Eddie Howe was dissatisfied with a taste of his own medicine as Newcastle were beaten at their own time-wasting game in the 2-0 defeat at home to Arsenal.
Newcastle suffered only their second home loss of the Premier League season as a Martin Odegaard strike in the first half was followed by Fabian Schar’s own goal after the break.
The Magpies had chances but were ultimately hoist by their own sh*thousing petard as Arsenal managed the game impeccably.
While Jacob Murphy and Alexander Isak both hit the post in between a fine Aaron Ramsdale save from Schar and Granit Xhaka’s goal-saving block on Joe Willock, Arsenal could have scored more and were, in the words of Odegaard, more able to be “smart” and “ugly” when necessary.
Howe saw it differently, blaming referee Chris Kavanagh for allowing the game to run as it did, which he perceived to be in favour of the visitors.
“It was frustrating from our perspective. We wanted the ball the play, we wanted to find our rhythm. It was very stop-start,” the Newcastle manager said.
“That was suiting, of course, the away team. As the home team, you want the ball in play, so it was frustrating in that sense for us, definitely.
“They managed the game well from their perspective. They slowed it down, lots of breaks in play, frustrating for us. Naturally we wanted the ball in play more especially when you are chasing the game.
“But we have to look at what we can control. We can’t control that, that’s the referee’s job. What we can control is our ability to take our chances, and possibly defend better than we did today.”
The comments come in unsurprisingly stark contrast to what Howe said after Arsenal complained about their antics following a goalless draw at the Emirates in January.
“We are not here to be popular and to get other teams to like us,” he pointed out. “We are here to compete and to compete, we have to give everything to try and get a positive result.”
When asked whether his side had purposefully wasted time at any point, Arteta simply replied: “For sure, our team is not like that.
“I don’t even want to get close to that conversation with the game we had to play today. We have done what we had to do to win the game and I am very happy with that.”