Anthony Gordon’s controversial second-half winner gave Newcastle United victory over Arsenal in a feisty encounter at St James’ Park.
Gordon’s scrappy 64th-minute strike summed up a dogfight of a game, with the video assistant referee checking for whether the ball had gone out of play, for a foul, and for offside before Newcastle were finally allowed to celebrate.
It condemned Arsenal to their first Premier League defeat of the season as referee Stuart Attwell found himself at the centre of several contentious moments even before Gordon’s decider.
Newcastle were furious when Kai Havertz escaped a red card for a wild first-half challenge on Sean Longstaff before Arsenal demanded similar punishment for Bruno Guimaraes, who was fortunate after appearing to elbow Jorginho.
The Magpies finally broke the deadlock when Arsenal keeper David Raya missed Joe Willock’s cross, leaving Gordon to pounce after a tangle between Joelinton and Gabriel at the far post.
The joy among the Toon Army at the final whistle reflected two big wins this week that confirmed Newcastle will again be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Manager Eddie Howe shuffled his selection, and Newcastle still overpowered Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup, while here they showed different qualities to win a war of attrition with Arsenal.
This was about as far from the beautiful game as it gets, with spiteful exchanges and little in the way of quality on show from either side.
Even the goal was a drawn-out affair as the officials effectively went through a VAR multiple choice before Gordon’s goal was given.
It was then that Newcastle showed the organisation and resilient streak they had developed under Howe.
They dug in, and they barely gave Arsenal a sniff of goal, even through a tense eight minutes of stoppage time. Before Attwell ended this contentious game, the second half played out in a Tyneside downpour.
Newcastle were creaky at the start of the season, but the improvement of late sees them moving towards the top four places once more, with a Carabao Cup quarter-final at Chelsea to look forward to.