Monday, March 20, 2023

“I’ll only be satisfied if they give me two points back” – Arteta furious despite VAR apology

Mikel Arteta says it’s unacceptable that Arsenal were denied a win against Brentford after official Lee Mason failed to check an offside in the build-up to Ivan Toney’s 74th-minute equaliser. 

While the PGMOL and Premier League later accepted a mistake had been made and offered their apologies to the Gunners, it’s clear the Spaniard continues to be fuelled by a sense of injustice. No doubt it’s being driven by second-place Manchester City later closing the gap on his table-topping side to just three points before the two sides meet on Wednesday. 

Speaking ahead of the showdown at the Emirates, Arteta was asked a number of questions about the VAR cock-up and whether he’s convinced lessons will be learned from the situation. 

Here’s a transcript of his answers…

On the news that VAR made a mistake in the Brentford game…

We ended the game after analysing all the evidence that we had on the images with a huge anger and disappointment because that wasn’t a human error…it was a big, big, big, not conceiving or understanding your job. That’s not acceptable. I’m sorry. That cost Arsenal two points and that’s not going to be restored. We’re going to have to find those two points somewhere else in the league. At the same time, we appreciate the apology, we appreciate the explanation which were really open, to be fair. And we got a lot of sympathy from a lot of colleagues in the industry, football, who are saying we cannot play with the integrity of the game in the way that we do. And that’s it. We have to move on. That certainly has made the players, staff and the fans even stronger and with more desire to pass this hurdle that they put in front of us. We are ready for it. 

On whether he’s satisfied that it won’t happen again…

I will only be satisfied if they give me the two points back which is not going to be the case. I appreciate…and I think they were really sincere, open and genuine, the apologies and explanation, which is really good. But it doesn’t hide the fact that we have two less points than we should in the table. 

On it not being right that such a mistake can happen when he and his team work so hard…

No, but look, listen, everybody makes errors and mistakes and we are part of that, me the first one, for sure, in our job. But that was something else. That’s why I wasn’t having it. The club wasn’t having it and it’s clear the consequences of what happened. 

On other teams suffering at the hands of the VAR at the weekend and whether the system is fit for purpose at the moment…

When I see the reaction, for example, that Howard Webb, the PGMOL and the Premier League had, and again how genuine it was, that anger and as well that they want to do the best and that they know the standards and everything that is at stake, I think at the end it will help. Hopefully, we can use that to make the game better and have more integrity and have better professionals and pay attention to details that matter because at the end of the day, it has a significant output on results. 

On using the situation to galvanise the squad…

That was the reaction straight away from everybody. We cannot do anything about it. Don’t use it as an excuse. Try to move on. Face it. And go for it. That’s it.

On semi-automatic offside not being used by the Premier League…

I don’t know, that will come. There are many discussions around it, we started the season in a way and maybe in the summer there will be changes, I don’t know what the plans are for that. 

On Lee Mason’s punishment being to miss games…

I don’t know, it’s not for me to judge. This is not about someone making a mistake and let’s crucify them. It’s not about that. It’s about trying to do the best that we can all together to have a fairer sport and make the decisions simpler or clearer and the communication better. Hopefully, that will be helped because of what happened last weekend. 

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Let’s upset everyone by beating Man City tomorrow and the rest is history!


Can we just play the last minutes from the mistake and onwards?
Same players same subs etc

Runcorn Gooner

Just come out and say what you think Mikel and a lot of AFC have always thought. Lee Mason from Manchester is biased against us and will bend the rules against us.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

That or he’s slipping quid in his pockets. One or the other, no one is that bad at their job. He has 6 VAR errors this season. Who stays employed after 6 major cock ups at work? Would love to see a different approach from PGMOL than circling the wagons but I’m not holding my breath. They more that corruption seeps into the game from entitled billionaires, Citeh and Chelsea, the less interested people will be in a “fixed” league. This is why the other PL owners are going after City, they are damaging the product.

The Surry Hills Gooner

You can’t do same players etc due to injuries, but there is precedent for portions of matches being replayed.

So you play 14 minutes starting with an Arsenal free kick for offside.

What’s really troubling is this same official cost us a goal, which the PGMOL admitted earlier this season. How was he ever appointed to be put in a position to do it to us again. This to me is the most troubling aspect… then he does it.


The other thing I’d like to see them put a stop to is all the play acting, time wasting and other cheating in games like Newcastle which is also costing us points

I accept that teams are going to try to do that against us and it’s part of the game but I was watching some of it back the other day and they really took the piss

They could soon put a stop to it or reduce it if they actually wanted to


they could relegate newcastle, that would make me happy enough


Let’s not get on our high horse too much.
Yes its annoying, but I was cheering every time Ramsdale did similar when we were holding on against Leeds a couple of months ago. We’re a good team and so we’ll face it more than most, but everyone does it.


I get why people do it against us and the rules allow it, but maybe they shouldn’t allow it.

Some teams take it to a different level.

It doesn’t exactly enhance the spectacle does it. I don’t want to watch it for 90 minutes.

Boy Bastin

Yes, there’s a growing trend in comments of a “holier than thou” attitude. Arsenal aren’t squeaky clean, no team is and it’s pretty daft to pretend we are.

Ödegårds Magnifika Fot

I for one despise it whoever does it. I’m not saying the keeper needs to stand up and start play straight away – but there’s got to be a limit on how long and the referees should do a better job upholding that limit. Diving for example. I absolutely hate it. I want Arsenal to be classy and show a high level of sportmanship. That does not mean don’t go in hard in tackles. You can be classy and play tough too. It is a contact sport and jostling for control of ball or space is a given. But simulating… Read more »


Diving is a shit act. But equally as shit is when a team gets a breakaway and suddenly someone drops to the floor holding thier head so the ref has to stop the game due to the obvious concerns. 30 seconds later he is up and running around and his team has reset with everyone behind the ball and there goes the attacks chance of a breakaway. I loath that, I think that it needs to be on the chopping block as well.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

If they go down holding their head it’s an automatic 5 minutes on the bench with a concussion protocol sub coming on for that five minutes. The game still stops but the player play acting will have to come off. Slight advantage to the team w the ball for the next 5 minutes, maybe. No easy solution to keep the game going if someone has legit head injury.

Runcorn Gooner

You are right but we are just as bad. Some form of clock stoppage has to be introduced to add the real time lost. 6 minutes extra at Everton during which they caused a rumpus to use up the time.


We are but we are on the receiving end a lot more than we are dishing it out, particularly recently.

Reminds me of the bad old days of teams like Stoke ‘getting in people’s faces’, kicking lumps out of people, breaking their legs etc.

It’s part of the game, doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Clock stoppage is an obvious solution, at least to part of it. Maybe some punishments for unsporting behaviour. Doesn’t seem like rocket science.


Totally. make the game time shorter, but any stoppages stop the clock. They do it in American sports and works. As long as they don’t go too far and start introducing half time shows and cheerleaders. I’m golden.


The point is that it’s not just time-wasting, that can be added back, it’s a means of breaking up attacking impetus and time add-on cannot replicate that.
Refs have been given too much H&S of Players to consider just in case it’s a serious injury; they really need to use a bit of nouse to identify fake/petty injuries.


There would be ways to stop or reduce it. Nobody is trying.

If somebody goes down holding their head and they are obviously faking give them a three match retrospective ban for example. It’s all there on video. It’s just irritating.

Ödegårds Magnifika Fot

They should play 90 min effective time. Out off bounds, fouls, etc every time play stops, the referee stops the clock.


It would have to be ~60 mins effective time, which is about what they play now. If you increase it and make it 150% of what they play now, that has huge knock-on effects for fitness, conditioning etc., even with five subs.


You’d be there at gone midnight if it was an evening match against some teams, it can’t work. Just apply the rules and yellow card any player that throws himself to the ground holding his head or ankle when nothing has happened to him. It’d soon stop. But then it would harm the “plucky little underdogs” that have been hacking and spoiling away against teams that actually want to play football, so it’s unlikely to happen.


Time wasting needs to be clamped on sharpish and yes we are bad for it, but it would make a pleasant change if we were not the team that they make an example of.


It’s good, but these are more subjective things. There was an objective offside that was easy to deal with, and it wasn’t dealt with.


amazing as well how quickly the media narrative turned from ‘the pgmol are incompetent’ to ‘grassroots refs are under assault’
if refs at the top level were doing their jobs properly we wouldn’t notice them, or even know their names.
also why isn’t lee mason fired yet for gross incompetence? if webb is truly interested in reform and transparency, he’d sack mason. that he hasn’t taken definitive action and is instead giving half assed apologies and excuses for the man leads me to believe he’s part of the problem here.


There is a woke directive in the media who try to find a victim in every story. Except Arsenal, we’re never allowed to be seen as the victims.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Cops always circle the wagons don’t they, first instinct.


“Sorry, we messed up! Like genuinely sorry – all better now! Move on or we’ll fine you!” FA in a fucking nutshell right there. Again, it’s just covering up bias at best and corruption at worst. It’s not a fucking mistake. The guy is sitting there in a room of television screens he has seen three incidents in that action with a Bees player offside at each point. It’s not a fucking mistake. It’s bent. At minimum there should be three neutral adjudicators that are the VAR for each game. They vote on each action. Every vote should be 3-0,… Read more »

Teryima Adi

There is no way Lee Mason forgot to draw those lines. He chose not to- two different things.

Holdings New Merkin

Maybe they shouldn’t have refs in there but fully certified tech professionals.

Create a learning path for VAR. Simple as. Get a certification scheme in there where people not only learn the laws of the game but the technology itself.
Also the catchment area of referees needs to be bigger than Manchester. Make it worldwide and pay them a couple mill a year.


I’m sure ChatGPT would do a better job than Lee Mason – well maybe not better for the FA’s agenda.


AI isn’t the solution either as its 1.) usually made so poorly because its done as cheaply as possible 2.) usually proprietary technology and therefore the code itself is not transparent, and 3.) implemented by self-interested parties.

what should happen is reform to an open, transparent process where everyone understand what is happening and when, and then its double checked before a ruling is made on the field.


My tongue was firmly planted in my check with that one… or maybe more like joking…not joking…?


maybe refs aren’t required from outside the country, but certainly from different walks of life. i’m sick of seeing bald white guys from manchester ruining everyone’s weekends.


Agreed. A part-time gamer could work the tech better than a ref who’s too old to be on the pitch anymore.
I still worry that that the moment the ball was actually played gets less attention than the toe nail at the final kick. Had it completely left the boot?

Gaby! Gabi! Gabé!

In the NHL, video replays for all games are handled by a single command center in Toronto that has live feeds of every game that is happening and every camera angle. The people there remain nameless to the public, i.e., one referee isn’t specifically and publicly assigned to a game, so if there are any questions or difficulties, the experts there can consult with each other to make a quick and correct decision. Then when the call comes in from the “League Office” or just “The folks in Toronto”, the league puts its own reputation on the line, not just… Read more »


The fact there are examples like this already of how to do video properly only makes this stuff more infuriating eh. Good example. I also think of cricket, where the whole review process is transparent i.e. you can hear the third umpire commenting throughout the review so you know what the reasoning is. also it has a proper procedure that doesn’t allow mistakes like this, like for LBW decisions. check no ball first. check for bat through vision then through the snickometer. then do the ball flight that auto checks if pitching in line plus hitting the stumps. then have… Read more »


I have been enjoying what I can of the 6 nations Rugby. Its so good hearing referees and any discussions with the TMO, especially as I’m not such a regular watcher to fully understand the rules!
I do wonder if the players knowing refs are miked up and the world is listening does also cause them to watch their language/behaviour


LOVE that he’s coming out swinging & standing up for the club, rather than just meekly accepted the apology. He’s coming very close to saying out loud he thinks it’s beyond incompetence and somewhat fishy there too…

Santi’s Thigh Grab

He said it, he went beyond being very close and he’s not wrong and won’t get fined for saying it because of they way he said it. Big ups to the manager.


First of all, it’s good to see Arteta going in two-footed on match officials after we’ve just been robbed of crucial points (again). Secondly, there needs to be serious reform of some aspects of the game, including the introduction of a mechanism for goal’s to be chalked off if they have been incorrectly awarded by match officials. This chalking off could be done within 48 or 72 hours of a match ending, obviously using technology to do so. And if the chalking off of a goal changes the result or outcome of a match, then so be it. I have… Read more »

Scott P

As much as I feel aggrieved by the bad calls against us this season, what you propose is simply not a workable solution. The goal being given for Brentford means that they had the opportunity to sit off and manage the game strategically from that point forward. Under your idea, Brentford would have to consider the possibility that a goal gets chalked off after the fact and potentially go for a ‘second’ goal in order to get something out of the game. There would never be any real-time certainty of the game state. I get that the original decision was… Read more »


Match results are not going to be changed after a match has finished lol. it is insane that people are apparently sincerely suggesting this


Absolutely. The only workable rule would be that in such situations all or some of the game should be replayed

Boy Bastin

I fear we’ll all have to remain unsatisfied then as we all know there’s not a snowball in Hells chance of getting points or any other recompense for the Brentford “goal”.

Unfortunate and unfair though it is, we have to move on and concentrate 100% on tomorrow’s game or this will become a growing distraction for Arsenal that can only benefit City (as I’m sure Pep hopes it will).


We have to recognise that Citeh defeat at OT was also down to appalling interpretation of offside, now defunct.
I’m not saying it evens up over a season, but we’re not alone.

Boy Bastin

Some of us are in danger of thinking that it’s only Arsenal that suffers from bad decisions. While it doesn’t make them any less bad of course, we’re not unique in that respect as you say.

A Different George

It would be very educational for many supporters to read discussions by supporters of other clubs–or just talk to someone. Everybody–and I mean everybody–are convinced that referees (and the press) are consciously biased against them. We have too many crap officials. We have almost no transparency in understanding how decisions are made. There is no accountability for mistakes. No one is bent. Sorry.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

With so much money and with the amount of legal and illegal betting that occurs, it’s naive to think no one is bent in this game. What is bent is the FA does nothing to protect the sporting interests of the game. Why?


Most decisions from the Manchester referees benefit the Manchester clubs, in that instance the referee will always favour Manchester united, it’s been like that for decades. Which is why there need to be more referees, (we seem to get the same sorry bunch over and over again) they need to come from all over the country, and the VAR people need to be completely separate so they’re not looking after their mates.


So the Manchester referees favour Manchester United… and City? The same way London referees would all favour all of the London clubs equally? Did the Manchester referee mafia favour City when they were still shit?


Try reading before commenting.


I’d love for communications between the ref and VAR and conversation in the VAR room to be available, either in real-time or released uncensored after the game. I’m really interested in how Mason dealt with the issue of the goal and just how the blithering fuck he deemed 14 seconds and no lines as sufficient investigation to rule onside!

Ödegårds Magnifika Fot

*insert your choice of ringtone*
“Mum, I’m at work for Pete’s sake. I was at Harrod’s already. You’ll get your bloody bag don’t worry”
“Lee, is it offside or not?”
“Oh, um… hang on. Pinnock wasn’t so no”
“You sure? Did you draw the lines and check the others?”
“Of course mate!”

And here we are.

Naked Cygan

An apology is not good enough. They have to have the system in place to go back and take that goal away. They have given suspensions after a game is over, why not do it by taking goals away or add a goal of it was reviewed again? This is so fked up that we just have to take it on the chin.


In a sense this VAR debacle has helped Arteta in keeping scrutiny out the team performance. Forget the offside goal, Brentford could’ve easily been 2-0 up a HT.

We need to do better and nothing like a big game for binding back. This is a team that thrives on big games which is refreshing to see after what happened in the last decade.


*bouncing back

Aleksander Włodarz

What would you expect from Mason to be up to …?


There’s two parts to this. The error and the reaction by the pgmol. The error is totally unacceptable. We can’t do anything about it now. But the reaction by the pgmol says alot going forward of what they stand for. Masons actions cannot be explained and VAR and Pgmol are now in such a situation where they are exposed finally. One mistake in their response and it could bring a cascade of complaints their way. One more ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘forgetfulness’ and people will look for patterns. I hope it is the end of the pgmol. They really need to restart… Read more »


I believe the timing of the city case doesn’t give too much credence to the premier League as a true competition. I’m guessing this is where the true action will start with a review of the pgmol


Shove your 2 points up your arse-nal


Just to clarify that last post for those to young to remember 91….look up ’91 title triumph despite being docked 2 points


Adversity requires address, otherwise you succumb to it.
As to the VAR issue, it is a good thing, but the review should be made in consultation with the referee watching the monitor on the pitch and the dialogue and pictures broadcast live. Every second of every review to be added to the game clock.
Only complete transparency will suffice from now on.


Nice to hear the aggressive talk from Mik.

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