Newcastle won themselves some breathing room and dealt a serious blow to Arsenal's league championship hopes on Sunday with a commanding performance on Sunday.
I really can't add anything to what has been written (links below). However I am stunned by how calm and cool Newcastle was in defending throughout this game. Arsenal had more possession, and they had Newcastle's back to the wall several times during the first half. But Krul, Coloccini, Jose-Enrique, Williamson, and Simpson were always around to punch, poke, and clear the ball when it got too close to the net. This was Newcastle's best defensive performance of the season thus far.
Newcastle had not won a match in north London in their last seven attempts. Not only was it their first win at Arsenal since December 2001, it was a remarkable clean sheet for goalkeeper Tim Krul. He's been a competent young keeper this season, but his shutout of Arsenal was a career highlight.
So what now? Newcastle need 10 wins this season to remain in the Premier League. That's a little over one win per month. They have had one victory in each of the first four months of the season. Now Newcastle have a golden opportunity to leap ahead of their goal. Their next two games are at home against lesser opponents, Blackburn and Fulham. If they can somehow maintain their high achieved on Halloween, and take all six points, they won't only be anchoring themselves in the Premiership, they will be contending for a spot in the UEFA Europa League tournament next season. Newcastle desperately needs more revenue, and participation in a European tournament would put them over the top.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Newcastle only needed one point from their last two matches. They got six. Now they need two points from the next two matches. So if they defeat either Blackburn or Fulham, they will have six wins before heading into a very difficult patch of their schedule, but will only need four more wins between December and May. I'd say given how Newcastle has improved in each League game since early October, it seems almost certain that Newcastle's position in the Premiership is safe. I couldn't say that just one month ago. But ever since that stunning comeback to salvage a point against Wigan on October 16th, Newcastle have been playing like a Premiership club.
ShiteSeat's Report: "This season may be long, and we may be riding our luck at times, but we have already surpassed everything we could have expected at this stage in the season."
Newcastle Chronicle: "United should fear nobody after this famous win over a team with aspirations to be kings of Europe."