Mark Lawrenson accuses Newcastle United and Arsenal of ‘taking the fun out of football’

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The former Match of the Day pundit aimed a dig at his old club in a conversation on time-wasting.

Former Newcastle United coach Mark Lawrenson has accused the Magpies of ‘taking the fun out of football’ in the Premier League.

Eddie Howe’s side have been targeted by several managers for their alleged gamesmanship, with Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag making pointed accusations of time-wasting before the two sides met in the Carabao Cup Final earlier this season. The accusation was the source of a cheeky comeback from Magpies winger Jacob Murphy, who pointed to his wrist in the aftermath of his side’s 2-0 home win against the Red Devils two weeks ago.

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Ten Hag’s comments received a stronger rebuke from Howe in his post-match press conference, as the Magpies boss said: “I want to make one thing very clear. We want the ball in play. We play a quick game. I don’t get where this time-wasting nonsense has come from, because it’s not us.

“You saw today, we wanted the ball back in play as quickly as possible. We want to play with high energy and a high tempo. I’ll always stand up for my team and what I believe is right. If something is not accurate, then naturally you want to put the right point across. We want the ball in play – that’s the type of team we are.”

Despite Howe’s defence, former Match of the Day pundit Lawrenson believes named-checked Newcastle in a conversation on time-wasting that was provoked by an incident involving Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale during the first-half of his side’s 2-2 draw with Lawrenson’s former club Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

He told OTB Sports: “It’s very, very frustrating and it’s difficult for the referee because if all of a sudden they go down and stay down, then the ref has no other option. He might well say are you alright or whatever to the player who is injured and he will go I’ve done this. That’s crept into football, which takes some of the fun out of it. I’ll tell you who the worst are, I think, is Newcastle.

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“Newcastle do it all the time now so in regards to next season, not wanting to wish away this season, in regards to next season, I think the Premier League are going to have a look at his and maybe even say if you can walk, off you go and the game will go on. That will quickly stop it but it’s generally here all of the time now.”

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