To understand what happened Saturday afternoon at St. James Park, one only has to look at the first 20 minutes of the match.
In that time, referee Andre Marriner completely destroyed any chance of it being a watchable spectacle. Constant cards, 7 in all, were shown to Magpies players while Arsenal players repeatedly went to ground on any and every tackle, took the enjoyment away from the match. A red card shown to Aleksandar Mitrovic in the 16th minute put the home side on damage control the rest of the way.
In comparison, Arsenal players were called for eight fouls compared to 15 for NUFC and received one yellow card later in the second half.
In the end, Arsenal got Newcastle down to 10 men and secured all three points, thanks to a fortunate deflection own-goal by NUFC defender Fabricio Coloccini in the second half. But in all honesty, when a team takes 22 shots, the law of averages say one is going to eventually find its mark. Even if the attempt was off target to begin with, like the game-winning goal started by Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
For the second-straight match, Newcastle's attacking chances were miniscule. The Magpies managed one shot, but to be fair, played a man down for 74 minutes.
Newcastle's new striker Mitrovic seemed to be a target from the opening whistle.
The sizeable Serbian was isolated up top, thanks to Newcastle manager Steve McClaren deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation.
In the opening seconds, Mitrovic showed his power by taking on a couple Arsenal players to gain possession for Newcastle in the Gunners' zone. He played the ball back to Vurnon Anita, who nearly lost it under pressure from Arsenal players.
With every second that Newcastle failed to gain possession back from Arsenal, Mitrovic grew more and more frustrated. Tim Krul tried to get him involved with a long kick, but while trying to establish position like a target striker in the English Premier League should be allowed to do, he was immediately flagged for an innocuous bump on an Arsenal player while backing up.
In the seventh minute after a long stretch of possession by the Gunners, Newcastle's Vurnon Anita turned and hoofed the ball out of trouble up toward Mitrovic. Before he could make an attempt to chest it down, Mitrovic was pulled down from behind Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista.
In the eighth minute, a throw-in was attempted into Mitrovic, who was one again manhandled by an Arsenal player -- this time it was defender Laurent Koscielny -- and unable to touch the ball without a foul being called.
His frustration clearly showed and anyone watching knew a flashpoint was minutes away if Mitrovic did not start receiving a little help from the linesmen.
Arsenal could have had goals twice in the next few minutes. The first on a breakaway by Theo Walcott and the second on a tackle in the box from Magpies midfielder Florian Thauvin on Hector Bellerin, which should have resulted in a penalty kick.
Seconds after that penalty was waived off, Newcastle produces its only attack of the match that yielded a shot. Georginio Wijnaldum took possession and connected with Moussa Sissoko down the wing behind the defense, but he pulled his shot wide.
With the clock reading 15:30, Daryl Janmaat tried once again to throw in to Mitrovic, who was surrounded. He chested the ball, but as he went to control it again, Arsenal's Francis Coquelin knicked it away and Mitrovic's boot landed instead on Couquelin's ankle.
The Arsenal player immediately went to ground writhing in pain. Mitrovic looked to be incredulous as Marriner waltzed up to him and produced a red card.
"It was more clumsy (than anything)," McClaren said afterward. "(He was trying to get the ball) and he stood on his foot, and it was just after we got a yellow card (for a similar tackle). I don't want to criticize (the officiating), but I just felt early on it was too many yellows. There were fouls, and we're not excusing that they were fouls, but there was a lot of (stuff by Arsenal) and our boys, they stay on their feet."
Instead of free flowing soccer by two teams determined to attack with vigor, score goals and get a result, we were treated to Arsenal players repeatedly making the most of any challenge and receiving the result they hoped to achiever -- Marriner going into his pocket.
The first yellow went to Moussa Sissoko in the third minute.
Then red to Mitrovic at the 16h minute.
Chancel Mbemba saw yellow in the 19th minute.
Florian Thauvin in the 26h minute.
Vurnon Anita in the 48th minute.
Georginio Wijnaldum in the 49th minute
Fabricio Coloccino in second half injury time.
"Our lads don't fall down, they don't go down easy; they try to stay up and play," McClaren said. "I just felt we were victim to that (by Arsenal), especially with the red card. All we could do after that was show spirit and fight and discipline, and they were magnificent in terms of that, and what a fantastic crowd. When we get 11 players on the field and give them a decent game, this crowd is going to roar us on (to victory)."