Three things Arteta got wrong and one he got right as Arsenal lose at Newcastle

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    Newcastle inflicted Arsenal’s first Premier League defeat of the season in an ill-tempered clash at St James’ Park.

    The match, which pitted two of last season’s top four against each other, promised plenty, but aside from some rash challenges and a number of flare-ups, which kept referee Stuart Attwell on his toes, there was a shortage of action for the first hour.

    Newcastle had the ball in the net just past the hour mark when Anthony Gordon fired home from close range – and the goal was finally allowed to stand after multiple VAR checks for the ball possibly being out of play, offside and a foul by Joelinton. Here’s a round-up of what Mikel Arteta got right and wrong as his side’s unbeaten start came to a grinding halt on Tyneside.

    READ MORE: Arsenal fans fume as Newcastle goal beats VAR checks – Neville doesn’t have clue

    READ MORE: Havertz gets booked for ‘stupid’ challenge – but so do three Newcastle players

    Not hooking Kai Havertz

    Serious question: Can anyone remember the German making a substantial contribution to his club, Chelsea or Arsenal, since hitting the winner in the 2021 Champions League final? Havertz was his usual anonymous self against the Magpies until he almost sent Dan Burn into the stands with a horrific-looking lunge. Staggeringly, despite a VAR check, the challenge was only deemed worthy of a booking.

    The Gunners had done a decent job of keeping the Geordie crowd quiet until that point, but they came to life at that moment. The Newcastle players piled in too with three earning bookings for complaining too vociferously to referee Stuart Attwell. As Gary Neville quipped on commentary, the tackle helped the visitors in that respect.

    Arteta’s decision to pick Havertz was arguably forced due to an injury to Martin Odegaard, even there were viable – and perhaps more reliable – alternatives on the bench. However, his decision not to hook Havertz, who could have been booked again for a challenge early in the second half, was certainly flawed.

    Should the goal have been allowed to stand? Tell us in the comments section below

    Too slow to make changes

    Aside from Havertz not being withdrawn earlier, Arteta, was too slow to make changes in general. Howe threw the dice by making a double change shortly before the goal, but Arteta did nothing for another 10 minutes.

    Even then, his first change was a minor defensive alteration with Oleksandr Zinchenko coming on for Ben White. It wasn’t until the 79th minute when Arteta made attacking changes as he sent on Fabio Vieira and Leandro Trossard.

    Ben White’s hair

    You’d like to think White made the call to ditch the bleached blonde look in the wake of his OG in the Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham, but with modern-day footballers, who knows?

    If it was Mikel Arteta who told the defender to sort his locks out, then fair play. No longer looking like a sunburnt Alpaca, White turned in a solid display on the right side of Arsenal’s back-line. Now he just needs to lay off the fake tan!

    Not signing a top striker

    Arsenal’s lack of a top-class striker was obvious for most of the game as they barely crafted a chance of note. Despite his England call-ups this season, Eddie Nketiah isn’t that man.

    He’s a good but not a great ‘number nine’. Too often, when the ball was in the danger area, he isn't sniffing around the chance like some of his legendary predecessors – Ian Wright springs to mind – would have been. The Gunners have plenty of talented attacking players, but no one like Haaland, Kane or Salah. That is made abundantly clear whenever Arsenal face a fellow top side.

    • Premier League
    • Arsenal FC

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