Mikel Arteta

Arsenal Demand Improved Refereeing Standards After Controversial Defeat to Newcastle

November 6, 2023 5:33 pm

In a rare move for the club, Arsenal has called for the Premier League Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) to address the quality of officiating in the Premier League following their controversial loss to Newcastle. The Gunners fell victim to a disputed goal by Anthony Gordon, which was the subject of a prolonged VAR check involving key talking points, including whether the ball went out of play, a possible foul by Joelinton, and an offside call on Gordon.

Tempers flared before half-time in the match when Kai Havertz received a booking for a reckless challenge on Sean Longstaff. Furthermore, Bruno Guimaraes avoided a red card for an off-the-ball forearm incident involving Jorginho. Follow your favourite Premier League team with attractive football betting odds from Nextbet. 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta expressed his frustration with the officiating, labeling the awarding of the goal as a “disgrace” and “embarrassing.” The club subsequently issued a statement supporting Arteta’s comments.

The official statement from Arsenal read, “Arsenal Football Club wholeheartedly supports Mikel Arteta’s post-match comments after yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors on Saturday evening. 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.”

Arsenal further expressed its willingness to work with Howard Webb, the chief refereeing officer, to enhance the standards of officiating in the league.

The PGMOL has declined to comment on Arsenal’s statement.

Notably, Sky Sports News has reported that Guimaraes’ yellow card could have been upgraded to red if it had been considered “violent conduct.” Concerning the potential offside in Gordon’s goal, VAR found no conclusive evidence of the timing of the ball’s release.

Former footballer and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, taking to social media, criticized Arsenal’s public statement, suggesting that such matters should be dealt with privately. He argued that referees make fewer mistakes than players and managers.

This is not the first time Arsenal has been embroiled in a VAR controversy. In February of this year, they were denied a victory against Brentford due to a video assistant error. Nevertheless, the club did not issue a similar public statement at the time.

Refereeing standards in the Premier League have faced scrutiny, with VAR admitting an error in ruling out a goal for Liverpool in September. Wolves manager Gary O’Neil has also openly criticized VAR and officials, leading to several top-flight referees being demoted to the EFL. Arsenal’s call for improved officiating standards highlights the ongoing debate surrounding refereeing decisions in the Premier League. Get the latest updates from the Premier League only on Nextbet Sports.