Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe believes that Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz was “lucky” not to be sent off during Saturday’s Premier League clash at St James’ Park.
The German lunged at Sean Longstaff during the first half of the Magpies‘ 1-0 win, missing the ball and catching the opponent with his trailing leg.
Referee Stuart Attwell booked Havertz for the foul as tempers flared in the aftermath of the incident, as Anthony Gordon, Longstaff and Fabian Schar were shown yellow cards for dissent.
“We were close to the incident, I thought it was high and potentially dangerous,” Howe told Sky Sports after the final whistle.
“He was lucky to get a yellow. There was a lot of yellow cards and I don’t think there needed to be – it wasn’t a dirty game but there were a few flash points.
“Keep 11 players on the pitch was the message at half time but not lose our fighting spirit and desire. We kept our heads really well in the game.”
Anthony Gordon scored the only goal of the game in the second half to inflict a first Premier League defeat of the season on Arsenal and reinforce Newcastle’s credentials as one of the top sides in the division.
“Massive win, full credit to players for what they gave today it was a battling performance,” Howe said. “Both sides good but maybe not in ways we’re both known, it was a midfield scrap, physical and a lot of duels, and thankfully we came out on top.
“Our open play shape defensively was good and has to be against Arsenal. We nullified them and didn’t give them clear cut chances. I always felt we were in the game the other way, we had to stay in the game and we did, and then got the goal.
“Maybe not the game we expected it to be in terms of style from both teams. Midfield battle was important, we had to try and stay in the game in that way and Joelinton was huge and all three midfielders really helped us.
“When you don’t concede you’re always in a game. It wasn’t the game we prepared for but you have to show different sides of your game to win and I think we have that in the group at the moment.”