Mikel Arteta has insisted his Arsenal side are not time-wasters after they ran down the clock in a 2-0 win against Newcastle United.
Title-chasing Arsenal showed both sides of their game at St James’ Park on Sunday as the Gunners became just the second visiting team to win at the stadium in the last year. Aaron Ramsdale set the tone for a stop-start game by taking his time with, literally, his first goal kick on an afternoon a whopping 11 minutes of stoppage time were added on in both halves combined.
Once Martin Odegaard put Arsenal in front, before the quarter hour mark, the visitors slowed the game down even further at various points, whether it was the Gunners skipper holding onto the ball when Newcastle were awarded a free-kick at one stage or Granit Xhaka repeatedly going down without a replacement ever being summoned. Even after Fabian Schar put through his own net late on, to double Arsenal’s advantage, Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka both walked slowly off the field when the pair were taken off.
Arsenal, in the process, gave Newcastle a taste of their own medicine after the Magpies upset Arteta’s side’s rhythm in the reverse fixture at the Emirates back in January and the Gunners boss acknowledged that ‘game management against them is something that is huge with the way they play’. However, when asked if his team were guilty of time-wasting, Arteta offered a clipped response.
“For sure, our team is not like that,” the Spaniard told reporters.
When pressed on Xhaka repeatedly going down, Arteta added: “I don’t even want to get close to that conversation with the game we had to play.”
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