Newcastle narrowly edged Arsenal in a contentious Premier League fixture on Saturday, in which VAR influenced the result. The match was filled with feisty moments and VAR checks for possible dangerous play. In the end, the Magpies grabbed a lone controversial goal in the second half of the game to earn all three points.

The two teams entered the day coming off of drastically different midweek results in the Carabao Cup. Arsenal was thumped 3-1 by West Ham in east London on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Newcastle comprehensively beat Manchester United 3-0 on the same day.

Newcastle’s positive momentum was on display in the early stages of the matchup with Arsenal. The hosts came out of the gate looking like a team full of confidence. The home crowd were treated with some slick passing and plenty of possession in the opening 10 or 15 minutes of the game.

Nevertheless, the match settled down a bit and the visitors eventually grabbed more of the ball. With more possession, Arsenal was also able to take a significant amount of shots in the first half. In fact, the Gunners racked up seven total shots within a 10-minute span in the opening period. The Newcastle defense, however, held their own and blocked many of the attempts intended for goalkeeper Nick Pope.

Anthony Gordon’s strike was checked by VAR over five minutes
Anthony Gordon’s strike was checked by VAR over five minutes

Anthony Gordon’s strike was checked by VAR over five minutes

Referee showed four yellow cards in one play

The match would eventually go into the halftime break scoreless, but not before some heated moments in the final minutes of the period. Kai Havertz first received a yellow card for a late challenge on Dan Burn. The Magpies protested that the German should have been sent off. However, replays showed that the midfielder clipped Burn with just his trailing foot. As a result of the complaints, referee Stuart Attwell cautioned three different Newcastle players.

Bruno Guimaraes then swung an elbow to the back of Jorginho’s head off of the ball just before the break. VAR reviewed the dangerous incident, but opted not to ask Attwell to intervene and potentially send off the Brazilian midfielder.

Newcastle beat Arsenal with VAR allowing Gordon’s goal

The second half started much like the opening period. Newcastle enjoyed some solid attacking moments in the first few minutes of the half. However, unlike the first half, Newcastle was able to grab a goal in the early stages of the latter period. Anthony Gordon put the hosts ahead after a scramble inside Arsenal’s box.

VAR looked at multiple separate moments that would have chalked off the goal. This included the ball being out of play before the goal, a foul by Joelinton on Gabriel, a handball by Joelinton, and Gordon being offside when he scored the goal. Nevertheless, despite replays showing that the ball seemingly went out and the foul on Gabriel was certainly debatable, the Magpies took the lead.

The controversial goal ended up being all that Newcastle needed to win the match. With the win, the Magpies moved up to sixth in the Premier League standings. Arsenal, on the other hand, suffered their first defeat of the top flight campaign. The Gunners now sit third in the table, with Liverpool and Aston Villa potentially jumping ahead with wins on Sunday.

Photo credits: IMAGO / Sportimage : IMAGO / Sportimage