Newcastle inflicted Arsenal’s first Premier League defeat of the season – 1-0 at home to a deafening roar at St James’s Park.
The game turned into a mini-war on the pitch, the tackles bordered on rough (some beyond), and it’s a real miracle that both teams finished with 11 men each.
Even before the break Kai Havertz (Arsenal) could easily have been sent off for fouling and then another dangerous tackle.
And Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes had to be sent off after clearly and deliberately headbutting Jorginho from the opposition. It is not clear how only 6 yellow cards were the final stat because the offenses for such were at least twice as many.
The battle was fierce and the only goal came in the 64th minute in extremely controversial circumstances.
Anthony Gordon scored from a yard into the empty net, but before that there were at least two reasons for the goal to be disallowed.
First the ball appeared to go out of bounds before being crossed from the right to Joelington. And then he clearly fouled an Arsenal defender in the back.
VAR reviewed in detail several times each of the stages of the situation, but decided that the goal was regular. Exactly how – it is not clear. Not for the first time this season, officiating will become a major topic after a high-stakes game.
Newcastle collect 20 points with the win and are sixth, while Arsenal, with their first loss, remain third with 24.
The only unbeaten team in the Premier League is Tottenham (26 points), who host Chelsea in a London derby on Monday.