newcastle's 50,000 fans encouraged the Magpies to continue to press and their workmanship and tactical intelligence was to be admired as Arsenal struggled to break down Steve McClaren's reshaped 4-4-1 that saw Florian Thauvin play up front on his own (somewhere he has played before during his time at Bastia). There are a lot of positives to take from the performance and it would have been interesting to see how Newcastle would have faired without the early sending off. The Magpies played intelligent, well-disciplined and possession-based football but have now not scored in their last three Premier League games and perhaps more worryingly is that their new boss (despite going down the tunnel to appreciative applause) is yet to record his first league win of the season.
NCTJ-accredited football writer with an MA in Sports Journalism. What Culture football editor. Write for the official Newcastle United programme. Former video reporter at North News. Featured and published in the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette, Mail Online, The Mirror, The Sun and others.