Joelinton shows his class as Newcastle United 'rattle' Premier League leaders Arsenal
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The two clubs played out a goalless draw at the Emirates Stadium tonight, and the game underlined the progress which has been made by Howe at third-placed Newcastle. The result ended a run of 11 defeats in all competitions dating back to a 1-0 away win in November 2010.
United matched Arsenal physically, and knocked them off their game. Newcastle also had chances to win, and the superb Joelinton – who threw his shirt into the away end after the game – missed the target with a good chance late in the first half.
Howe had made one change. Striker Callum Wilson, a substitute against Leeds United on Tuesday night after missing the club’s Boxing Day fixture at Leicester City through illness, returned to the starting XI, and Chris Wood dropped down to the bench.
Martin Dubravka, recalled from his loan at Manchester United on the eve of the game, was named as substitute goalkeeper.
Arsenal made a fast start. Martin Odegaard – who had praised the job done by Howe at Newcastle in his programme column before the game – shot over the bar, and Nick Pope was able to stop a ball across the face of goal from his England team-mate Bukayo Saka.
United got themselves a foothold in the game, but Saka, up against Dan Burn, was a constant threat down the right side for Arsenal.
Bruno Guimaraes was booked for bringing down Eddie Nketiah on the other side, and Wilson following the midfielder into the book of referee Andrew Madley for a foul on William Saliba.
Gabriel headed an Odegaard free-kick narrowly wide, and Newcastle were again on the back foot later in the half as Arsenal, urged on by their fans, pressed for a breakthrough.
Odegaard was booked for a foul on Guimaraes amid protests from United’s players, and his team-mate Granit Xhaka was also shown a yellow card for a challenge on Fabian Schar during a niggly, stop-start period in which Arsenal lost their cool.
Newcastle hadn’t been able to show their quality on the ball, but they arguably had the best chance of the half. Joelinton should have done better after Schar flicked a Kieran Trippier corner to him at the far post.
Two more players – Joelinton and Almiron – were booked as the hour-mark approached. United struggled to keep hold of the ball for any length of time, and Howe sent on Wood and Jacob Murphy in the 67th minute.
Murphy couldn’t get to a Schar cross headed back across goal by Burn, but chances for Newcastle were few and far between in a period dominated by Arteta’s side.
Allan Saint-Maxim replaced former Arsenal midfielder for the final few minutes, and Pope denied Nektiah with a superb late save.
Arsenal couldn’t get a breakthrough at the other end, and the result extended their lead at the top to eight points.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Guimaraes, Longstaff, Willock (Saint-Maximin, 87), Almiron (Murphy, 68), Joelinton, Wilson (Wood, 67). Subs not used: Dubravka, Lascelles, Ritchie, Lewis, Manquillo, Anderson.