Mikel Arteta was quick to defend and praise his players, despite losing 1-0 against Newcastle, but was quick to lambast the officiating seen in the match.

The game itself had many contentious moments, with calls for red cards for both teams and three Video Assistant Referee (VAR) checks for the hosts' winning goal.

Despite seeming comfortable for long periods of the game, the Gunners were made to pay for not taking their chances as Anthony Gordon grabbed a second-half goal, under contentious circumstances, to win the game for the home side.

It represents Arsenal's first Premier League loss of the 2023/24 season and is their second consecutive defeat - with a tough UEFA Champions League match against Sevilla on the horizon for Arteta's side.

Here is what Arteta had to say on the events of the match, and the situation of English football more broadly speaking too.

  • The level of officiating

The manager, players, fans and even neutral spectators were all somewhat taken aback by some of the decisions in this game.

Given that it was a contentious decision (or three) that ultimately cost Arsenal at least a point, Arteta was understandably furious when asked about the outcome of the game, and let his thoughts be heard by the media.

“The result should not be what it is! It’s a disgrace [...] It’s embarrassing what happened.

"How this goal stands, in the Premier League… this league we say is the best in the world. I have been 20 years in this country and now I feel ashamed."

The Spaniard continued, rather incensed and unbothered by the threat of a possible fine, to critique the officiating on show while also praising his team.

“If there was a team looking to win the game today it was Arsenal [...] I praise my players for the performance and the way we played.

"We didn’t deserve to lose the match. We lose the match because of the clear and obvious decisions. It’s embarrassing. A disgrace. That’s what it is. A disgrace."

He went on, referencing the impact that these decisions have on the Premier League, and how it undermines a team's hard work.

"There’s so much at stake, we put so many hours. I am here to represent the football club and get my team competing at the highest level possible. The margins are so small. It’s a disgrace, it’s embarrassing.

"That’s how I fell and how everyone feels in that [dressing] room. You cannot imagine the amount of messages I got saying this cannot continue. It’s embarrassing.

“I don’t know how to feel. I am wasting my time. We are wasting our time. I don’t want to be in the hands of people. It’s difficult enough to compete against this team. It cannot continue. It’s embarrassing. There’s too much at stake. The consequences are too big.”

  • The winning goal

When asked specifically what he thought was wrong with the decision to award Newcastle their winning goal, Arteta was somewhat vague, perhaps wary of being reprimanded for his comments.

"For a goal to be allowed, there are certain things prior to that, that the ball hitting one metre from the goal, that are not allowed in football.

“In football, in here, in China, in Japan, in Spain, in Italy and in Portugal, they are not allowed. That’s what happens.”

End of quotes

After his fierce criticism of the level of officiating on display, Mikel Arteta may find himself receiving more than just an apology from PGMOL in the morning.

With that being said, he raises a very valid issue, with his thoughts held by many football fans, irrespective of the clubs that they may support. 

Anybody who has watched football consistently over the last few weeks, or even just glanced at social media, will know that these controversies are not a rare occurrence.

Just this weekend we have seen; a Man United goal dubiously disallowed, a penalty awarded against Wolves despite little, if any, contact (for the second successive game), an elbow to the face by Bruno Guimarães not deemed a red card and also several incidents in the build-up to Newcastle's goal.

This is not criticism of any team involved in the aforementioned games, but proof that Arteta is justified in most, if not all, of what he said post-match.

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