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'I had all the evidence' - Mikel Arteta insists it's his 'duty' to defend Arsenal as he refuses to back down on VAR criticism following Newcastle defeat

  • Arsenal lost unbeaten PL record at Newcastle
  • Arteta hit out at VAR for allowing Gordon's winner
  • Refusing to back down on criticism of officials

WHAT HAPPENED? The Gunners boss has come in for some fierce criticism after his astonishing outburst following his side’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle on Saturday, which ended their unbeaten run in the Premier League this season. Arteta blasted the decision to allow Anthony Gordon's winning goal for the home side following a series of VAR checks. His comments and the subsequent statement from Arsenal backing their manager have been condemned by many high profile figures in the game, including Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, who labelled the north London’s club’s actions as dangerous. But speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League clash with Sevilla, Arteta was unrepentant when asked if he had any regrets.

WHAT THEY SAID: “It is my duty to stand in front of the cameras and give a very clear and honest assessment of what happens in the game,” said the Arsenal boss. “This is what I did. Reflect very openly how I felt the team played and how the game was conditioned by the decisions that were made. My duty is to defend my players, club and people in the best possible way. This is what I’m going to do time after time and I do it, not the way I feel, (but) with the evidence and being as clear as possible. I always do it, it’s my responsibility to do it. It’s the way I am and I have to defend my club."

He added: "Things don’t happen overnight. When I was that clear and had all the evidence to stand for the words I used in the media it’s because I feel strongly about them."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Arteta did accept that errors are part of football, but says those errors must be used to help evolve how the game works and to improve it for everyone. "I stand for the same words, that mistakes are part of football. We are here to constructively improve the game in every way we can. As a club, me the individual with my duty as a manager in the managers’ meeting, to give our opinion and to raise it in the most constructive ways together and [create] a better game. That’s the only thing we are looking at collectively to achieve for everybody. Errors are part of evolution. The trajectory is never going to be like this (gestures straight up), there are always going to bumps in the road and these things are necessary to improve the game in the right way. But we have to talk loudly. If you have a problem and you put it in your draw, the problem is in the draw and it’s going to stink at some point. If you have a problem, let’s talk about it, try to improve it. That’s what we are trying to do. Nothing else.”


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WHAT NEXT? Arsenal take on Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday night knowing that a victory will see them secure their spot in the knockout stages with two games remaining.