Monday, July 15, 2024

Arteta: It’s my responsibility to speak up

Mikel Arteta insists he has no regrets about the way he called out perceived mistakes by the officials during Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle and says he and the club have a duty to speak up with the aim of helping the game and refereeing standards evolve.

The Spaniard couldn’t hide his fury on Saturday night after Anthony Gordon’s match-winning goal was allowed to stand at St James’ Park despite three separate incidents in the build-up being reviewed by VAR.

While Arteta’s meltdown and the supportive statement released by Arsenal 24 hours later have not gone down well with certain sections of the media, when he faced the press on Tuesday morning, he was unwilling to back down.

“It is my duty to stand in front of you, to stand in front of the cameras and give a very clear and honest assessment of what happens in the game,” he said.

“This is what I did, reflect very openly how I felt that the team played and how they game was conditioned by this result with the decisions that were made. It’s the duty, my duty is defending my players, supporting my players, supporting my club, defending my people in the best possible way and this is what I’m going to do time after time.

“I do it the way I feel with the evidence and being as clear as possible and I always do it. When we play brilliantly, to say that, when we have lost, to take my responsibility, the first one me to do it. It’s the way that I am and I have to defend my club.”

Arteta was then asked if he stands by previous comments where he stated that “mistakes are part of football”. He replied: “I stand for the same words that mistakes are part of football in any other way, and we are here to constructively improve the game in everything that we can, and this is what we have been doing.

“As a club, me the individual with my duty as a manager in the managers’ meeting, to give our opinion, our voices and to raise it in the most constructive ways together and [create] a better game, that’s all. That’s the only thing we are looking at collectively to achieve for everybody.”

Pressed again, he banged the same drum. “Errors are part of an evolution,” he continued.

“You know, the trajectory is never going to be like this [upwards]. There are always bumps along the road and maybe these things are very necessary to improve the game in the right way. And that’s it. But we have to talk loudly.

“You have a problem and you put it there in a drawer, the problem is that the drawer is going to stink at some moment. If we have a problem, let’s talk about it, let’s try to improve it and let’s try to in a very constructive way, try to improve it. That’s it. That’s what we are trying to do. Nothing else.”

Arteta also seemed to admit that his reaction was driven not just by Saturday’s officiating but by frustration at the way the officials had interpreted several other incidents in previous matches.

“Some things don’t happen overnight,” he admitted. “When it was that clear and I had all the evidence for the words that I used in the media, it’s because I feel strongly about them.”

He also stressed that while he has focused on the officiating in his press conference, in the dressing room he had a different message for his players.

“One thing is what I say externally, but internally to my players it’s about how can we play better, how can we be more dominant, how we can do the game the way we want to give no chance to the opponent.

“One thing is my duty towards you guys and then my duty as a coach to do what we have to do. This is exactly what I’ve done, nothing special, nothing different, and I would do it and the club would do it again and again until this is right. Until this is right, we have to be better on the pitch and win more football games. That’s it.”

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There’s a distinct difference between an error and incompetence, especially when the same people keep making the same mistakes every week. Yesterday’s pl game was another example of how pgmol are completely useless (happy invincibles day and lolspurs).


After all the time it took to come to obvious decisions last nigh a friend of mine told me how useless VAR technology was and we had to go back to the same argument we had when it had just come. Just because PGMOL has incompetent people doesn’t mean the technology is bad. I reminded him of the Newcastle game. The technology was showing the whole world that Bruno needed a red but only some people couldn’t see it. Even without lines you could see that the guys were offside, the ball was out of play, Gabriel was fouled and… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Just because PGMOL has incompetent people doesn’t mean the technology is bad”. You made an excellent point.

Mikels Arteta

The fact the has happened over and over again since VARs implementation, really makes me think that they use VAR as a way to keep games and the league ‘more entertaining’ by ignoring/allowing scandalous decisions to make games go down so the wire and the league overall.
VAR is beyond broken. If it was a vehicle, there’d be a manufacturers recall globally. That’s where we’re at with VAR


Ever since VAR came in, it has become clearer that PGMOL referees are not just making the best of a tough job, but are a combination of biased and incompetent, possibly corrupt. It has taken away the excuse of having seconds to make a decision and shown that even with the opportunity to slow things down, these referees are uninterested in fairness or consistency. If nothing else, that is a huge contribution of the technology, and it should stay.


Their long held resistance to bringing in the technology, and now these decisions that absolutely defy copious visual proof make for an awful lot to think about.

Chuck Felsea

100 % agreement. The fact that now they can’t even solve offsite situations anymore with their fancy lines worries me. Because in the past I thought that was the only thing that could be clearly corrected despite human incompetence and very dodgy human judgement, simply because the line shows the truth. But who says that the incompetent humans have to draw those lines? Wasn’t there even another game of us where they later said they “forgot” to draw the offside lines? When inevitably getting punished, Mikel should just make that statement. Sorry, I “forgot” that I shouldn’t criticise refs …… Read more »


Incompetence is too soft a word for what happened at Tyneside. The refs action was deliberate and even possibly premeditated. It was match-fixing plain and simple.
Incompetence is when you’re unable to take the right action not when you refuse to do so.

I miss santi cazorla

It was neither an error nor the incompetence but pure corruption.
How can we forget two red card worthy tackles by kovacic against us. Also PL referees go to middle east to ” train the local refrees” and get paid 5 times that of their yearly Premier League salary.

After the newcastle game, I ain’t watching English football anymore this season. Only the CL.


Because CL isn’t corrupt?!?


Bang on point here! It cannot be incompetence if it is getting the results desired by the owners of football – billionaire oil tycoons. PGMOL is using VAR to appease the people that own them. VAR has turned from a tool that should bring impartiality to a tool that allows even more control over results.

As Okster states though, you’re dreaming if you think these same greasy oil tycoons aren’t exerting the same pressures over the UEFA and FIFA – of course they are. Football is broken.

I miss santi cazorla

Stalin had said “It’s not important who people vote for but who counts the votes is!”

Emi Rates

Stalin would have loved the PGMOL. They’re right up his alley.

Cliff Bastin

Before VAR, I think it’s fair to say that most fans would see a replay of an incident and almost immediately conclude what should be the correct action by the referees. It didn’t take use 5 minutes or multiple reviews. The problem is not the technology.


Maybe the Prem could consider inviting foreign referees. It’s not like there’d be a language barrier and most of those guys are probably not supporters of English teams. There, problem solved.


I dont think that is the solution.
The referees here in Brazil are really really bad too.
Dont know about the other leagues, but judge by the fact that there were mafia problems in Italy, and now those problems in Spain, maybe all the referees are really incompetent


It has to be opened up to international refs. Not because they are better, but because it will break up the refs little clubhouse as it stands. Refs do these things because they’re “looking out for their mate”. Why does that happen? Because they’re all too close and know there’s no real accountability. Are var refs going to hold up horrible calls when they don’t know the guy making them? Much less likely. And bring in women refs too.


The refs in Spain were bought by Barcelona, that’s not incompetence, it’s corruption.

I miss santi cazorla

That red card for van persie. Had Arsenal won that match, history of the football could have taken a different turn as that was the closest Guardiola came to being knocked out of the CL that season.


Absolutely. Bring in foreign officials and they will be subject to the same pressures of corruption as the rest of the FA, PGMOL, and the EPL are. The game has been bought outright by dirty, greasy, blood-soaked, corrupt oil money; they don’t care about rules, they care about control and their interests.


Much as I like the idea of fighting for the club and all, I believe it’s time to pipe down and look forward.
Even if VAR is taken away, referees will still make mistakes.
I don’t think piling on and continuing the narrative of some sort of intentional bias is helpful here. I don’t care much for Postecoglu, but he does make a good point. Some decisions go your way, others don’t, but in all, the referee’s decision is final.
Anything outside that will put the game we love at risk


The problem isn’t the mistakes or the technology, the problem is the culture at pgmol that says its acceptable to be corrupt so long as it’s about protecting your work colleagues and maintaining access

Eric Blair

Easy for Postecoglu to say as he’s been on the receiving end of many generous decisions.

John C

Footballing decisions based on subjective interpretation of the rules is one thing, rewriting the rules like in the case of Guimaraes forearm smash on Jorginho is something else.

VAR is there to catch these types of events, if it doesn’t it brings the system into disrepute


Not just fouls, but literally rewriting the offside rule when it suits them (usually to cover for a ref who is too slow or way out of position during play… reminds me of Phil dowd, but with technology).


Fair enough. You have a better argument. I just don’t like the narrative of it being an anti-Arsenal problem when it happens across board.
It’s possible to be so good that even these decisions won’t derail us much.
Overall the VAR should be much better


saying that it wasn’t a foul, much less a red card because it was a forearm not an elbow is sending an open invitation to players to smash other players with their forearm with impunity


Hilarious. Who needs the rules of the game to be abided by and applied evenly and fairly, as dictated by the ethics of sport and competition, so long as we respect that the “decision” of the referee is authoritative. Though a forearm headshot is by definition violent conduct, the ref decided it wasn’t violent enough so play on. Hilarious!! I mean, the entire language around officiating in football is broken: one has to “accept” the “referee’s decision” rather than see the rules of the game applied and called fairly and correctly; one has to be “awarded” or to “earn” a… Read more »


Last nights game was one of the funniest games I’ve seen in years. 1 minute before kick off I was debating whether to watch those two shit teams but by god did it deliver.
On another note how good would xhaka suit the prem this year with the shit the PGMOL no longer consider red cards

Emi Rates

Be in no doubt. They’d bring out the red cards just for him.

John C

Whilst the goal was a subjective footballing decision, the Guimaraes forearm smash is where VAR rewrote the rules mid-match and was totally unacceptable.

I watched the game on Peacock, the US carrier and Tim Howard and Robbie Mustoe at both half time and full time were incredulous that Guimaraes stayed on the pitch for it. The British press and sky have all on the other hand glossed over it, the complicity in protecting the incompetence shows us what we’re up against. It’s a conspiracy of silence.


They want access to the celebrity refs for their show, which generates revenue. It’s access journalism typically reserved for political reporting (which I suppose it is now, considering who owns some of the teams and how reliant western countries are on their chief export)


Bruno’s is 100% violent conduct. That’s a red. Is the ball out? Probably, but not entirely conclusive – rule is the benefit of the doubt goes against Arsenal (see Martinelli having a goal ruled out because it couldn’t be conclusively ruled “on-side”). I won’t mention the Rashford one that the ball is far more in than this incident and it was ruled as being out. Joelinton’s push in the back is not subjective. That is 100% a foul. No goal, but wait…Gary Neville say it’s not a foul, so it’s not a foul, the VAR obviously got the message. The… Read more »

John C

And that’s another thing with the goal, it’s possible the ref thought the ball was out let the move play on, then if a goal was scored left VAR to confirm that the ball was indeed out.

However there doesn’t seem to be the protocol available for the ref to say to VAR, “I think the ball is out can you confirm it’s in?” As whilst you can’t conclusively prove the ball is out you also can’t prove it’s in. So VAR has just compounded an error not corrected it.


The main problem with VAR is that the standard of refereeing has been lowered due to them not willing to give decisions and let VAR help them out. The problem I have is that the consistency stinks, one week a ball is deemed out of play the next it’s deemed in. One week a shove with 2 hands in the back is a foul the next week it isnt. VAR in it’s current state is only useful for tight offsides and goal line technology, the rest of it should be left to the Referees on the pitch, some you get… Read more »


I disagree. The implementation of VAR has now provided many more data points for us to see how the injustices and biases of the previous eras are perpetrated today. In fact, blatant corruption should be more easily caught. The big caveat with that last point is if a whole clique of officials is on the take…


Two of the three decisions from the Newcastle game were down to insufficient evidence (i.e. not enough camera angles), which is a disgrace.
For the richest league in the world that’s easily sorted & is surely in everyone’s interest.


If your team is in the league you should have to have basic architecture in place to follow the regulations of the league, and if you cannot, the championship beckons.


It is the blatant foul out of the three issues that annoys me most. Couple that with former defenders Neville and Carragher not having an issue even though they would have screamed murder if it happened to them that still gets on my nerves.


They’re in on the act, man! They’re key players in selling these decisions to the public.


They don’t waste a chance to troll Arsenal either. If it were Stones in an England shirt, they’d see sense.


I wish arteta had remembered to say that a martinelli goal that they could not conclusively decide if it was offside was chalked off. Is it a new rule that if it’s not conclusive it’s now a goal.
And maybe managers should start asking live on air is it ok to hit with forearm now so we can portray it back to our players

Eric Blair

Strange to characterise what Arteta said as a ‘meltdown’, it was nothing of the kind.

Naked Cygan

Hey, how about we talk about the issue of our poor performance going forward against Newcastle. Stop deflecting with VAR. They will always screw us over anyway. How about us try to take some more shots? Let’s talk about that.


We were better than Newcastle until the officials decided the outcome.

Naked Cygan

Based on what 5600 side to side passes and 11 corners? Did we even make pope dive? Did you even watch the match. Yes, the officials fked us over, but even 0-0 was a poor result. We dropped 2 points at Chelsea now 3 at Newcastle. No one will remember your opinion that we played better in 3-5 years. The stats will say we lost. I know it’s easy to give a nice soft answer but reality is we were not good enough going forward. Don’t worry about getting up votes, watch the match and say the truth.


I like you; you are funny!


I’m just glad Sp*rs got thrashed to be honest. It’s extremely frustrating that everyone is praising their loss, though. So many sections of the media are bigging up their resilience. Like… dude… they had two players sent off for foul play and, if they were against a team that was half decent, would have conceded way more.

Meanwhile, we get borderline robbed and the media say that Mikel is ‘over-reacting’.

No agenda at all…

Billy Clark

‘stinky drawers’ — another metaphor for the collection! Thanks, Mikel! B–)

Jamie Ryan

It has to be said–Arteta overreacted. Yes, it was a terrible VAR mess and yes, it led to the only goal in a 1-0 defeat. Yet we all know that VAR decisions go for us sometimes and against us other times. Arteta could have made his point without the unprofessional, over-emotional outburst. This hyper-focus on winning–even to the extent of naming the dog “Win”–displays a weakness that has and will come to haunt us. Winners keep their cool in tense situations. They don’t lose control. They convey a sense of perspective so their team can move forward. Arteta does not… Read more »




Sometimes emotion is required to make a point, particularly if it’s a long standing issue that you may have been silent on before. Arteta’s comments should be taken as a rallying cry for clubs and fans alike, not dismissed as sour grapes, because if no one says anything, the status quo remains and those making routine errors are not held accountable the same way you or I would be in our professional lives.

Jamie Ryan

True, though if a “rallying cry” let’s hear all managers (not just our guy!) call out dodgy VAR decisions in our favour. Otherwise, it actually is “sour grapes”.

John C

VAR is there to remove the win some, lose some aspect of decision making.

VAR needs to be totally transparent, audible to the public and with clear protocols so the rules are applied evenly and consistently, instead of the completely arbitrarily way they are currently applied.

With a mic’d up ref player intimidation should also disappear over night with foul language and dissent actually punished


Based on the little rugby I’ve watched the system there makes far more sense. Leave it to the ref to ask a direct question and get a factual response – for everyone to hear – IMO would be100x better than this VAR fuck show. “Did the defender make contact like I think he did? – Yes. Done.”

How their current system can’t get offside – ball out of play – or obvious to the fucking letter violent conduct off the ball correct is anyones guess. Eyes covered with brown paper envelope guesses welcome…


Hilarious. I cannot believe what is written here: that a hyper-focus on winning is somehow a weakness at a club like Arsenal? This is patently absurd. And funny. Arteta kept his cool just fine when we won the FA Cup. But seriously, Ferguson, Mourinho, Wenger, Pep, Klopp — these are PL winners and not one of them keeps his cool when it come to incompetent officials. Please. How are we supposed to win the title when the margins for error at the top are so slim, when we go up against a club with 115 standing charges of cheating against… Read more »

Michael Anderson

Ok, we all know decisions go for us sometimes do we? Name one var decision where they have all pictures, like the foul in the goal on Saturday, that has gone for us?


Nah, what a coach should do is let off the steam on the frustration that his players must be feeling so they can move on.

And it wasn’t just the goal. And for me, not even just the Guimares red. Newcastle were fouling and playing dirty throughout and the ref let them play. At some point someone is going to break Saka’s leg because teams see they can get away with fouling him without consequence. I hope then you won’t see it as just another “calls go for and against you, it all evens out” nonsense.


As var was being implemented I mentioned many times you would grow to hate it. Why was I so certain? Because I had observed in other sports how the pursuit of perfection created more whataboutism, less respect for officials, slowing of the game, hesitancy on the part of officials and a deferral to the camera. Nothing about var adds to the viewers experience. replay has ruined college basketball for me. Football is hard to watch because of stoppages. my cry was and is, make the call and play the game. Both arteta and the spurs coach deserve praise for speaking… Read more »


I’m sorry to read that you don’t enjoy watching sport as much, but I feel the opposite; I am eager for the officials to get the calls as right as they can, and to use technology and whatever else they have available to do that. The games are faster, the athletes almost super-human, and officials have to keep up. I resolutely feel that the more accurate and exacting the officials can be in their application of the rules to the game, the more my club will benefit — and if we fall afoul of the rules, we will deserve the… Read more »


I think Walleye is pretty much bang on. VAR has made things worse. In theory it should make things better, but in practice it is just a tool that makes it easier for the sinister powers that control football to corrupt. No doubt referees when left to their own devices are incompetent at best and corrupt(able) at worst. However, I agree with Walleye, the game is in a worse state than it was before VAR. Early on with VAR there was incompetence and growing pains, now they’re barely covering up how contrived the game and the results (on a whole… Read more »


Could the practice be improved, in your opinion?


No. The game is broken. You can’t fix (pun intended) something that to those in charge is working perfectly at manipulating results the way they want for betting syndicates and/or fossil fuel owners that pay the bills.


I understand that point of view, but I believe there are enough good people in the game who can save it, but they need the backing of their communities. Arteta and Arsenal FC have said that enough is enough, maybe other managers and clubs, and pundits and fan groups, can be so brave, too.


I love the sentiment, but just look at the planet. It is far more important than footie, and the situation is far worse. The same sinister figures corrupt and break our politics to allow them their power and shape the world to remove choice and alternatives. Greed and power man, unfortunately good intentions lose basically every time. Eventually, it will catch up with them too – at some rather alarming costs.


What irks me most with VAR is that the principle of ‘clear and obvious error’ has never been applied. Some of the VAR offside calls, where we are talking inches, should never go anywhere near VAR. A simple way forward for me is for VAR to only become involved when a clear and obvious error has been made (and I mean clear and obvious). Other than that it should be completely down to the referee whether or not he wants to consult VAR, and if a microscopic mistake had been made, then so what! The game is being completed dominated… Read more »


the problem isn’t the tech behind VAR the problem is how the VAR process is implemented. the onfield decision heavily impacts the outcome – which impacts VARs ability to objectively look at incidents an be consistent. VAR only corrects clear an obvious errors. If a ref gives a soft penalty, VAR can’t do anything and the goal stands. If a ref does not give the soft penalty, then VAR can’t do anything and the goal would not stand. this makes VAR extremely inconsistent. This is why VAR isn’t as good as it could be – because they have basically integrated… Read more »

Arsene Wenger No.1

Agree with the sentiment but its not your role Mikel. They will come after you. Suella will revoke your visa. This role is for the ‘David Dein’ figure of the club to enter the centres of command pgmol/f.a/skymedia/bbc and make sure that noone f**s with Arsenal. Wenger as well had to suffer such decisions and the stupid fans turned against him. Lets be honest here…what was Roman Abramovic first transfer at Chelsea? It wasnt Crespo or Shevchenko or Makelele…it was Peter Kenyon chief executive of Man. United and ex md of UMBRO. If we think Roman Abramovic would invest 2… Read more »

Arsene Wenger No.1

Also dont know if you all spotted it …Mark Clattenburg spoke this week about how difficult he found it to apply rules and at the same time to manage the spectacle. Excuse me? ‘Manage the spectacle’???/ wtf does that even mean?? It means that no mr Wenger we will not let your superiorly coached and trained teams run rings around the rest and humiliate us in our national sport. Go back to France… especially if you want to do it on the cheap when we have mr Roman here and the Saudis pumping billions in our ‘spectacle’ which we sell… Read more »


Dortmund can score against the mighty Newcastle. I think Arteta need to go back to basics and rebuild the Arsenal’s toothless attack.


We’ve scored more goals than Dortmund this year in our respective leagues. Hmmmm …

Mikels Arteta

It’s amazing that some in the media are saying this sets a dangerous precedent for football. And VAR hasn’t?
They want to censor any negativity around VAR.
I’d much rather the 4 Matchday official making human error on the day, in the heat of the moment, than an extra bunch of officials who seem to be watching completely different games at times.
Surely they must be on the nose beers at Stockley Park!

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