Mikel Arteta: Arsenal boss says it is his duty to defend the club after VAR controversy

7 November 2023 0 By Total Football News

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he has a duty to defend his club

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says it his “duty” to defend the club after he criticised the officiating in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle.

He said the decision to allow Anthony Gordon’s winner at St James’ Park was “embarrassing” and a “disgrace”.

Arsenal backed Arteta’s comments in a club statement, which was called “dangerous” by pundit Gary Neville.

“It is my duty to stand in front of you and give a clear and honest assessment,” Arteta said on Tuesday.

“My duty is to defend my players and my club in best possible way. It is what I intend to do time after time.

“I always do it and will take my responsibility to do it. It’s the way I am. I have to defend my club.”

The Football Association has written to Arteta and Arsenal to “seek their observations” about his comments.

Three areas around Gordon’s goal were checked by Saturday’s video assistant referee (VAR) – to see if the ball went out of play in the build-up, if there was a foul and if there was an offside – with all coming back in Newcastle’s favour.

Arsenal said the refereeing was “unacceptable”, adding players, coaches and supporters all “deserve better”.

“We have a duty to express how we feel on the evidence we have. We have to stand for our people, our values and who we are,” Arteta added on Tuesday.

“The club statement shows the unity and the understanding in the club in a clear and honest way. That’s our duty as a club.

“It is nothing special, nothing different. I would do it again and the club would do it again until this is right.”

Arteta has been criticised on social media, with some people comparing his response on Saturday to an answer he gave in October when asked about a VAR error in Tottenham’s win over Liverpool.

Liverpool said “sporting integrity had been undermined”after VAR failed to overturn an incorrect decision to disallow a Luis Diaz goal for offside with the match goalless. Tottenham subsequently won 2-1.

When asked about the incident at the time, Arteta said: “It’s something that we don’t have a say on, we don’t manage.

“I think they are trying to make the best decisions, they are trying to protect the game, they are trying to get as much support and be ruthless when they need to be.

“At some point as well we need to give support and understand that mistakes happen.

“We’ve made mistakes as well and if the pressure is so much then it’s very difficult to manage.”

The defeat at Newcastle ended Arsenal’s unbeaten Premier League start, leaving them fourth and three points behind leaders Manchester City.

The Gunners host Sevilla in Champions League Group B on Wednesday (20:00 GMT).