LONDON, January 4: Arsenal were held to a goalless stalemate by high-flying Newcastle on Tuesday but still extended their lead to eight points at the top of the Premier League as Manchester United strengthened their grip on a top-four place.
Everton imploded at home to Brighton, losing 4-1 just days after drawing at champions Manchester City, while Fulham condemned Leicester to a third straight defeat.
Mikel Arteta’s men had the better of the match at a packed Emirates Stadium but rarely threatened to break down the division’s stingiest defence.
The Magpies, who have suffered just one defeat in the Premier League all season, are in the mix for a top-four finish and have even been touted as potential champions.
Both sides had penalty appeals waved away and had to be content with a point after a fractious encounter of nine yellow cards but few clear-cut chances.
Eddie Nketiah was denied a late winner by a fine save from Magpies goalkeeper Nick Pope as the hosts failed to score in the league for the first time this season.
“I think it was a very, very good defensive display and great mentality from the group,” Newcastle boss Eddie Howe told Sky Sports.
“You saw good teamwork and a collective effort. I think Arsenal are very good and pose different problems so we knew defensively we needed to be rock solid.”
Manchester United hammered Bournemouth 3-0 at Old Trafford — their fourth straight Premier League win — to move level on 35 points with third-placed Newcastle.
United, trophyless since 2017, have now won nine of their past 10 games in all competitions as they adjust to life without Cristiano Ronaldo, who was unveiled at his new Saudi club, Al Nassr, on Tuesday.
Marcus Rashford was dropped at Wolves on Saturday after oversleeping and missing a meeting but came off the bench to bag the winner, and returned on Tuesday as one of four changes alongside Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Donny van de Beek.
Casemiro broke the deadlock for United in the 23rd minute. Rashford was fouled by Adam Smith on the left and Christian Eriksen floated in a free-kick which the Brazil midfielder met at the near post to apply the finish.
England defender Luke Shaw started and finished the move for United’s second goal early in the second half and Rashford added gloss to the scoreline shortly before full-time.
Brighton’s World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister was named as a substitute against Everton at Goodison Park just over 24 hours after returning from Argentina.
Kaoru Mitoma gave the visitors a 14th-minute lead but things unravelled quickly for Frank Lampard’s men early in the second half.
Eighteen-year-old Evan Ferguson put the ball in the net in the 51st minute and boos rang out as Solly March was given far too much space on the edge of the box to make it three just three minutes later.
Remarkably, three minutes after the third, a fourth arrived. A reckless pass from Idrissa Gueye was seized on by Pascal Gross just inside the Everton half and he had the freedom of Goodison to run through and chip the ball over Jordan Pickford.
Everton fans began to head for the exits and a flare was thrown onto the pitch while chants of “sack the board” rang out.
Demarai Gray scored a late consolation from the penalty spot but the chastening defeat leaves Everton just one point above the relegation zone.
Serbia forward Aleksandar Mitrovic scored the only goal of the game at the King Power Stadium as Fulham beat Leicester 1-0 to climb to seventh in the table.
Leicester dominated the second half. Youri Tielemans hit the bar and Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno made a string of saves but they could not find an equaliser and sit just three points above the drop zone. (AFP)