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Arsenal 0-0 Newcastle: Match report, player ratings, expert analysis, fan reaction and more

Arsenal’s perfect record at home came to an end after a hard-fougt draw with visiting Newcastle as the two-best defensive records in the Premier League came to grips in the capital

In a match that came with connotations for both Arsenal and Newcastle United that perhaps had not been felt since the days of Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer, the Emirates Stadium played host to a bitterly-contested nil-nil affair as first vs third came to the fore on another Premier League night to ring in 2023.

Mikel Arteta’s high-flying Gunners were unable to produce the same swashbuckling, all-action football that has seen them sprint ahead of the chasing Premier League pack this season as Eddie Howe’s disciplined Magpies remained top of the chart for the fewest goals allowed in the league in an otherwise entertaining affair in the north end of the capital.

The Gunners started brightly as many would now come to expect this season, with both Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli already bubbling to the surface in the first few minutes of action in north London, and Saka already highlighting a potential mismatch down Arsenal’s right flank when he exposed Dan Burn for pace with relative ease before his tight-angled shot was kick-saved by England colleague Nick Pope.

But despite an early blitz from Arsenal, Newcastle’s expertise in the defensive third of the pitch withstood the onslaught giving Eddie Howe’s troops a chance to work themselves into proceedings, and by the 35th minute Arsenal was running the risk of finding pedestrian comfort given the Magpies had offered little at the other end.

Tensions reached a fever pitch in the latter stages of the first half as match official Andy Madley had seemingly lost control on the Emirates playing surface as a rash of challenges, player protests, and subsequent bookings began to dot the landscape as both sides looked to get into the dressing room for a valuable reset, which would eventually come after two minutes of adding time and a 0-0 scoreline in what was an expected hotly-contested tie.

Eddie Howe’s Magpies were the side to come out of the halftime interval on the front foot in the opening exchanges of the second half, however, with Newcastle nearly finding the match-opener before the 50th minute when Miguel Almirón’s cut-back across goal found Callum Wilson with enough space to redirect at goal but the England striker could only whiff at his attempt.

Arsenal’s best chance of the match - for either side - came in the 87th minute when Hale End product Eddie Nketiah got within six yards of Pope’s goal after freeing himself in the area but his low drive at goal was expertly kicked away from the England international shot-stopper as Newcastle seemed to be more than happy to take a point away on their travels.

In the end, the two best defenses in the Premier League would ultimately cancel each other out but many in the Arsenal camp will feel as though this match could have - or should have - been won on a night that lacked attacking sharpness from Arsenal. Newcastle will no doubt return to Tyneside pleased with a shutout on the road against the current league leaders in what was a strong defensive performance that the club can build on moving forward.

Arsenal Player Ratings

  • GK: Aaron Ramsdale - 6.5
  • RB: Ben White - 7
  • CB: William Saliba - 6.5
  • CB: Gabriel Magalhães - 7
  • LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko - 6.5
  • CM: Thomas Partey - 7
  • CM: Granit Xhaka - 7
  • CAM: Martin Ødegaard - 6.5
  • RW: Bukayo Saka - 7
  • LW: Gabriel Martinelli - 6.5
  • CF: Eddie Nketiah - 6
  • Sub: Takehiro Tomiyasu - 6

Newcastle United Player Ratings

  • GK: Nick Pope - 7
  • RB: Kieran Trippier - 7
  • CB: Fabian Schär - 7
  • CB: Sven Botman - 7
  • LB: Dan Burn - 6.5
  • DM: Bruno Guimarães - 7
  • CM: Sean Longstaff - 6
  • CM: Joe Willock - 7
  • RW: Miguel Almirón - 6.5
  • LW: Joelinton - 6.5
  • CF: Callum Wilson - 6
  • Sub: Chris Wood - 6
  • Sub: Jacob Murphy - 6
  • Sub: Allan Saint-Maximin - N/A

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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