Mikel Arteta has made himself 'look like a clown' for blasting the ref

Mikel Arteta has made himself ‘look like a CLOWN’ for blasting refereeing standards following Newcastle VAR controversy, says Chris Sutton on Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off’

  • Mikel Arteta slammed the standard of refereeing after 1-0 loss to Newcastle 
  • Anthony Gordon was allowed to stand after three separate VAR checks 
  • CHRIS SUTTON: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is a clown – It’s All Kicking Off 

Chris Sutton believes Mikel Arteta has made himself look ‘like a clown’ for slamming the standards of refereeing in England following Arsenal’s controversial loss against Newcastle on Saturday.

The Spaniard was left fuming after the final whistle at St. James’ Park as Anthony Gordon’s match-winning goal was allowed to stand, while Bruno Guimaraes avoided punishment for a supposed elbow on Jorginho.

Gordon’s strike went through three separate VAR checks before being allowed to stand, with referee Stuart Attwell and VAR official Andy Madley deeming that Joe WIllock had kept the ball in play, Joelinton had not fouled Gabriel in the build-up and that the goalscorer was onside.

‘How the hell did this goal stand up? It’s incredible,’ Arteta said in his post-match press conference..

‘I feel embarrassed. It’s an absolute disgrace that this was allowed. For many reasons it’s not a goal. 

Chris Sutton believes Mikel Arteta has made himself look like ‘a clown’ for slamming the standard of refereeing after Arsenal’s controversial loss against Newcastle

Anthony Gordon (second left) scored the winner for Newcastle after a goalmouth scramble

Gordon’s goal underwent three separate VAR checks, but Arteta felt the wrong decision was made by the officials 

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‘It’s so difficult to compete at this level. This is nowhere near the [refereeing] level to describe this as the best league in the world. I feel sick to be part of this.’ 

But speaking on the latest episode of Mail Sport’s It’s All Kicking Off! podcast with Ian Ladyman, Sutton insisted Arteta’s anger was misdirected. 

‘I thought he made himself look a bit of a clown,’ he said.

‘And I know everybody can say: “Well, it’s great and it’s emotional game”. And I get that. 

‘But while he’s berating the officials, what about him controlling things which he can control?’

Sutton suggested the VAR controversy overshadowed some questionable decisions from Arteta, such as keeping faith in Kai Havertz and David Raya.

The German, a £65million signing from Chelsea in the summer, has scored one goal in 17 appearances in all competitions so far.

The Spaniard, meanwhile, has looked far from rock-solid since replacing Aaron Ramsdale in goal after joining on loan from Brentford. Raya’s failure to deal with Willock’s cross led to Newcastle’s winner on Saturday and condemned Arsenal to a first defeat in the Premier League this season.

Speaking on the latest episode of Mail Sport’s It’s All Kicking Off! podcast Sutton questioned Arteta’s decision to slam the referees and VAR

The Spaniard described the decision to allow the goal to stand as an ‘absolute disgrace’

‘What about his [Arteta’s] insistence to play [Kai] Havertz? You know, how many more times is he going to give him a chance at Arsenal?,’ Sutton said.

‘He’s trying to win a Premier League [title]. What about [David] Raya flapping at the cross [that led to the goal]? He can control those things. 

‘So while he’s having a pop left, right, and centre at the PGMOL and the referee on the day, maybe he should look at himself.’ 

In a statement released on Sunday afternoon, Arsenal said they were backing Arteta after ‘yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors’. The club added fans, players and managers ‘deserve better’ from the PGMOL.

But Sutton argued the approach was counterproductive and only served to ‘crank up the pressure’ on the referees.

On Sunday, Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville both vehemently criticised Arsenal’s decision to back Arteta.

Writing on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Neville said: ‘Arsenal and Liverpool’s statements are wrong. Do it privately. Managers and players make far more mistakes than refs!’ 

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Liverpool’s clash against Luton, Carragher said:  ‘This is not a moment to jump on the bandwagon with VAR and just batter people at Stockley Park and the officials because that’s not right.’

Arsenal’s statement is the second time a Premier League feels it has to directly address PGMOL this season.

Last month, Liverpool formally requested the audio between the VAR officials and referee Simon Hooper after their 2-1 defeat by Tottenham on September 30.

The Reds had a Luis Diaz goal ruled out for offside, a decision which PGMOL subsequently admitted was incorrect. 

Liverpool also had two players sent off and lost to a last-minute own goal.


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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