Hughton heaps praise on Carroll

Newcastle manager Chris Hughton praised matchwinner Andy Carroll after his header saw off Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

The 21-year-old was in the headlines on the morning of this Premier League clash following fresh allegations about his private life.

However, any off-the-field issues involving Carroll – who last month pleaded guilty to common assault and was fined £1,000, and ordered to pay £2,500 compensation after an altercation with a man in a nightclub – were put aside this afternoon as the Magpies frontman headed home a deep free-kick into the Arsenal penalty area, which goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski should really have collected.

It was a robust display in front of watching England manager Fabio Capello, and added to those championing his inclusion in the forthcoming squad for the friendly against France at Wembley.

When asked if Hughton had any reservations about selecting Carroll given the headlines the team would have woken up to, the Newcastle manager insisted: "No.

"To come here and get the result we have, I think we deserve to talk about football matters."

Hughton continued: "I made a selection today based on the continuity we have had from the last couple of games.

"I decided to play two strikers and just felt the confidence they have got from that meant the same group of players deserved another go.

"Andy is mentally very strong. He is a player who is developing, apart from having a prowess in the air, he has given us a mobility which can stretch defenders.

"He has still got a long way to go. He is working hard on all aspects on his game and he is certainly going in the right direction.

"For me, being picked for Newcastle United is the most important. Anything which comes from that means he has earned it."

Newcastle broke up play well and were rewarded for a positive collective display which saw them have more possession than Arsenal and sees the Magpies move up into the top five on the back of a third successive league victory.

"It was a magnificent team effort. This is a very difficult place to come and get a result, let alone a victory," Hughton said.

"You have to be resilient as a team and the moments where we had to defend we did so very well, and you are just looking to get that breakaway.

"Luckily for us, Andy Carroll provided it."

The Newcastle boss added: "We have a team who are a very close-knit group, they work very well for each other and know where they want to be playing their football.

"Today’s performance showed what it meant to each and every one of them."

Hughton’s own future has yet to be resolved. However, the man who guided Newcastle up from the Championship at the first attempt maintained: "There is not anything I can do, all I can do is win as many football matches as I can."

Although Arsenal twice hit the woodwork through Cesc Fabregas’ deflected free-kick and an angled drive from Theo Walcott at the start of the second half, Arsene Wenger’s side were well below par.

A miserable afternoon was compounded by the dismissal of centre-back Laurent Koscielny in stoppage time for a professional foul as the Gunners suffered a second successive defeat, following their midweek Champions League loss away to Shakhtar Donetsk.

"We were never in full flow, but we played against a good Newcastle team who are a team of men, strong physically, mature," Wenger lamented.

"We did not look sharp and we never found any sharpness. We never found the second gear.

"Overall, though, I still believe we were very unlucky to lose the game, they had one shot on target.

"We hit the woodwork two or three times and their keeper made a very good save."

Wenger felt Fabianski could perhaps have done better at the goal.

"He didn’t have a lot to do today and I think he was a bit too confident to take this ball," Wenger said.

"It was not a technical mistake, it was a problem of timing and he thought maybe he wouldn’t be challenged."

Wenger revealed Arsenal may consider an appeal against Koscielny’s red card, the foul on substitute Nile Ranger coming near the touchline rather than in a central position.

The Gunners also lost at home to West Brom before the international break.

"Home form is a concern because against Birmingham and West Ham they were struggling wins," said Wenger, who admitted Robin van Persie was not really ready for a return to action after coming from the bench following his long injury lay-off.

"Everybody comes here and plays very tight. When you score the first goal it is all right because teams have to come out, but as long as they can sit deep we have a problem to play through when we are not on full power."

Wenger had also been in the media spotlight ahead of this fixture following allegations about his private life.

However, the Arsenal manager would not be drawn on the controversy.

"I arrived 14 years ago and you know what happened and I promised myself I would never comment any more, because for 14 years I have been insulted everywhere in England, and never with any truth," Wenger said.

"I promised myself I would never speak about my private life any more."