Arsenal have called for the PGMOL to improve the officiating standards in the Premier League; Anthony Gordon scored a controversial winner in Newcastle's 1-0 win over the Gunners on Saturday
Monday 6 November 2023 10:31, UK
Arsenal have called for the PGMOL to "urgently address the standard of officiating in the Premier League" in an unprecedented statement for the club, after Newcastle beat the Gunners via a controversial winner on Saturday.
Anthony Gordon's second-half strike was enough to beat Mikel Arteta's side despite a four-minute VAR check to analyse three talking points with the goal - whether the ball went out of play, a potential foul by Joelinton and an offside on Gordon.
Prior to that, temperatures reached boiling point before the break when Kai Havertz was booked for a reckless lunge on Sean Longstaff before Bruno Guimaraes was perhaps fortunate not to see red for an off-the-ball forearm on Jorginho.
After the game, Arteta told Sky Sports the awarding of the goal was a "disgrace" and "embarrassing" for the officials - and on Sunday, Arsenal came out as a club to support the manager.
"Arsenal Football Club wholeheartedly supports Mikel Arteta's post-match comments after yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors on Saturday evening," the statement read.
"We'd also like to acknowledge the huge effort and performance from our players and travelling supporters at St James' Park.
"The Premier League is the best league in the world with the best players, coaches and supporters, all of whom deserve better. PGMOL urgently needs to address the standard of officiating and focus on action which moves us all on from retrospective analysis, attempted explanations and apologies.
"We support the ongoing efforts of chief refereeing officer, Howard Webb and would welcome working together to achieve the world-class officiating standards our league demands."
The PGMOL has decided not to comment on Arsenal's statement.
On Bruno Guimaraes' yellow card, Sky Sports News understands it would have been a red had it been deemed 'violent conduct'.
And on the potential Gordon offside for Newcastle's goal, it is understood there was no conclusive evidence available to VAR of when the ball was played.
Taking to social media on Sunday, Gary Neville wrote: "I played for a club where a manager went mad after games if we felt a decision had gone against us. You feel like it's us against the world. I get it. Everyone hates us, the refs are out to stitch us up and theirs [sic] bias vs us.
"However, I can never remember the club writing letters undermining the system and the whole refereeing community.
"When I look back now I don't think as players we always covered ourselves in glory with refs and also at a big club we all feel entitled and you have to leave and retire to be able to see that.
"Arsenal's letter and even the Liverpool statement a few weeks ago (they had a genuine bad one vs them) are wrong. Do it privately. If I was Howard Webb I would stop apologising to them and get on with it. Managers and players make far more mistakes than refs!"
This is not the first time Arsenal have been involved in a controversial VAR call. In February of this year, the Gunners were denied victory against Brentford, after the video officials forgot to draw the offside lines which would have ruled out Ivan Toney's late equaliser at 1-1.
In his first pre-match press conference after the Brentford game, Arteta accused Lee Mason, who left the PGMOL in February, of "not understanding his job" but the Gunners did not make a reactive statement like the one on Sunday.
Refereeing standards in the Premier League have come under intense scrutiny after VAR admitted a mistake to rule out Luis Diaz's 'offside' goal for Liverpool at Tottenham in September.
Meanwhile, Wolves manager Gary O'Neil has openly criticised VAR and the officials for multiple talking points - which have seen several top-flight referees demoted to the EFL.
Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher:
"I've just seen the Arsenal statement and I don't really agree with that. This happened a few weeks ago with Liverpool and it was a different set of circumstances then in some ways - but I didn't agree with what they put out either at the time.
"I was covering the game on Saturday night and on the back of Mikel Arteta's post-match interview, I said I loved it. The reason I said that is because far too often managers before and after games speak cliches and don't tell is how they feel. He was passionate, really honest, emotional and it was great TV. That's the reason I said I loved it, but I didn't agree with what he said in terms of about not being happy about the VAR.
"I can understand there were three checks of it and the goal gets given. But I'm still scratching my head to think about what part of the goal Arteta and Arsenal are upset about.
"Put yourself in Howard Webb or VAR's position - they can't conclusively say whether the ball was in or out. So the on-field decision was carry on and they have to go with that. Is there a foul? Probably 50:50, but not a terrible decision. It could go either way and as a centre-back I'm saying to Gabriel, he could be stronger. And the last bit about offside, it wasn't given on the field, it was difficult. But VAR didn't have an angle to see it. So what do you want VAR and the officials to do?
"You could say we are the Premier League, could we have camera angles that covers every part of the pitch. I agree with that. But this is not another one to jump on the bandwagon with VAR and just batter the people at the Stockley Park. That's not right. Nothing was conclusive about the goal, so it had to be a goal. End of story."