Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City cannot think about the Premier League title after losing further ground on Liverpool with a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United.

City led twice at St James' Park through Raheem Sterling's 15th goal of the season for club and country and a blistering Kevin De Bruyne strike.

But after Jetro Willems, a goalscorer at Anfield earlier this season, had his latest say in the title race, Jonjo Shelvey matched the quality of De Bruyne's intervention with a stunning leveller two minutes from time.

Guardiola saw his side embark on a 14-match winning run after a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle in January that appeared terminal to their hopes of retaining the title.

After falling 11 points behind Jurgen Klopp's men - 2-1 winners over Brighton and Hove Albion despite having Alisson sent off - the City boss does not believe contemplating similar heroics should be at the forefront of his players' minds as they turn towards a week featuring games against Burnley and Manchester United.

"It's not the time. We have another opponent in front of us," he said when asked about City's fading prospects of a third title in a row at the post-match news conference.

"We now have to try and win games, win games and see what happens.

"It's not a good idea to think about the Premier League and how many points. We have to win games. If we do not win, it will be more difficult.

"Last season [against Newcastle] we played bad. Today I think we did everything to win the game and that is the truth.

"We played on a good level, defending, set pieces and everything. We moved the ball well, we found the spaces outside and we arrived in front of the goal many, many times.

"Unfortunately, we could not score [enough to win]."

Having two leads cancelled out swiftly represented a new frailty for a City side that has looked increasingly vulnerable over recent weeks, but Guardiola was keen to credit Newcastle.

"It's better to score one, take time and score the second one. But they play," he said.

"In one situation, they defend deep and make a good action; in the second one, Shelvey puts it in the corner."

Asked whether former Liverpool midfielder Shelvey had done his part in securing a first league title for 30 years on Merseyside, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce replied: "I don't know about that!

"I do know it's his second goal in [four] games and, very quietly over the last few weeks, I've been very, very pleased with Jonjo.

"He's responded to what we want to do, and we all know he's got that ability in his locker."

Conor Hourihane and Anwar El Ghazi scored first-half goals to end Aston Villa's three-match losing run in the Premier League, as they beat Newcastle United 2-0 on Steve Bruce's return to Villa Park.

Bruce was sacked by Villa in October 2018, just over four months after losing the Championship play-off final, and he had little to celebrate in Monday's clash.

Martin Dubravka produced a fingertip save to keep out Douglas Luiz's 25-yard drive but was beaten by Hourihane, the midfielder whipping a free-kick around the wall and into the net.

Villa quickly added a second through El Ghazi, who turned in Hourihane's set-piece delivery from close range for his third league goal of the season, though only after a VAR check for offside.

Allan Saint-Maximin, Isaac Hayden and substitute Andy Carroll all tested Tom Heaton in the second half but Newcastle, who had won back-to-back matches ahead of the trip to the Midlands, could not find a way through.

A first home league win in seven attempts against Newcastle lifts Villa up to 15th, just below their opponents.

Martin Dubravka has signed a new six-year deal with Newcastle United, the Premier League side have confirmed.

The 30-year-old joined Newcastle on a permanent deal from Sparta Prague in May 2018 after impressing during an initial loan spell in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign.

Dubravka has been an ever-present in the Premier League since his debut, making 59 top-flight appearances for Newcastle, including nine starts and three clean sheets this term.

European giants Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus had been linked with the Slovakia international, but he subsequently claimed to be "close" to extending his Newcastle contract.

Dubravka has now put pen to paper on a deal that keeps him at St James' Park until 2025 and said: "It is an amazing feeling. 

"I have to say that it feels like time has flown. It's been almost two years and I've found great people here who I can call friends. I've enjoyed my time here and I'm very glad that I can stay here for another six years."

Head coach Steve Bruce added: "I'm really, really pleased that Martin has committed his future to the club.

"He's been absolutely fantastic since the day he arrived and he's a hugely important figure for us both on the pitch and in the dressing room."

Newcastle are 18th in the Premier League after winning just two of their opening nine matches, with Wolves up next at home on Sunday.

Could we have seen a potentially decisive weekend in the Premier League title race?

Liverpool opened an eight-point lead over Manchester City at the summit as James Milner's last-gasp penalty secured a precious 2-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday.

The Reds moved eight points clear with the last-gasp triumph – and City were unable to cut into it as they slipped to a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves on Sunday.

As for Manchester United, their torrid recent form continued with a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United, while struggling Tottenham were on the end of a resounding 3-0 loss at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the big stories of this weekend's top games.

 

REDS LEAVE IT LATE TO MAINTAIN PERFECT START

Victory over Leicester means Liverpool have now won their past 17 Premier League games, just one short of Manchester City's top-flight record of 18.

They have also become just the seventh side in history to win each of their opening eight matches in an English top-flight season.

The Reds forged ahead through Sadio Mane's 50th league goal for the club in what was his 100th appearance in the competition for Jurgen Klopp's side.

James Maddison gave the Foxes hope of a point, though, with their first and only shot on target.

However, Milner stepped up deep into added time to seal yet another win for the hosts. It marked the 34th time they have scored a winning goal in a Premier League match in or after the 90th minute, which is at least nine more than any other team

TRAORE DOUBLE DOWNS INSIPID CITY

City were failed to respond to Liverpool's victory, slipping to just a fourth home league defeat in 61 matches under Pep Guardiola.

It was the first time they have lost a Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium without scoring since March 2016, when they were beaten 1-0 by neighbours Manchester United.

Wolves were indebted to a superb double from Adama Traore inside the final 10 minutes to claim their second league win of the season. Remarkably, he had failed to score in his previous 32 Premier League matches.

The result marked the first time Wolves have beaten City away from home in a top-flight fixture since December 1979.

LONGSTAFF PILES MISERY ON SOLSKJAER

United's woeful start to the season reached a new low on Sunday. The sorry defeat at Newcastle means they have won a mere nine points from their opening eight games – their lowest total at this stage since the 1989-90 campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's beleaguered squad are now winless in their last eight away league games – their longest such run in the top flight since September 1989, when they went 11 games without victory.

Under-pressure Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, meanwhile, can celebrate after registering his first ever win as a manager against the club he served as a player, doing so at the 23rd attempt.

Victory came courtesy of Matty Longstaff's drilled effort 18 minutes from time, the 19-year-old becoming the youngest player to score on his Premier League debut for Newcastle.

SEAGULLS SWOOP TO TAKE ADVANTAGE

Tottenham's defeat at Brighton means they have now lost 17 games in all competitions in 2019 – more than any other top-flight side.

Brighton went ahead after just three minutes, Neal Maupay nodding in after Hugo Lloris fumbled a cross - injuring himself in the process. Only Asmir Begovic (21) has made more errors leading to goals than Lloris (18) in the Premier League since his debut in the competition in October 2012.

Nineteen-year-old Aaron Connolly then added two more either side of the interval to seal a memorable win for the hosts. The Irishman is the first teenager to start a Premier League game for Brighton and also the first to score in the league for the Seagulls since Jake Forster-Caskey in April 2014.

The win equalled Brighton's biggest margin of victory in a top-flight game and meant they scored more than once in a league home game for the first time in 16 matches.

Steve Bruce has backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to "turn it around" at Manchester United following Sunday's 1-0 loss to Newcastle United.

Matty Longstaff scored the only goal of the game to inflict a third defeat on Solskjaer's men in their last six Premier League matches, leaving them 12th in the table.

The Red Devils are winless in their last eight away league matches – their longest such run since September 1989 – and have won only three of their 11 games in all competitions this season excluding the penalty shoot-out defeat of Rochdale in the EFL Cup.

United were without a number of key men at St James' Park, including Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and former United defender Bruce is expecting Solskjaer to get the club back on track once they return to fitness.

"They've got horrific injury problems and until they get them all back, the Premier League can be unforgiving," he said at his post-match news conference. "They've got a lot of injury problems but I'm sure Ole will turn it around.

"I can understand – I've seen the difference in my team when two or three players have got back fit."

While more questions will be asked of Solskjaer's suitability for the United job following his side's latest abject performance, Sunday's victory relieves some of the growing pressure on opposite number Bruce.

Bruce registered his first win over United as a manager at the 23rd attempt and felt the victory was a perfect response to those who this week questioned his tactical nous.

"I don't think you can manage 400 games in the Premier League, 550 in the Championship, play 980 times and not be a little bit organised," he said. 

"So, people say if you're not good enough, that's fine. But to be critical of tactics, this that and the other, is always the thing that bares with me more than anything."

Bruce handed Longstaff his Premier League debut and the young midfielder responded with the winning strike 18 minutes from time.

"It's quite fantastic to see, isn't it? A local kid, playing alongside his brother – and what a goal," Bruce said. "To score on your debut like that against Man United – come on, it's quite fantastic for the kid. 

"It's quite ironic – Matty has beaten them in his first game and I've been going 20-odd years! I'm delighted for everybody concerned and the response is the great thing."

Steve Bruce's wait for a win over Manchester United is finally over, with Matty Longstaff's debut goal seeing Newcastle United down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side on Sunday.

Bruce – in charge for his 400th game as a manager in the Premier League, making him just the seventh coach to reach that milestone - secured his first ever league victory over the Red Devils at the 23rd attempt.

Longstaff, who hit the crossbar in the first half, hammered home in the 72nd minute at St James' Park as the visitors' run without an away win in the league stretched to eight games, their longest such streak in the top flight since September 1989.

The teenage midfielder's strike saw him become the youngest player to score for the club on his Premier League debut at 19 years and 199 days.

Defeat leaves United with nine points from their opening eight games - their worst start to a league campaign in 30 years. Indeed, since Solskjaer was appointed permanently on March 28, his side have taken just 17 points in 16 matches, the fourth-worst tally among the 17 ever-present teams in that time.

A year to the day since their stunning 3-2 comeback at home to Newcastle United eased the pressure on then-boss Jose Mourinho, Manchester United continued what appears to be a slow, painful march into mediocrity against the same opposition on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer initially sparked a turnaround in United's fortunes as he lifted the gloom around Old Trafford, breathing life into the club following the end of Mourinho's reign.

Since March's VAR-assisted comeback win at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, though, United have been abysmal and Solskjaer's days appear increasingly numbered. Perhaps only a lack of viable alternatives is keeping him in the job.

There are extenuating circumstances. At St James' Park there was no Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly, all injured.

With so many regulars missing most teams would struggle, but United's lack of squad depth is of their own making. They failed to sign any attacking reinforcements after allowing both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to join Inter, a decision signed off by Solskjaer.

Of those players remaining, Marcus Rashford's confidence has never looked lower, the initial spark provided by Wales winger Daniel James has fizzled out and David de Gea no longer looks among the world's best goalkeepers.

Few Premier League teams would find any use for Fred, a below-average midfielder who only gets selected as an alternative to the static Nemanja Matic. Andreas Pereira's inability to provide little creativity whatsoever is partly due to being fielded on the wing rather than his preferred central position, but mostly because the Brazilian seems out of his depth at this level. Juan Mata, despite a continued sureness of touch, ceased to be an elite playmaker several years ago. To describe Scott McTominay as an enigma would be kind.

At Newcastle, against a team hammered and humiliated by Leicester City last time out, Solskjaer's side created almost nothing from open play – they managed three shots on target – although how Harry Maguire failed to convert Ashley Young's corner when given a free header from five yards out will forever be a mystery.

There was no surprise when Newcastle, whose under-fire boss Steve Bruce was marking his 400th Premier League game as a manager, broke the deadlock in the rain 72 minutes in.

Matty Longstaff rattled the crossbar in the first half, Miguel Almiron wasted two clear sights of goal and Andy Carroll headed an inviting centre wide before De Gea was finally beaten from outside the box.

Longstaff, making his Premier League debut alongside older brother Sean in the Newcastle midfield, then sent a true drive fizzing into the net, much to the delight of the home fans.

Beating United is no longer that special, though. This season they have already lost to Crystal Palace and West Ham in the league. They needed penalties to get past Rochdale in the EFL Cup. Ex-United centre-back Bruce had overseen 22 matches against United without recording a single victory.

Newcastle moving out of the bottom three will buy Bruce some much-needed goodwill and time, which are both rapidly running out for Solskjaer. Top four? They're not even in the top half of the table.

Former England manager Sam Allardyce says he is ready to return to the dugout despite rejecting Newcastle United.

Allardyce claims he was approached by the Magpies after Rafael Benitez opted not to renew his contract at the club.

Steve Bruce later left Sheffield Wednesday for the role, with Allardyce unwilling to take on a second spell at Newcastle.

But the 64-year-old, out of work since departing Everton in May 2018, indicated he is willing to consider a comeback.

"It didn't happen last season which was my first year out of professional football for the first time since I was 15," Allardyce told Sky Sports.

"It was a bit strange just watching all the games but I found it to be very interesting in seeing how I feel about the game and how I would feel about what I would do if I got back in – you have plenty of time to get ready if you do want to get back into the game."

Bruce led Newcastle to an eye-catching win at Tottenham prior to the international break and Allardyce feels he was the right man for the job.

"Newcastle wasn't for me," Allardyce told Sky Sports. "I was very chuffed that Mike [Ashley, Newcastle chairman] considered me again but I felt that Brucey was a better fit than me and good luck to him.

"It is his dream move to manage his hometown club and I wish him well. It was the only thing that came up this summer."

Allardyce's former clubs include Crystal Palace, Sunderland, West Ham and Bolton Wanderers, while his brief spell in charge at St James' Park lasted from May 2007 until January the following year.

Garry Monk has been named the new manager of Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls have been seeking a new boss since Steve Bruce controversially left to take charge of Premier League side Newcastle United in July.

Caretaker manager Lee Bullen made his case for the job with three wins from their first four Championship games this term.

But Wednesday have opted for 40-year-old Monk, having previously been linked with Lincoln City's Danny Cowley and ex-Stoke City boss Tony Pulis.

Former Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough manager Monk was sacked by Birmingham City in June.

 

Newcastle United winger Matt Ritchie has been ruled out for at least two months with ankle ligament damage following a "horror challenge" from Leicester City's Hamza Choudhury.

Ritchie required stitches after being forced off the pitch during the first half of Newcastle's penalty shoot-out defeat to Leicester in the EFL Cup second round on Wednesday.

United boss Steve Bruce criticised Choudhury for the nature of the challenge and said he expects to be without versatile wideman Ritchie until October - though he feared the lay-off would be longer.

"It's bad news - it's two months. The kid is in a mess," he said at Friday's news conference.

"It could have been worse, six months, but it was one of those horror challenges.

"What was disappointing is the ref was very close to it.

"I hope [Choudhury] learns from it - he is a good player. Matt is angry but he will get over it and start working."

Bruce also confirmed Allan Saint-Maximin is out for up to five weeks with a hamstring injury, while Emil Krafth, Jetro Willems and Miguel Almiron are doubts for Saturday's Premier League clash with Watford.

Chelsea and Manchester City enjoyed successful away trips in gameweek three of the Premier League season, with the Blues turning to youth for inspiration while the champions were inspired by longstanding heroes.

A transfer ban has forced Frank Lampard to rely on a batch of talented Chelsea youngsters as he looks to make a positive start to life as a Premier League manager, and some of his hottest prospects showed more than just potential on their trip to Norwich City.

While Chelsea picked up a first league win of the season and Manchester City took three points from their trip to Bournemouth, it is Liverpool who remain the top flight's pace-setters after they brushed Arsenal aside at Anfield.

With the help of Opta's stats, take a deep dive into the weekend's biggest stories.

 

ABRAHAM AT THE DOUBLE FOR LAMPARD'S YOUNG BLUES

Lampard fielded Chelsea's youngest Premier League side for 25 years at Carrow Road, where Tammy Abraham scored twice in a 3-2 victory.

With the likes of Abraham, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic in the side, the Blues' average age was just 24 years and 208 days, making it the most youthful Chelsea team to play a Premier League game since February 1994 against Oldham (average age: 24y 190d).

Abraham, who has scored more league goals since the start of last season (28) than any other English player in the top two divisions, became the third youngest player to score a double for Chelsea in the Premier League - after Mark Nicholls in January 1998 and Eddie Newton in December 1992.

Mount also found the net, scoring for the second game running, and the last time Chelsea had two English players under the age of 21 score in the same Premier League match was back in August 1992 (Newton and Graham Stuart against Sheffield Wednesday).

SILVA SHINES ON LANDMARK APPEARANCE

Manchester City saw off Bournemouth 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium to make it nine top-flight wins out of nine in this fixture - the best 100 per cent win record by a team over an opponent in top-flight history.

Kevin De Bruyne set up the first of Sergio Aguero's two goals on the south coast to register his 50th Premier League assist in his 123rd appearance, reaching that milestone figure in fewer games than any other player in the competition's history.

Argentina international Aguero's second came 19 minutes into the second half and was his 400th career goal for club and country, with 235 of those coming for City.

The match was also a special occasion for David Silva, who marked his 400th appearance for City with a couple of assists of his own. The Spanish midfielder has assisted more than once in 14 separate Premier League games - only Ryan Giggs and Cesc Fabregas have done so more often (17 games).

Harry Wilson's sublime free-kick late in the first half to make it 2-1 saw him become the youngest player, at 22 years and 156 days, to score in his first two Premier League appearances since Anthony Martial in September 2015 (19 years, 289 days).

SALAH STILL DEADLY AS LIVERPOOL STREAK CONTINUES

Liverpool won for the 12th league game running with a 3-1 victory over Arsenal - their best streak in the Premier League and their joint-best ever in all league competition, equalling the record set under Kenny Dalglish in 1990.

Mohamed Salah scored a second-half double at Anfield and has now been directly involved in more Premier League goals against Arsenal than he has any other side - six goals and two assists, including a goal in all four of his home games against them.

The first of Salah's goals came via the penalty spot after he was pulled back by David Luiz inside the box. Arsenal have given away eight Premier League penalties since the start of last season - only Brighton and Hove Albion with 10 have faced more.

It was a familiar story for Arsenal in many ways as they have now failed to win any of their last 23 away league games against fellow 'big six' sides, conceding 53 goals and keeping just one clean sheet during that run.

The performance of Nicolas Pepe on his full debut did give Arsenal supporters something to take away from the game, however, with the club-record signing becoming the first player to successfully dribble past Virgil van Dijk in the Liverpool defender's last 50 league appearances.

JOELINTON HELPS MAGPIES END 'BIG SIX' HOODOO

Newcastle United got their first Premier League win under Steve Bruce thanks to Joelinton's first-half winner against Tottenham, and drew a line under a long-standing struggle on the road against the division's top sides.

Prior to Sunday's result, Newcastle had not beaten one of the Premier League's 'big six' in an away fixture since a 2-1 victory in December 2015 - also against Tottenham.

The game was disappointing for Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who saw his side suffer their first league defeat of the season in his 500th match as a manager in all competitions and his first defeat against Newcastle since May 2016 (a 5-1 loss).

It was a different story for Bruce, who recorded his first away victory as a manager against Spurs in the Premier League, and became the sixth boss in the competition's history to win a match with five or more different teams after Alan Pardew (5), Harry Redknapp (5), Mark Hughes (6), Roy Hodgson (5) and Sam Allardyce (7).

Mauricio Pochettino bristled at being asked if Chrstian Eriksen has played his last game for Tottenham after he was named on the bench for their 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United.

Denmark international Eriksen had asked to leave the club during the close-season amid reported interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid.

The former Ajax playmaker was not included in the starting XI on Sunday, coming on in the 62nd minute as Joelinton condemned Spurs to a frustrating home loss.

Speaking in his post-match media conference, Pochettino said: "I don't know [if Eriksen has played his last game].

"Why do you ask me? Do you know something? It is so difficult the situation."

Pressed on why he did not pick Eriksen, Pochettino replied: "I can only pick 11. I understand the question. If we win 3-0 or 4-0 then these questions aren't asked."

Tottenham were denied a late penalty as referee Mike Dean rejected claims when Jamaal Lascelles fell in his own area and took Harry Kane with him.

VAR backed up Dean's decision, with the technology having rescued Spurs in their 2-2 draw against Manchester City last time out.

Asked about the incident, Pochettino added: "I am going to have the chance now to see it, but I trust and am fully committed to the VAR.

"When it's for us I'm more than happy and when it's not for us I will respect it, but nothing to complain about."

The win for Newcastle marked Steve Bruce's first as boss. He faced intense criticism of his organisational skills in the wake of successive defeats to Arsenal and Norwich City, with former Magpies striker Michael Chopra claiming senior players had told him some members of the squad do not know their jobs.

In a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Bruce said: "It's really embarrassing some of the stuff, the only way you can respond to it is by your team putting in a performance like that. The discipline, the shape, the organisation was there for everybody to see. 

"I've managed 900 and odd games over 20 years; you think there would be some sort of little bit of respect. Whoever was going to replace Rafa [Benitez] was going to have a tough time, the easiest thing would be to have said no to the challenge.

"I'm determined to take the club forward and days like today, your first win, you remember it for a long time."

Steve Bruce claimed his first win as Newcastle United boss as Joelinton's maiden Premier League goal earned a 1-0 triumph at Tottenham.

Bruce had seen his side slip to a 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal and a tame 3-1 loss to Norwich City in his opening two matches since taking charge.

Those setbacks only served to deepen the gloom that followed Rafael Benitez's departure, but Newcastle produced a superb away performance as Spurs suffered an early slip up in the 2019-20 season.

Tottenham were behind for much of their opening 3-1 win over Aston Villa but were unable to produce a similar turnaround this time, though the hosts were controversially denied a penalty after Jamaal Lascelles appeared to impede Harry Kane.

Newcastle were dealt an early blow when Allan Saint-Maximin limped off with a hamstring injury while wastefully running the ball out of play in a free-kick routine.

The visitors were then fortunate not to concede a penalty when Fabian Schar appeared to bring down the returning Son Heung-min.

However, Tottenham's defence failed to heed the warning of Sean Longstaff forcing Hugo Lloris to tip over, allowing Joelinton too much space to collect a Christian Atsu cross as Newcastle's record signing confidently fired in from close range.

Son stung the palms of Martin Dubravka with a half-volley and then dragged another effort wide before Lucas Moura miskicked a chance to equalise with the goal at his mercy.

A last-ditch tackle from Schar prevented Erik Lamela from levelling from Son's deflected effort and Spurs were apoplectic when Lascelles fell to the ground and took Kane with him, only for referee Mike Dean to reject shouts for a penalty and have VAR back him up.

Lucas and Kane both spurned glorious late opportunities for Tottenham as Newcastle held on for a result that should serve as a much-needed morale boost.

Steve Bruce suggested "there's always a storm" at Newcastle United as he responded angrily to suggestions his players do not know their roles.

Bruce was appointed as Newcastle's new head coach heading into the season, replacing the popular Rafael Benitez, and has endured a tough start.

The Magpies were beaten by Arsenal on the opening weekend following confusion over a second-half substitution, while they were completely outplayed in a humbling defeat at Norwich City.

Heading into a match against Tottenham, for which Newcastle will have £40million striker Joelinton fit, Bruce told a news conference: "After two games, there's a so-called mini-crisis and all the rest of it.

"That is over-sensationalised. Everything seems to be that way. But look, I understand that, it's the nature of the club - it always has been. There's always a storm in Newcastle and, at the minute, we're in one.

"The only way we can do it is to get a couple of results and the team to perform. After two games, it's very, very early to judge just yet."

Criticism of Bruce built this week as former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra claimed he had been told "some of the players don't know their jobs".

Meanwhile, defender Paul Dummett had to clarify on Twitter that issues with the warm-up at Norwich were "about us as players and as a team, not the coaching staff".

Bruce has been frustrated by the scrutiny, and said: "The Chopra thing was blown out of all proportion.

"It's laughable, really, for the people in the dressing room and my staff. Some of this stuff is just nonsense, but obviously it gets mentioned regularly."

Bruce said many of the claims made about Newcastle have been "fabricated and lies", adding: "When it's like that, you think, 'Why is that making national headlines?'.

"For the past four or five weeks, it's been relentless - let's make no mistake about it - but I've grown accustomed to it and if I can protect the players then I will.

"Ultimately, it's always my responsibility. I'm the one who sits here, I'm the one who talks to [the media], I'm the one who picks the team.

"No formation, no tactics, substitutions wrong? It's the whole thing at the minute. We can't even take a warm-up?

"Some of it is a bit laughable, but you just have to try to get through it and keep your dignity and make sure you're strong enough to see it through."

Unai Emery concedes Arsenal "struggled" in their 1-0 win over Newcastle United but felt a collective team effort led to an ultimately deserved three points.

Arsenal came away from St James' Park with a slender victory on Sunday thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's strike just before the hour mark.

Aubameyang made the most of some slack defending from Newcastle to score what proved to be the winning goal in a game of few clear-cut chances.

After equalling last season's away clean sheets tally in their first match of the 2019-20 campaign, Emery targeted more shutouts if Arsenal are to improve on their fifth-place finish from last time out.

"I want to win. I want to score and I want to keep a clean sheet," he said at his post-match news conference. "Today we won and we did that. 

"I think we created chances and we need also to create chances for our strikers and today with Auba we won. 

"We want to start defending with Aubameyang and we want to start attacking with Bernd Leno. I think every player worked very well today. Aubameyang scored, but I think it was because every player worked together.

"Our idea is to continue being one team, mostly offensive. But we need to also take the balance defensively. To win away we know is difficult in each match. Today we struggled but we deserved it."

Arsenal started without any of their new signings, with deadline-day arrival David Luiz remaining on the bench for the full 90 minutes.

Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli made their debuts as second-half subs, though, and Emery said he intends to integrate them all into the first team.

"David Luiz did pre-season with another team and he is okay to play physically but he only trained completely with us yesterday," he said. 

"Pepe came one week ago and physically he needs to get his best fitness to be ready to play 100 per cent for 90 minutes. I think that today 20 minutes is good for him. 

"And Ceballos is in the middle because he came before Pepe but he got an injury and he stopped training. But he needs to know the Premier League, so today was important for him and for us."

Arsenal's winning goal came after a mistake from loanee Jetro Willems, who hesitated on the ball and allowed Ainsley Maitland-Niles to charge forward and play in Aubameyang.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce was disappointed that the lapse resulted proved decisive in his first competitive match in charge of his boyhood club.

"It's the manner of it," he told reporters. "We gave a sloppy goal away. If Arsenal open you up, you can applaud the opposition but to give away a bad goal is frustrating.

"We defended fantastically well through the game - I don't remember my goalkeeper making a mistake. We left ourselves open and got punished."

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