Arsenal 0-0 Newcastle: Gunners frustrated by Magpies but go eight point clear in Premier League

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Arsenal were held to an ill-tempered 0-0 draw by Newcastle in their opening match of 2023.

The Gunners had the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to ten points with victory, ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Chelsea later in the week, but it was never likely to be easy against a Newcastle side who themselves would have gone second with a win.

Chances were at a premium throughout, the Magpies increasingly settling for a point and they got their wish as Arsenal’s perfect record at home in the Premier League this season came to an end.

It was a fractious first-half in north London, with five yellow cards shown and both sides furious with the officiating at various points.

In between the fouls and complaints there was the occasional attack, Arsenal making another flying start as Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard both had chances to open the scoring in the opening minutes.

Newcastle grew into the match though, benefitting from the stop-start nature, and should have opened the scoring seconds before the break. Kieran Trippier’s corner was flicked on to Joelinton, who headed wide when completely free at the back post.

Arsenal dominated the ball in the second-half but struggled to create much in the way of clear-cut chances. Gabriel Martinelli came as close as anyone, when he got across his man and flicked a header just wide of the far post from a corner.

A set-piece at the other end appeared to be Newcastle’s best chance and it nearly proved to be the case, as Dan Burn’s header found a path through the bodies without finding a touch that would have taken it beyond Aaron Ramsdale.

The biggest chance of the half fell to Eddie Nketiah as it opened up for him in the box in the closing stages, but his low strike was met by an outstretched foot from Nick Pope to keep it out and keep it goalless.

The Magpies did what they had to in seeing out the final few minutes, as it boiled over again in added-time. Mikel Arteta was almost on the pitch as Arsenal appealed, unsuccesfully, for a penalty in the closing stages, with Eddie Howe across to confront the Gunners boss as the match ended in fitting fashion.