Newcastle vs Arsenal: Instant Reaction
Thoughts at full time
Headline: Newcastle given the benefit of the doubt
I think the headline says it all. On the major decisions today, Newcastle was given the benefit doubt.
Rotational fouling on Bukayo Saka who ended up with 5 fouls, not a problem.
Very physical play that was on the edge bordering on a foul, it was fine because Newcastle are plucky hardnose team, and Arsenal doesn’t like it up them.
A forearm/elbow to the head of an opponent after a player had already recklessly missed a tackle. Yeah reviewed no problem.
Three very borderline plays in the lead-up to a goal with none reaching the standard to say no.
In a game where the margins are incredibly tight these little things ended up likely tilting things in the Newcastle direction.
The two biggest moments absolutely turned this game.
The non-called red card is a 0.5-point swing going from 2.0 points if it is called at that stage of the game from a potential 1.5 expected points before (and after) the call. If that is correctly given Arsenal are incredibly unlikely to lose the game and have a whole 45 and a bit extra to try and break down a 10-man side.
Massive leverage call that I don’t think there is a good explanation for missing or excusing. The laws of the game say it is violent conduct to hit an opponent on the head or face with the hand or arm when not challenging for the ball. That’s pretty clear.
The other massive leverage moment is the goal.
Almost all of Newcastle’s expected goals came in the one sequence where they had a shot from Joelington and then a goal from Anthony Gordon.
This I sort of get a little more, I don’t think there is clear evidence that the ball went out play from the video I saw but it was very close. From this view, you can’t say for certain it is out because of the curvature of the ball and it needing to be all the way over the line. I can forgive that as keep it on the field.
I don’t think it was a clear offside because from the angle you can’t see where the ball is in relation to Gordon but it is mighty close. Again, I can forgive keeping with the call on the field.
The last one that is not quite as easy to forgive is the pretty blatant push in the back on Gabriel that is let go, it certainly looks like two hands in the back, with enough force to have him miss his header which should be a foul in my mind.
The goal is another massive swing, this takes the game from 1.4 expected points to 0.48 expected points. From the game being at 0-0 to 1-0 on the win probability from that point.
Between the two major calls that is nearly a point and a half of decisions that with the benefit of the doubt went Newcastle’s way.
I don’t love that the main talking points are about refereeing because, without that, this is an overly physical but probably fair draw. There is probably a lot of other interesting things to dig into but they had several pivotal and high-leverage calls and they favored one team and that can’t be looked past.
Stock Rising: Declan Rice
Declan Rice was everywhere in this match.
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