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‘A good performance’ – Newcastle boss Howe upbeat despite bottom side losing 2-0 to Arsenal

Newcastle United’s winless run goes on after they were beaten 2-0 by a comfortable Arsenal side at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon.

In a first-half largely dominated by the Gunners, Bukayo Saka went close after an excellent through ball from Albert Sambi Lokonga, while at the other end in-form England international Aaron Ramsdale tipped a Jonjo Shelvey stunner onto the crossbar.

The best opening of the half came just before half-time, however, as Emile Smith Rowe saw his close-range header beaten away by the returning Martin Dubravka, with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inexplicably striking the post on the rebound.

That miss would not prove costly, however, as the hosts deservedly took the lead after the break, the heavily involved Saka drilling home from the angle after some clever build-up play involving both Smith Rowe and Nuno Tavares.

A note of concern for manager Mikel Arteta will have been a potential injury to the goalscorer as he was forced off on the hour mark, albeit with his replacement Gabriel Martinelli making an almost instant impact with a lovely dinked volley over the onrushing Dubravka.

There was to be no Magpies fightback as they limped to yet another defeat to continue their winless run this season, while for the home side it ensures they are now level on points with fourth-placed West Ham United.

Speaking after the match, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe – who was in the dugout for the first time after missing last week’s draw with Brentford due to a positive Covid test – was upbeat about his side’s performance and was left ruing an overlooked penalty claim for Callum Wilson prior to the hosts’ second.

“I thought it was a good performance, especially the start. We were good for the first half an hour. We came under pressure,” Howe told BT Sport.

”The game was decided in the incident with Callum Wilson and the penalty – a tough call against us – then they scored in the aftermath.

“I don’t know why Callum would go down – he was one on one, a great chance. Games swing on those moments. It feels like those big calls have gone against us.

“Great save [from Aaron Ramsdale to deny Jonjo Shelvey]. I thought it was in. The pleasing thing today is how we started and finished the game. We created chances. Ramsdale has played well. We weren’t clinical but at least we were creating chances.

“The players have been very responsive. They have given everything in the two games. I can’t ask more than their best.

“We just have to look at the first one [game against Norwich]. Momentum in football is so important. We need to get that win as quickly as we can.

“It is great to be back. You don’t enjoy losing. Managing and being out there in action is what it’s all about.”

Newcastle are back in action at home to fellow strugglers Norwich City on Tuesday, before taking on Burnley at St James’ Park next Saturday.

Read – Remembering the XI that featured in Fergie’s 1,500th and final game as Man United manager

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