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Ball in play time during Arsenal vs Newcastle United shows why World Cup added time was perfect

Ryan Sidle

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Ball in play time during Arsenal vs Newcastle United shows why World Cup added time was perfect

Arsenal and Newcastle United played out a 0-0 draw in a hugely important game at the top of the Premier League table, but fans would have seen a lot more football if it had been a World Cup game.

Back in the summer when the fixture computer pulled out Arsenal and Newcastle to face each in January, no one would have imagined how significant to the top of the table it could be.

The Gunners were not fancied by any one to be title chasers, having finished fifth last season, and Eddie Howe's side were not in many people's lists to finish in the top four, even if improvement could have been expected.

However Manchester City's draw with Everton at the weekend, thanks to Demarai Gray's excellent goal, left Mikel Arteta's team seven points clear at the top of the table, with Newcastle just two points behind the defending champions in third.

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Unfortunately for the neutral, neither side could make the breakthrough and the game finished 0-0, which didn't help either of them.

But it wasn't the neutrals who actually suffered the most from the game, but those in attendance, who didn't get to see much action at all.

There may have been 23 shots but, according to the stats, the ball only remained in play for 51 minutes and 23 seconds, just over half a match.

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There was nine minutes added on in injury time across the two halves but it paled in comparison to the kind of time added on last month during the World Cup.

Fans watching the tournament in Qatar got used to about 10 minutes being added on at times, especially early on, as officials tried to cut down on the amount of time wasted during the match.

Arsenal players weren't happy with Andrew Madley. Image: Alamy
Arsenal players weren't happy with Andrew Madley. Image: Alamy

"I was at the game tonight and would like half my money back as I watched one half of football," one fan said on social media.

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"Maybe they should start doing what they did in the World Cup and adding on every second for stoppages, teams might actually stop time wasting and slowing the game down," another added.

A third fan wanted to implement rugby's timing of games, saying, "Just do the same as rugby and stop the clock when the ball goes out of play, hardly rocket science is it!"

Another seconded the motion, replying, "Been saying it for ages!! Make the game 30 - 35 minutes per half and stop the clock when the ball is dead. Can’t time waste then."

However, one Arsenal fan thought it wouldn't have mattered how long the match lasted, opining, "Probably could’ve played for 4317 minutes and still would’ve been 0-0, just one of those days I’m afraid! Officiating was amateur at best though."

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Arteta wasn't happy with the officials either. Image: Alamy
Arteta wasn't happy with the officials either. Image: Alamy

The game wasn't without its action and it especially came to life towards the end, with Arsenal adamant that they should have won two penalties.

Arteta was apoplectic with rage after Andrew Madley failed to point to the spot when Granit Xhaka's cross hit Jacob Murphy arm in the box.

The manager was even less happy when Dan Burn pulled on Gabriel's shirt in the box late on, with the Arsenal defender going to ground, but it wasn't given as a foul.

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Gabriel took to social media to show how unhappy he was that a penalty wasn't given.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Arsenal, Premier League, Newcastle United, Football World Cup

Ryan Sidle
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