Eddie Howe led his players over to the packed away end at the Emirates at full-time to applaud those 3,000 Newcastle United supporters who battled Storm Arwen and major travel disruption to somehow make it to the capital in time.

Howe told the club's in-house media team that he was 'so sorry' that his side could not deliver the result the 'absolutely amazing' travelling support deserved after his side's 2-0 defeat against Arsenal left the winless Magpies rooted to the foot of the table.

It was a result that won't have come as a surprise to anyone - Newcastle have won just one of their last 19 games against Arsenal, after all - but it was yet another reminder of how fragile the black-and-whites are at the back as Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli fired the Gunners to a comfortable victory.

READ MORE: Staveley hears Arsenal taunt, Newcastle transfer concern and Lascelles' desperation - 5 things

Mike Ashley may be long gone, but the Newcastle owner has left behind an imbalanced, aging squad that needs reinforcing in 2022. Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Jamie Reuben, who were all watching on from the directors' box, will have long realised that.

Although Newcastle spent £25m on Joe Willock last summer, the former Arsenal midfielder was the club's only signing at a time when several areas needed strengthening.

Rather than upgrading certain positions, contracts were handed to a number of veterans in the final years of the Ashley era in what felt like a make-do solution. Indeed, you have to go back to 2018 for the last time Newcastle signed a centre-back as other positions had to be prioritised. Even then, Fabian Schar was a snip.

That is what makes January such a crucial period to try and finally address some of those weaknesses, but Newcastle have to pick up points in the next seven games between now and the window opening to not only have a chance of attracting worthwhile signings but, also, of staying up full stop.

However, while the current crop may be lacking in confidence, there is no doubting that they care. Callum Wilson, for one, pointed out that when he was relegated with Bournemouth, in 2020, 'you could see signs' with 'people being negative' and 'little groups starting to form', but the Newcastle striker insisted 'there's nothing like that here'. When asked how worried he was, Martin Dubravka stressed he did not believe 'anyone in that dressing room thinks that way'. Similarly, Jonjo Shelvey vowed 'we've got enough in that dressing room to get us out of the problem we're in'.

These Newcastle players have been through sticky spells before, of course, but they are going to have to defy the odds now. Only one side, Derby County, in 2001, has ever failed to win any of their opening 13 Premier League games and managed to stay up.

Newcastle players applaud the fans
Newcastle players applaud the fans

Picking up points in games like Saturday's may soon become a necessity and it is important to stress that Newcastle did make a decent start against Arsenal.

The Magpies were content to let Arsenal dominate possession and attempted to frustrate the hosts by getting every man behind the ball whenever the Gunners crossed the halfway line.

Whenever Newcastle won back possession in the opening stages, the visitors looked to hit a ball over the top to try and send Callum Wilson clear.

It was the sort of tactic we have seen Newcastle use under different guises at the Emirates before and, for all the possession Arsenal had, the Gunners had to be a bit clever to try and breach Newcastle's rigid defensive shape.

It said it all that Martin Dubravka's first save of note was from a free-kick as the Newcastle goalkeeper pushed Martin Odegaard's effort away in the 20th minute.

Dubravka brought a much-needed calmness between the sticks on his first appearance since May and gave Newcastle the platform to ask one or two questions of an Arsenal defence that conceded four goals at Liverpool last time out.

Indeed, on the half-hour mark, Ryan Fraser's cross was cleared only as far as the unmarked Jonjo Shelvey and the midfielder let fly from 25 yards.

Shelvey's sweetly-hit effort looked destined for the net, but in-form goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale managed to tip the ball onto the crossbar.

Just as Newcastle players visibly grew in confidence after that chance, Arsenal supporters got a little frustrated as the visitors held firm at the back.

Dubravka made a remarkable save to keep out Emile Smith Rowe's header in the 40th minute before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, somehow, hit the outside of the post with the goal gaping on the follow up.

Newcastle went into half-time goalless for just the fourth time in the league this season, but a different Arsenal side emerged after the break after Arteta told his players: 'Don't let them frustrate you'.

Arsenal upped the tempo and intensity - targeting full-backs Matt Ritchie and Emil Krafth, who were both on a yellow card, and the Gunners soon broke the deadlock in the 56th minute.

No other side have conceded more goals in the Premier League this season than Newcastle and the Magpies just do not look capable of keeping a clean sheet as the manner of the visitors' defending in the build-up to Bukayo Saka's opener will tell you.

It was a slick move - Arsenal threaded 16 passes together in the build-up - but Newcastle were so easily taken apart as Saka ghosted past Emil Krafth and lashed the ball past Dubravka. It said it all that Lascelles desperately appealed for offside rather than smelling the danger in the first place.

Newcastle had twice come from behind against Brentford a week previously, but doing so against fifth-place Arsenal was a different challenge altogether and the clinical hosts soon doubled their advantage.

Callum Wilson had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Stuart Attwell midway through the second half and, with that incident still on the minds of some Newcastle players, substitute Gabriel Martinelli made it 2-0 less than a minute later.

Newcastle's defending again left a lot to be desired as Ritchie was drawn to the ball and Takehiro Tomiyasu's scooped cross was met by Martinelli, who finished expertly on the volley.

Howe immediately threw on both Jacob Murphy and Miguel Almiron in an effort to try and get back in the game and the Newcastle head coach will at least have been encouraged by how the Magpies kept going and did not throw the towel in.

However, it is going to take so much more to ultimately stay up - starting with a win against Norwich City on Tuesday night.

We want to hear your thoughts, so LOG INand leave your comment below.