Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insists competition managers are behind him as he reiterated his views on referees and VAR after being sidelined at the weekend. Anthony Gordon scored the only goal of the game at St James’ Park on Saturday as the Gunners lost 1-0 to Newcastle in the Premier League. And Arteta was furious that Gordon’s goal was allowed to stand despite VAR checking three separate issues.
Before the goal came, Joe Willock was deemed to have held the ball in play under the corner flag before crossing the ball towards Joelinton. The Brazil international then appeared to pressure Arsenal defender Gabriel in the back as he rose above his teammates to direct the ball down to Gordon. And the England winger turned the ball in, with VAR ruling that it was not in an offside position.
Arteta called the decision to let the goal stand “disgraceful” and “embarrassing” after the final whistle. Arsenal then issued a statement on Sunday in support of their manager. And Arteta says it’s not just his employers who are supporting him.
“When we are in those [manager] meetings, when we’re all together, we all have the same feeling, that’s for sure,” said the Spaniard ahead of his side’s Champions League clash with Sevilla on Wednesday.
“Errors are part of evolution. The trajectory will never be like this (gesture straight up). There will always be bumps in the road and these things are necessary to improve the game in the right way.
“But we have to speak up. If you have a problem and you put it in your drawer, the problem is in the drawer and it will stink at some point. If you have a problem, let’s talk about it, try to improve it. That’s what we’re trying to do. Nothing else guys.”
The FA has sent a letter to Arteta and Arsenal seeking their views on the post-match comments and the club’s statement. The governing body could take action over “prolonged or particularly unreasonable” statements, which could result in a penalty.
Arteta was joined by Arsenal sporting director Edu and club director Tim Lewis for his pre-match press conference in a public show of unity. Discussing the club’s statement, Arteta added: “It was great from my point of view, I didn’t expect it. I said that it is my duty to stand in front of you guys and give my opinion and then the club has many options, and they decided to do that one.
“I appreciate it. I think the players did, everyone at the club did. It showed again that we are one and ready for anything that comes across to fight it in the best way possible.”
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