Eddie Howe responds to Arsenal anger about Newcastle United tactics following Leeds United ‘time-wasting’ claim
Three days after Newcastle United threw everything at Leeds United at St James’s Park, Eddie Howe’s side had to deal with everything thrown at them by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
The Premier League leaders dominated last night’s game, but, ultimately, they were frustrated by their visitors, who had Nick Pope to thank for two saves.
“I was very pleased with our defensive effort,” said Howe. “We were very resilient, and defended very, very well as a collective, all the way through.”
The result ended an awful run of 11 successive defeats at the Emirates Stadium for third-placed Newcastle.
While United spent much of the game on the back foot, they still rattled Arsenal, who had two penalty appeals turned down.
Home fans were angered by what they felt was time-wasting by Howe’s side. There were several stoppages as Mikel Arteta’s team attempted to force a breakthrough.
Howe had spoken about Leeds using the same tactic after last week’s fixture at St James’s Park.
Speaking after the New Year’s Eve game, Newcastle’s head coach said: “It's a sign of how far we have come that they were time-wasting and doing everything they could to take time out of the game.”
That quote was seized upon by Liverpool fans, who recalled a stop-start game at Anfield in August which was ultimately decided in the home team’s favour by a 98th-minute goal from Fabio Carvalho.
Asked about boos from Liverpool fans after that game, Howe had said: “My ideal is that we’re booed off every week when we go to away grounds, because you don’t want to be popular.
"We’re here to win, we’re here to compete – and we’ll do whatever it takes to try and win.”
On this occasion Howe hadn’t criticised the approach of Leeds, only pointed to it as evidence of the stride’s the club has taken this season.
Arteta was first to appear in the media auditorium at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal’s manager spoke of two “scandalous” penalty decisions – and refused to talk about a touchline confrontation with Howe.
Howe – who rarely gets involved in dugout exchanges with opposition managers – was also asked about the incident after an Arsenal penalty appeal was waved away late in the game by referee Andrew Madley.
“I’ve got no issue (with Arteta) at all,” said Howe. “Mikel’s a top manager – and a top coach. I think he’s done an incredible job here. There were no issues between us.”
Howe was then asked if his team had deliberately attempted to “rile” Arsenal.
“Not at all,” said the 44-year-old. “I think both teams were the same. I don’t think it was any intention from us to do that.
“I think there’s moments in the game where you want to slow the game down, and moments in the game where you want to speed it up. I felt we were very good with our game management. I think you have to be against a team like Arsenal.”
The return fixture at St James’s Park in May could be quite a game.