Newcastle 1-0 Arsenal: 'Mikel Arteta must face scrutiny for trying to fix something not broken'

David Raya tries to catch the ball

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will pick through the wreckage of what he perceived - to put it very mildly - as a gross injustice on Tyneside, before turning attention to the shortcomings of his own team.

When he does, however, an emotional and visibly angry Arteta must face inevitable scrutiny about whether he has also reduced Arsenal's effectiveness and fluency by applying a fix to something that was not broken.

All discussion about Arsenal's first Premier League defeat of the season at Newcastle United must start and will be shaped by events in and around the 64th-minute goal by Anthony Gordon that led to their downfall.

Arteta went through the card to outline his displeasure at a truly bizarre sequence that saw Gordon's goal checked for whether the ball had gone out of play, a potential foul by Joelinton on Gabriel and offside against the scorer before this version of a video assistant referee multiple choice finally let Newcastle celebrate - and Arsenal fume.

"Embarrassing what happened," said Arteta. "How this goal stands in the Premier League - this league we say is the best in the world. I've been 20 years in this country and now I feel ashamed. It's a disgrace. There's too much at stake here."

There is every chance Arteta may be asked for his "observations" by the authorities, but there was unquestionably an element of high farce about the way in which a fevered St James' Park crowd and both teams awaited the outcome of various VAR check before a conclusion was reached - and a conclusion Arsenal's manager challenged so vehemently. Only a handball check was missing for the full house.

This was a chaotic moment that summed up an ill-tempered game played in the usual Toon Army hothouse atmosphere.

It was all faintly ridiculous, but finally settled a spiteful encounter filled with physical and verbal exchanges in which both Arsenal's Kai Havertz and Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes were fortunate not to see red in the first half for a foul and an elbow respectively.

Which brings us neatly on to the football match that, only at times, threatened to break out - and Arsenal's part in it.

Arsenal's start to the season has been, on the surface, very respectable, as this was their first Premier League defeat and they stood in third place after this game, four points behind Saturday night's leaders Manchester City.

There is, however, something missing. Arsenal are not displaying that attractive fluency that kept them in title contention for so long last season, playing in a style that won so many admirers.

No-one can question the acquisition of Declan Rice. He is top class in every respect and was one of the few players attempting to provide some composure and direction amid the human stock-car racing that characterised so much of what went on here.

The questions surround two other summer purchases, namely goalkeeper David Raya and Havertz.

In among the VAR pantomime of the winning goal, Raya was once again culpable with a poor, flailing attempt to deal with Joe Willock's cross before that tangle between Joelinton and Gabriel ended with Gordon scoring.

If Raya had claimed the cross, as he should have done, the post-match debate may not have been so heated.

Raya has been Arteta's big decision this season, dropping the popular Aaron Ramsdale to make the Spaniard his number one. He has yet to be rewarded, and it creates a debate around goals Arsenal concede, whether one keeper would have dealt with it better than the other.

Havertz, poor challenge on Sean Longstaff aside, cruised through the game in his usual languid style to little or no effect. Arteta's decision to pay Chelsea £65m for the German was a surprise at the time and currently carries the air of a vanity project.

With the influential and gifted Gabriel Jesus prone to injury, would Arteta not have been better spending the Havertz cash on a striker rather than seemingly complicating a system that worked so well last season?

It is certainly something Arteta must revisit in January, with Brentford's Ivan Toney the obvious target. Maybe that £65m might have been better saved for that particular rainy day.

Arsenal badly missed the calming influence of captain Martin Odegaard but Arteta would surely have expected more creation and thread on a night when Newcastle keeper Nick Pope was untroubled.

There is still plenty of time for Arsenal and Arteta to put this right and this is a team full of talent - but these currently look like two experiments that are not working, especially Havertz.

VAR (surprise, surprise) will be the big talking point of this game, along with Arteta's outburst, but there are also matters closer to home for Arsenal's manager to examine.