After Newcastle’s latest impressive defensive performance came up just short thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s deflected winner on Saturday, the display taught us a few more things about Steve McClaren’s new-look Magpies. Aleksandar Mitrovic is a marked man From the moment referee Andre Marriner booked Moussa Sissoko in the third minute, you feared for Mitrovic. The fiery Serb has had an ill-disciplined start to his Newcastle career; picking up two bookings in his first two games and with Marriner setting his stall out early, the former Anderlecht striker was always in danger of finding trouble. Having said that, the 20-year-old was hugely unlucky to be sent off for a challenge you see all over the pitch on a weekly basis. Francis Coquelin’s disgusting collapse and squeal combination played a part in Marriner brandishing the red card instead of the more deserving yellow but it’s Mitrovic’s “bad boy” image that will see him in trouble on a regular basis for the rest of the season. His lunge at Matt Targett after three seconds of coming on for his debut certainly deserved a card but from the minute he made contact, referees have gone looking for him whenever they can. Against Swansea he was booked for standing his ground as Neil Taylor mouthed off at him and had it been Santi Cazorla (whose reaction to the red card said it all, by the way) made the kind of challenge Mitrovic did, it would have been a yellow at most. It’s all well and good producing statistics like “3 games, 2 yellows, 1 red and 0 shots on target” and calling him a liability but the fact is Mitrovic has looked like the striker Newcastle have needed for some years. Someone who will provide a presence alone up front and get us up the pitch when we are under pressure and score goals when given the service from the likes of Gini Wijnaldum and Florian Thauvin. For the rest of the season though, Mitrovic will have to learn to stay out of trouble with the referees if he is to endear himself to both the Newcastle fans and the FA. Newcastle have learned how to defend Even with ten men, Arsenal – arguably the best passing team in the Premier League – struggled to break down a stubborn Newcastle defence. Chancel Mbemba was excellent again alongside Fabricio Coloccini, who was desperately unlucky to deflect Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shot into the far corner. Massadio Haidara is improving after a slow start to the season and despite the lack of height at centre-back, the organisation that dogged last season seems to have returned. Mbemba’s performance was again of the highest standard. His lunge to thwart Theo Walcott’s attempted tap-in was straight out of the top drawer and his 70-yard burst forward from defence at the end of the first half made him even more popular amongst the St James’ Park crowd. The atmosphere has returned When Mitrovic was sent off, it’s fair to say it angered the locals. The toxic atmosphere that plagued last season has certainly disappeared and the only toxicity that was on show was aimed squarely at Andre Marriner. The team were roared on whenever they soaked up the Arsenal pressure and cleared their lines and erupted when Sissoko and Mbemba went the extra mile for their side. The encouraging atmosphere definitely had an effect on the players, too. Arsenal were getting frustrated at the stubbornness of Newcastle’s defence and were certainly relieved when Coloccini’s touch flew past Tim Krul into the far corner. Against a lesser team, the positivity of the crowd would certainly have spurred Newcastle into getting something from the game and with an easier run of fixtures approaching; the crowd could play a part in Steve McClaren’s debut season being deemed a success.