Our unbeaten start to the season came to an end at St James’ Park as Anthony Gordon’s strike gave Newcastle United victory.
A scrappy game was decided by a scrappier goal, as the former man poked home from close range after a scramble on the goalline on 63 minutes that was scrutinised by VAR for numerous issues, but the Geordies survived to ultimately take the three points.
It was a frustrating evening for Mikel Arteta’s side who failed to really test Nick Pope in the Magpies goal throughout, with the best chance falling Gabriel Martinelli’s way just before half-time but that was a routine stop for the home goalkeeper.
Feisty first half
Amidst chilly conditions on Tyneside, the opening half was a fiery affair. It may have been little on goalmouth action but was full-blooded with both sets of players battling for every ball, and getting stuck in as they tried to assert dominance.
We saw a number of early chances blocked by black and white shirts, usually from corners played to the edge of the area and Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Jorginho all had efforts trying to find a way through a wall of home players.
An unusual source was next to try his luck and came closer as William Saliba lined up a blast from range and saw it take a deflection, which took the ball on a different course and worried Nick Pope but it dropped wide.
Newcastle’s best chance of the opening 45 came when Callum Wilson prodded over a Kieran Trippier cross but was flagged offside anyway and Bruno Guimaraes dragged an effort wide, but the Brazilian was caught in some controversy when he struck Jorginho with his forearm but VAR didn’t deem it worthy a check.
As the half went into the final stages, our best chance arrived when Martinelli cut inside from the left, and beat Trippier to finally earn either side a sight of goal, but disappointingly his shot was straight at Pope to ensure the teams went into the break goalless.
The second half began in a similar vein with both sides strapping away for superiority, and Declan Rice had the first chance when a poor Tripper clearance came his way but the midfielder headed wide, but on 63 minutes the first goal arrived - and it came the visitors way.
Befitting the scrappiness of the game, Joe Willock - just introduced as a substitute - recovered a Jacob Murphy cross-shot from the corner flag, and fizzed a cross to the back post where Joelinton challenged Gabriel, and the ball fell loose to Gordon to tuck into the net. A lengthy VAR check looked for the ball going out of a play, a foul on our defender and an offside call, but the Magpies survived all three to take the lead.
The hosts were then content to protect what they had and sat back, soaking up all the pressure. More shots were fired at them, more were repelled for corners or away from danger, with Leandro Trossard also suffering the same fate as those before him.
Despite eight minutes of stoppage-time, we couldn’t quite conjure up another sight of goal, and would depart St James’ Park tasting defeat for the first time in the Premier League this season.
Facts and stats
Newcastle have won two of their last three Premier League home games against us (L1), as many as in their previous 19 against them at St James’ Park (D7 L10).
The Magpies have won four consecutive Premier League home games without conceding a single goal for the first time since April 2012.
We lost for the first time in the Premier League this season, leaving Tottenham as the only side with an unbeaten record this term. Meanwhile, this is the first time we have lost consecutive games just three days apart in all competitions since December 2020 (v Everton and Man City).
In Fabian Schär, Sean Longstaff and Anthony Gordon between the 37th and 39th minute, Newcastle became the first team to have three players booked for dissent/arguing in the first half of a Premier League game since Leicester against Stoke in December 2016.
Gordon has scored five goals in his last 11 games in the Premier League, as many goals as he scored in his previous 51 appearances.
This was the first time we failed to score in all competitions this season (17th game). Newcastle were also the first team to stop us from scoring in the Premier League last term (0-0 in January).
We'll be at home for our next two matches next week, with Sevilla arriving in north London on Wednesday night for our fourth Champions League group stage game, before Burnley head south the following Saturday in our final league action before the last international break of the year.
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