What a game! It had everything. Two tough tackling, fully committed sides with two really strong defensive units. Goal scoring opportunities were few, tackles were aplenty. Kai Havertz with the worst which from then on, added extra spice to a game already quite spiky. Havertz escaped with just a booking, much to the disgruntlement of the Newcastle players, three of whom received yellow cards for their objections. Staggering, Bruno Guimeres escaped punishment altogether for his assault on Jorginho. Understandable the referee might have missed the incident but VAR? Well, they must have been asleep. Later in the game, after the referee had blown his whistle to award a free kick and Guimaraes deliberately blasted the ball at Jorginho, or was it Havertz – Either way, I thought such an action was an automatic booking these days.
Just after the hour mark, the biggest moment in the match arrived. Willock didn’t manage to keep the ball in but instead of awarding a goal kick to Arsenal, Willock was allowed to play on. Admittedly, Raya flapped at the cross but as Gabriel went to clear it, he was pushed in the back by Joelinton and then to make matters worse, Gordon looked suspiciously offside when he scored. VAR viewed all three incidents but eventually allowed the goal to stand. Possibly one of the most controversial decisions made so far this season. Along with the goal which should have be for Liverpool against Totts.
Mikel Arteta’s post match interview was brutally honest.
on Newcastle’s goal:
We have to talk about the result because you have to talk about how they help these goals stand up, and it’s incredible. I feel embarrassed. But I have to be the one now coming here to try to defend the club and please ask for help because it’s an absolute disgrace that this goal is allowed, it’s an absolute disgrace. Because it’s not a goal, for many reasons it’s not a goal, for more than one reason at least it’s not a goal. And there’s too much at stake here, we put in so much effort, and it’s so difficult to compete at this level. And it’s an absolute disgrace. Again, I feel embarrassed, I’ve be more than 20 years in this country, and this is nowhere near the level to describe this as the best league in the world. I am sorry.
On the fact the goal was checked for three potential infringements:
That makes it even worse, makes it look even worse, it makes it even worse. You just need to see one image, that’s what you need, and you have any doubt you look at the second one. And if this is a goal, okay, that’s fine. I don’t care honestly, I don’t care what they say. It’s the outcome. It’s too late, whatever they say is too late. I don’t want to be in the hands of people.
On refereeing decisions in the first half:
The penalty on Eddie, there are a lot of things. We cannot continue.
On which of the three potential infringements could have led to Newcastle’s goal being disallowed:
This is really the question guys, the question is it’s not a goal it’s simple it’s not a goal. Simple. 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.
On if an apology from the Premier League would be of any use:
I have to stand here now and explain, And we lost three points today, guys. You know what that means? It’s too hard, this league, it’s too hard, there is too much at stake. It’s embarrassing.
On how the boss will pick the players up after today’s result:
I have to praise them, it’s not in their hands it’s not in their control. I have to praise the players the way they play here, and what they did and how much they limited Newcastle to what they did and how much we tried. It’s incredible. Honestly,
On William Saliba and Kai Havertz’s performances:
So much. It’s incredible the way these guys play with 20-years, 21-years-old, the way they play here, the way they compete against this team because they are a top team. Incredible. So to get a game out of that like this, I feel sick. That’s how I feel. I feel sick to be part of this.
Written down, Mikel Arteta’s emotions are lost but watch the video and you’ll feel his anger and frustration with the decisions made by the officials.That video is HERE.
Despite Gary Neville’s pathetic attempts to justify the Newcastle Utd goal being given, I honestly thought it’d be disallowed because there was clearly grass between the ball and the white line and Gabriel was shoved in the back as he attempted to clear the ball and I’m sure had that entire incident had occurred at the other end of the pitch, the goal would have been disallowed.
Controversy aside, I thought Arsenal were brilliant defensively. Our outfield players at least as David Raya still fills me with fear. But, step across the halfway line and we lacked presence in the box, creativity and do I dare say, imagination. Smart tactics by Eddie Howe or just poor from our players? The Fabio Vieira foul throw when a quick break was on was sloppy, as were Leandro Trossard’s corners.
Yes, we were robbed of a point but I don’t think we ever looked close to taking all three.
Catch up in the comments.