It was a rotten afternoon for Newcastle, as they limped to a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Despite going into the game on the back of four positive results, the Magpies were unable to lay a glove on Arsenal.

And that’s despite the fact the Gunners made eight changes ahead of their Europa League semi-final second leg.

A slow start from Newcastle allowed Mohamed Elneny to give Arsenal the lead with an effort that Martin Dubravka should have done better with.

Newcastle United v Arsenal - Premier League
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

A poacher’s goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled Arsenal’s lead, who ensured they could cruise to victory.

Newcastle’s misery was compounded late on, as Fabian Schar received a straight red on his return to the side.

The centre-back came off the bench midway through the second half, but didn’t see full time after a foolish challenge from behind on Gabriel Martinelli.

Newcastle United v Arsenal - Premier League
(Photo by Molly Darlington – Pool/Getty Images)

There was some controversy with the decision. It wasn’t a good challenge, but a yellow card would surely have been adequate punishment.

It was a frustrating performance from Newcastle, but things could have been different had one moment in the second half gone another way.

 

Xhaka deserved red card

Granit Xhaka was on thin ice in the first half, picking up a yellow for a cynical challenge on Allan Saint-Maximin.

Xhaka’s discipline has always been questionable, and it seemed like only a matter of time before he lunged into another challenge.

That moment came in the second half, as he clearly blocked off Sean Longstaff. It was cynical. It was an obvious yellow card.

But Dean ignored Longstaff’s protests, and allowed Xhaka to remain on the pitch.

Newcastle United v Arsenal - Premier League
(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby – Pool/Getty Images)

At that point, Newcastle were only a goal down. Had Arsenal gone down to 10 men, perhaps Steve Bruce’s side could have taken advantage of the extra man.

In the end, it was a really poor performance from the Magpies. There was no creativity. The energy off the ball was disappointing.

But would things have been different if Xhaka had been sent off when Newcastle were only a goal behind?

Toon fans believe Xhaka should have seen red for cynical block

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