Eddie Howe makes major Arsenal claim after Newcastle United’s defeat | Football

Kai Havertz struck in Arsenal’s 4-1 demolition of Newcastle United on Saturday (PA)

Eddie Howe believes Arsenal are one of the best teams Newcastle United have faced this season following his side’s 4-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening.

Mikel Arteta’s side delivered a dominant performance at the Emirates Stadium to remain two points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool and one off second-placed Manchester City, who sealed a 1-0 win over Bournemouth earlier on Saturday.

Sven Botman’s own goal and a close-range finish from Kai Havertz gave Arsenal a deserved lead by half time before Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior put the Gunners four ahead by the 69th minute.

Joe Willock found the net late on against his former club with an excellent header to provide a consolation goal for Newcastle, who have registered just four wins in their last 13 Premier League games.

When asked to give his verdict on Arsenal’s credentials in the Premier League title race, Howe told beIN Sports: ‘Off the back of today I have to say they’re right in it, the title race.

‘They’re definitely one of the best teams we’ve played this season.’

Newcastle United winger Anthony Gordon looks dejected as Kai Havertz celebrates scoring Arsenal's second goal with teammates

Newcastle have lost five out of their last 10 Premier League games (Reuters)

Howe also bemoaned Newcastle’s lack of consistency and revealed he is selecting players who are not fully fit due to the squad’s injury issues.

‘We’ll take a lot, I’m sure, because we’ll use all the lessons that we can learn from today in a positive way and try to make us better from it,’ Howe said.

‘It’s a difficult period for us. We’re inconsistent, you never quite know what you’re going to get, which is never a good thing from my perspective.

‘We did score a good goal at the end and we did show character in the second half but that first half was disappointing.

‘At the moment they are probably getting their fitness in the game which isn’t always ideal.

‘But I thought Alex [Isak] would be better for that 60 minutes, he needed it, we had to protect him and take him off.

‘We’re still playing players within that team who are not 100 per cent fit.’

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