Arsenal and Newcastle played out an entertaining 0-0 draw in the Premier League on Tuesday, January 3. The result sees the Gunners remain at the top of the table with an eight-point cushion over Manchester City in second place, who have a game in hand.
The hosts arrived in this game looking to extend their perfect winning record at home this season. Mikel Arteta's young and vibrant side scored seven goals in their two games leading up to this fixture. They were up against a well-drilled Newcastle side coached by Eddie Howe, who are looking to break into the top four this season.
Arsenal and Newcastle played an ill-tempered first period in which five players were booked by referee Andy Madley. Despite keeping the ball for 63% of the time, the Gunners were unable to break down Newcastle's organized defense. Kieran Trippier and Fabian Schar did well to lock up the Magpies' right flank as they both put in fantastic performances.
The first half saw 13 shots attempted, but both Arsenal and Newcastle hit the target just once each. Neither side came close to scoring as they were deadlocked at 0-0 at the interval.
The second half was no different in terms of the flow of play as Arsenal dominated possession but failed to convert that into goals. Newcastle made the most of fouls by the Gunners' players and also committed some cynical tackles themselves. A further three yellow cards were shown in the second period, with substitute Jamaal Lascelles being booked for time-wasting on the sidelines.
The second period saw the bulk of the chances come Arsenal's way as they attempted 10 shots but hit the target just thrice. Newcastle were able to manage two attempts but neither was on target. There were desperate shouts for a penalty deep into stoppage time but nothing was given as the game ended 0-0.
On that note, here are the five hits and flops from this pulsating clash.
#5. Hit - Nick Pope
Contrary to his counterpart Aaron Ramsdale, Nick Pope faced several shots aimed at his goal. He made four good saves, including one with an outstretched left leg to deny Edward Nketiah the winner in the second period. He also made three punches to clear the ball from the danger area. His performance received praise from Magpies legend Alan Shearer via Twitter.
#4. Flop - Callum Wilson
Wilson had just 17 touches of the ball despite being on the field for nearly three quarters of the game. He was often anxious to make runs in behind the defense and was often late to make the run. He played just three accurate passes and attempted two shots but failed to score.
Wilson was the second Newcastle played to go in the book for a foul committed shortly after Bruno Guimaraes received the game's first booking in the first period.
#3. Hit - Granit Xhaka
Xhaka popped up in key areas all over the pitch during different phases of play and played an important role for Arsenal in all of them. He had 72 touches of the ball and passed it with 82% accuracy, including three key passes and three long balls. Xhaka also won five of his 11 duels and made one clearance and one tackle. He had a chance to score in the second half but was wrong-footed by the speed of Odegaard's pass.
#2. Flop - Gabriel Martinelli
Martinelli had a hard time trying to use his pace or trickery to get the better of Trippier and Schar, who did extremely well to contain him. He attempted several take-ons and was unsuccessful in all of his five dribble attempts. Martinelli also failed to deliver a single accurate cross and was unable to score despite four attempts.
#1. Hit - Kieran Trippier
Tripper put in an inspired performance as he captained Newcastle United to a heroic draw at the Emirates Stadium, where no other team had earned a single point before tonight.
He won five of his seven duels and made four tackles and two blocks. He also played a key role in creating chances in the opponent's half. Trippier played three key passes, four accurate crosses, and five accurate long balls. He showed remarkable positional awareness as he tracked down every run made by Arsenal players on the left flank.
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