Michael Owen blasts ‘classless’ Arsenal after Newcastle controversy as £100m claim made over Villa target

Former Liverpool and England player Michael Owen, working for Amazon Prime TV, works on the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at Selhurst Park in south London on December 3, 2019. (Photo: GLYN KIRK)

Michael Owen has described Arsenal as ‘totally classless’ after they supported manager Mikel Arteta’s comments in the aftermath of Saturday’s defeat at Newcastle United.

The Gunners were condemned to a controversial defeat by a disputed goal from Anthony Gordon as the Magpies forward survived three separate VAR checks before being able to celebrate the only goal of the game. However, there were several other contentious decisions throughout a stormy 90 minutes at St James Park and that led Arteta to describe the calls as ‘embarrassing’ and ‘a disgrace’.

The Spaniard was backed by the club in a statement released on Sunday afternoon as the Gunners gave their ‘wholehearted support’ to their manager and called upon the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) to ‘address the standard of officiating’.

of Aston Villa gestures during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and West Ham United at Villa Park on October 22, 2023 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

That statement and Arteta’s actions in the aftermath of the game received a withering assessment from former Liverpool and England striker Owen and insisted both parties were guilty of ‘damaging the game’.

Speaking via his X (formerly Twitter) account, he said: “The Newcastle v Arsenal game yesterday was a brilliant watch. Two top teams going at it.

“The only (in his words) ‘embarrassing’ and ‘disgraceful’ thing about it was Arteta’s behaviour. A common occurrence that damages the game more than any incorrect decision. For his club to now release a statement moaning about the standard of officiating is poor and sadly for a team of Arsenal’s standing, totally classless.”

Gunners face ‘record fee’ to sign Aston Villa star

Former Scotland international Alan Hutton believes Arsenal will need to spend big if they want to secure a deal for long-term transfer target Douglas Luiz.

The Aston Villa midfielder has been in remarkable form this season by scoring six goals and providing one assist in 17 appearances in all competitions as Unai Emery’s side have made an impressive start to the campaign.

Arsenal were believed to have registered an interest in the Brazilian last January but Hutton insisted the Gunners would now have to part company with a fee in excess of £100m to sign Luiz.

He told Football Insider: “I think at this moment in time, with some of the market valuations, it would have to be over £50million. He’s at a great age, he’s been outstanding. He could probably play for most teams in the Premier League, with Manchester City being the strongest one.

“So there will obviously be people snooping about. He’s got a great goal-scoring record at Villa Park, you see what he gives you in dead-ball situations – penalties, corners, free kicks. I think he ticks all the boxes. I think we’re talking record fees here. Obviously, Jack Grealish’s the highest and he’s not going to reach that, but we’re talking record numbers here for a midfielder.

“Hopefully he doesn’t, he’s a massive part of what Villa do moving forward, but it would have to be a big number.”