Newcastle did an excellent job defensively against Arsenal in a scoreless first half. The lads were very disciplined and frustrated the Gunners. However, we created next to nothing and spent much of the final 15 minutes defending.
Prior to the match, it was reported that both Jonjo Shelvey and Callum Wilson were sent home for precautionary reasons. They’ll hopefully be available for Tuesday’s massive match at Sheffield United.
Steve Bruce continued with five at the back though it was unconventional as Isaac Hayden was at center-back with Emil Krafth and Paul Dummett as wing-backs. Sean Longstaff and Jeff Henrick manned the midfield with Joelinton and Miguel Almiron behind Andy Carroll
Arsenal started on the front foot firing away two shots on target in the opening minutes. Both shots were easily collected by Martin Drubravka for his first saves of the season. Newcastle enjoyed a decent spell with plenty of possession after Arsenal’s early efforts. However, the lads couldn’t create any chances.
Newcastle’s first shot came through Andy Carroll after receiving a belated pass from Joelinton, who had made an interception but was ponderous on the ball. Carroll’s shot was easily blocked by an Arsenal defender.
Martin Dubravka made a wonderful save to deny Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 25th minute. Arsenal took a quick free-kick to free the forward but Dubravka parried it away and Willian’s follow-up effort sailed over the bar.
Newcastle were pegged back for much of the rest of the half with Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney wreaking havoc down his flank. Arsenal won a few corners but weren’t able to threaten Dubravka as Newcastle made some critical clearances, including a couple from Andy Carroll.
Arsenal ended the half on the ascendancy and while they had the better chances only tested Dubravka on Aubameyang’s shot. Newcastle have done little in the final third with no shots on target and winner no corners.
Overall it was a decent first-half but Newcastle need some quality in the final third. Maybe Bruce will hand Elliot Anderson his debut which would be outstanding for the youngster.