Newcastle United’s new signing seen at Arsenal, a surprise return and records broken – five things
Here are our five takeaways from Arsenal 0-0 Newcastle United…
Records broken for Newcastle United
It was always set to be a record breaking night at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal were looking to start a league season with eight successive home wins for the first time in their history and continue their 17 game scoring streak in the league while Newcastle were looking to set a top flight record of their own as they looked to go 13 games unbeaten for the first time in a season while also keeping a sixth consecutive clean sheet.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, Newcastle were the ones to put a stop to their winning and scoring run while setting two records of their own with a goalless draw. The Magpies were the last side to keep a clean sheet against Arsenal in the Premier League when the sides met previously in May – and they did it once again on Tuesday night.
The Gunners certainly had their chances to score with Gabriel Martinelli coming close with a header while Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka were both denied by fine stops from Nick Pope. It has now been over nine hours since United conceded a competitive goal.
The draw also breaks The Magpies’ 11 game losing streak at the Emirates Stadium, a run stretching back to 2010. Though they are still yet to score away at Arsenal in their last eight visits.
Martin Dubravka back involved after returning from Manchester United
Just days after being recalled from his loan at Manchester United early, Martin Dubravka was straight back into the matchday squad as he was named on the bench ahead of Karl Darlow.
Dubravka played just twice for Man United during his half-season at Old Trafford and requested to return to his parent club in January. The 33-year-old’s future on Tyneside remains uncertain but head coach Eddie Howe was pleased to welcome him back into the side.
“Martin’s situation is that he wanted to come back, and we were delighted to welcome him back,” Howe said. “There was never an issue between me and Martin. He’s a top goalkeeper, and I’m delighted to welcome him back to the squad.”
Work to do in January on the transfer front
While Newcastle put in a valiant defensive display against Arsenal, they remained fairly toothless up front as they went a second successive game without scoring. Kieran Trippier’s set-pieces were the only real threat United posed on the night as their only shot on target was a tame effort from distance by Callum Wilson.
Newcastle’s conservative and defensive game plan ultimately frustrated Arsenal and their manager Mikel Arteta as they held out for a point.
"Newcastle wanted to set-up like this, it is not the way they play,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “They have not set-up like this against anyone else.”
Tuesday’s match highlighted Newcastle’s need to provide some added depth to their squad. The upcoming return of record signing Alexander Isak will be a welcome boost in attack with Howe limited by his substitutions at the Emirates Stadium.
Other than Allan Saint-Maximin, there were no players on the bench capable of coming on and really hurting Arsenal. Jacob Murphy and Chris Wood both got a decent run-out in the second half but were ineffective in the final third.
And should any of the back four get injured, Howe could have a potential crisis on his hands. Kieran Trippier is so important to the way Newcastle play and will need sufficient cover with Emil Krafth ruled out for the majority of the season.
Fabian Schar and Sven Botman have been virtually faultless all season but only Jamaal Lascelles is available to cover at centre-back at the moment with Dan Burn cemented in at left-back due to Matt Targett's injury.
This January doesn't need to be about making huge signings or spending loads of money, it just needs to get the squad set up in the best way possible for a European push in the second half of the campaign.
New signing in attendance
Newcastle’s first January signing Garang Kuol flew over from Australia this week after completing his move from Central Coast Mariners. The 18-year-old watched from the stands at the Emirates Stadium as Newcastle picked up a valuable point.
Kuol last attended a Newcastle match at Fulham back in October, shortly after his transfer was agreed. He has since featured at the World Cup for Australia, becoming the youngest player to feature in a knockout match since Pele.
The teenager will remain in England for the time being with discussions to be held on his short-term future as he is set to quickly leave Newcastle on loan this month. Several EFL sides are understood to be interested now the youngster has been granted a work permit to play in the United Kingdom.
Newcastle United mixing it up with the ‘big boys’
Newcastle have now played all of the so-called ‘big six’ so far this season and boast a very respectable record against them – as you’d expect for a side sitting third in the table. A 1-1 draw against Manchester United and a 2-0 win against Arsenal were the only times United picked up points against ‘big six’ sides last season, losing the other 10.
But this season has been a quite different story as they've now taken points off Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City while beating Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. Their only defeat against a ‘big six’ side is their only defeat so far this campaign as they conceded a last-gasp goal at Liverpool back in August.
The fact that four of the six matches have been away from home makes Newcastle's record even more respectable as they've proven they can go head-to-head with the top sides in the division.