Arsenal fell to a 1-0 loss against Newcastle at St James’ Park after a controversial VAR decision in a weekend full of controversial decisions.

It was the Gunners’ first loss in the Premier League this season and while a handful of decisions went against them, a broader, more common issue reared its head throughout the game.

Arsenal fashioned 14 shots during the game, but crucially just one was on target as Newcastle sat deep and flooded the box in their deep block.

In almost every game this season, Arsenal have come up against a deep block due to how lethal they were in front of goal last season, but against Newcastle, there was no way through.

This has been a constant issue this season and it cost the Gunners here.

Martin Odegaard was absent through injury as Mikel Arteta deployed a midfield three of Jorginho, Declan Rice and Kai Havertz who struggled to break down the compact Newcastle defence.

Odegaard himself has struggled at times in similar situations this season but he was undoubtedly a miss against Newcastle’s deep block.

It’s an issue Arteta needs to figure out. For all the controversial decisions that will go against Arsenal this season, having just one shot on target gives those decisions the chance to cost the team points.

One potential solution is Havertz utilising his aerial presence and physicality to play more direct up to and around the penalty area.

It’s no secret that the German is still settling in on the attacking side at Arsenal but perhaps once he’s settled in, Havertz could be Arteta’s answer to these situations.

Another option may be to look at a more physical striker in the transfer market to contrast Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, or a more creative midfielder who can play a decisive pass and play in the left central midfield role.

After a midweek meeting with Sevilla in the Champions League group stage, Arsenal welcome 19th-placed Burnley to the Emirates on Saturday (3pm) ahead of the final international break of 2023.

It will likely be another game where the opposition will play a deep block, so hopefully Arteta’s side will have a trick up their sleeve.