Thursday, May 30, 2024

Arteta: Onus on referees to protect players

After the 1-0 win over Aston Villa, much was said about Bukayo Saka’s post-game comments in which explained a conversation he’d had with referee Andy Madley following a challenge from Tyrone Mings which left him writhing in pain.

The 20 year old explained, “I wasn’t complaining but I wanted to let him know that that’s my game, I’m going to run at players and sometimes I need more protection when players are purposefully trying to kick me.

“That’s all I was letting him know.”

It prompted a response from Steven Gerrard which was so antiquated it would have its own pen at Jurassic Park, as the Villa boss said, “I’m sitting here now with screws in my hips, I’ve had about 16 operations, I’m struggling to go to the gym at the moment.

“That’s all on the back of earning a living in English football. He’ll learn and he’ll learn quick.”

The topic resurfaced at Arteta’s press conference on Thursday, and while the Arsenal boss backed his player, he refused to get into a war of words, insisting that it’s up the officials to protect players via their refereeing.

“I think Bukayo said he was not going to complain,” said Arteta, “but he wanted some consistency in the refereeing.

“The only person who can protect the players is the referee because he guides the level of the game and the level of the contact and physicality that is allowed or not allowed in a football match.

“I think we have to protect our best players and that’s in the hands of the referee, that’s all.”

Arteta was confident that Saka would be available for the trip to Crystal Palace, saying the player was ‘feeling good’ after his bout of Covid-19.

In the game at home earlier in the season, the winger was booted by James McArthur, who only received a yellow card. Let’s hope there’s nothing like that at Selhurst Park on Monday.

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ts always us. That was criminal basically.

Billy bob

Gerrard is such an a-hole and moron, doesn’t the fact that he is well and truly screwed tell him that his words are beyond stupid? Shouldn’t expect anything else from a guy with screws in his hip and screws missing elsewhere!!! Cretin!!!


The referees ARE consistant. But they’re consistantly bad.

Mayor McCheese

“Anus on referees.”



That foul gets more ridiculous everytime you see it.


That’s a clear cut case of assault TBH.




How can you say ‘I’m sitting here now with screws in my hips, I’ve had about 16 operations, I’m struggling to go to the gym at the moment.’ and not say that players should be protected from people hacking them down?

I thought Gerrard was intelligent, not any more…


And how that isn’t a red card for James McArthur I have no idea… No attempt to go for the ball at all and the only possibility was injuring Bukayo.

We need to have retrospective punishments for stuff like that (or a VAR system that works).

Pete Plum

In Gerrards day rotational fouling was regarded as cheating and it still is today. Up to the ref to stop it, was then, still is now


I like the fact that the coach and the players of our beloved team are being bold enough to talk about needing protection from the refs!

The refs are not pressed enough, if they don’t protect arsenal players more, I am afraid we might soon see another Ramsey or Eduardo scene and that will be so bad!

So Arteta should call for more protection from the Refs with every opportunity he gets


We do need protection FROM the refs!

John C

I have to disagree with the premise that it’s the referee’s job to protect players from bad tackle as they only intervene after the deed is done.

We only have to hear Gerrard’s comments after our last match to see where the instructions are coming from and where cultural change needs to take place.

I think instead of blaming the refs Arteta had a good opportunity to call out Gerrards backward comments and try and get the refs onside, as at the end of the day referees don’t make tackles, other players do.


I have to suspect that playing more matches with ten men and suffering more squad selection problems with banned players would be more likely to focus the minds of Neanderthals like Gerrard than any high – minded lecturing would.

John C

I don’t think it’s lecturing, it just very rare that a manager says anything as moronic as Gerrard did.

I think there was an opportunity to say something along the lines of, “I know the refs have a very difficult job but it’s made more difficult with attitudes articulated by Gerrard last week”

We’ve tried the “we need more protection from refs” angle for the last 15 years and it’s still happening, it rare that you get the opportunity to highlight the role other managers and players have to play too.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

i have to disagree with your statement that it isn’t the job of referees to protect players. Saka is talking about intentional fouls that are deliberate and not just a hard tackle. It is the very essence of a referees job to call intentional fouls every time he sees one to provide an equitable contest. Referees control the game and the level of aggression. Players find out very quick what they can and cannot get away with. Sake’s point was the refs are allowing players to intentionally foul him with little to no consequences. Players in the league understand this… Read more »

John C

The club has been complaining about the level of aggression the opposition has gotten away with for the best part of 15-20 years and refereeing attitudes towards us have if anything hardened. We’re just viewed as whingers. I just think Arteta had an opportunity to pally up to the referees instead of trying to pressurise them, which as i said is an approach that has proven to be unsuccessful. It’s regularly noted on here that some players, particularly English ones have very different, and by that i mean more friendly, relationships with referees and often get more favourable treatment as… Read more »

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