A goal from Gordon in the second half meant the first defeat for Arteta’s men in the Premier
The Gunners are three points behind Manchester City, which leads the table with 27 points.
It took eleven days, but ‘Invincible’ Arsenal fell. There will be no repeat of what happened twenty years ago, when the ‘Gunners’ took the title undefeated; and there won’t be one because Newcastle United overthrew them this Saturday, tightening the fight for the European places.
The ‘magpies’, who were grayer this year in the domestic competition, took advantage of the inertia of the feast they had against Manchester United in the League Cup and defeated one of the two teams that remained undefeated in the league; The other is Tottenham Hotspur, who will face Chelsea this Monday.
And St James’ Park is one of the great fortresses of the competition and only two teams have known what it means to win here since December 2021: Liverpool and Arsenal. However, Mikel Arteta’s men could not replicate the success of the season and a goal from Anthony Gordon, not without controversy, inflicted their first defeat on the scoreboard..
The match, due to what was at stake, between two contenders for the title, shined for sixty minutes more because of the aggressiveness and the fouls than because of the game. The first half was an exercise in patience for the referee and blows for the players, with arguments both for the expulsion of Kai Havertz, for an ugly tackle from below that ended with three Newcastle players sent off for protesting, and for that of Bruno Guimaraes, for a nudge.
Stuart Atwell barely controlled the match and was thankful that he had VAR for the most controversial and decisive play of the match.
In the 64th minute, Jacob Murphy completed a counterattack with an excessively crossed shot. The ball continued running down the byline and Joe Willock saved it next to the corner flag. He hung a cross, Raya did not arrive, Joelinton finished, Gabriel took it over the line and it fell to Gordon to push it into goal.
Looking askance at the referee and lineman, the Englishman celebrated, until the VAR appeared on the video scoreboards. First it was reviewed that the ball had not gone over the baseline, after a possible foul by Joelinton on Gabriel in the jump and finally a possible offside by Gordon.
After five minutes of deliberation, the technology said that everything was fine and Newcastle clung to a victory that they would not let go of. Helped, yes, by an innocuous Arsenal in attack, without the imagination of Martin Odegaard, out of the call due to injury, and perhaps tired from the cup-winning effort. While Newcastle rotated the majority of the team, Arsenal used many starters against West Ham United, and they were able to pay for it with a few last minutes lacking the courage necessary to tie these contests.
With this defeat, Arsenal lose ground with Manchester City, who beat Bournemouth and now take three points over the ‘Gunners’. Newcastle, despite its lukewarm start to the league, climbs to sixth position, with 22 points, five behind the leader, City.