Newcastle United got their 2019/20 season off to a bad start by losing 1-0 at home to Arsenal.
The Magpies were narrowly beaten by the Gunners on Sunday thanks to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal.
It was a spirited display from Newcastle, although there weren’t too many chances created by the hosts.
There were a couple of promising individual Magpies performances, with Miguel Almiron impressing and Allan Saint-Maximin looking lively when he came on.
Arguably the standout though was Isaac Hayden, whose stay at the club could prove to be huge.
Hayden had wanted to leave for family reasons last summer, and nothing had changed on that earlier this year.
The player was expected to depart this time around, but against the odds he is still a Newcastle player.
Little has been made of Newcastle keeping Hayden – certainly by neutrals – but it could be huge for them.
The combative star – who earns £22,000-a-week (Spotrac) – was one of the club’s best players last term, and against Arsenal he again showed his effectiveness in central midfield.
Hayden is by no means flashy but his workhorse nature is invaluable for a team that tends not to have the majority of possession.
And his influence on youngster Sean Longstaff was profound in 2018/19 and their partnership could be vital this term.