- Gary Neville described Arsenal’s statement on the VAR controversy as ‘dangerous’
- Ian Wright strongly disagreed with Neville when talking about The Overlap
- DOMINIC KING: I don’t understand what football is anymore – It all comes to the surface
Ian Wright has backed Arsenal’s statement backing Mikel Arteta following his post-match tirade following the defeat to Newcastle last weekend.
The Arsenal manager delivered a scathing rant to VAR officials, describing Anthony Gordon’s winner as ’embarrassing’ and a ‘disgrace’ in his post-match media duties following their 1-0 defeat.
Arsenal strongly backed him in a statement on Sunday, saying the defeat brought more “unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors” and that the Premier League “deserves better”.
Gary Neville described Arsenal’s statement – as well as Liverpool’s after their controversial loss to Tottenham – as ‘dangerous’ and that clubs should ‘behave better in these circumstances’.
Speaking about the Stick with the football podcast Speaking to The Overlap, Ian Wright said he was ‘delighted’ that the Gunners were backing Mikel Arteta, and that the Spaniard was ‘well within his rights’ to criticize officials on the day.
Ian Wright (right) has defended Arsenal for their statement supporting Mikel Arteta’s scathing tirade
Arteta described Anthony Gordon’s winner as ’embarrassing’ and a ‘disgrace’ after the 1-0 defeat
Gary Neville (right) described Arsenal’s decision to back Arteta’s tirade ‘as dangerous’
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When asked by Neville if he was proud of the club for backing Arteta, the Arsenal legend replied: ‘Yes, I’m glad Jurgen Klopp did too because of the severity of the mistake.
‘I still feel that Mikel was well within his rights. I am happy that they (Arsenal) are supporting their manager because we are seeing mistakes on a large scale now that something needs to be said.
‘Why wouldn’t the club support him if what Mikel said was fine? Why can’t we criticize them?
‘Everyone is complicit in aspects of the way referees are, they have their own shows, they commentate, they participate and they are now part of the entertainment for the clicks!’
In response, Neville doubled down on his criticism of the Gunners’ handling of the incident.
He replied: ‘My point is that this is Arsenal Football Club. An institution, one of the founders of the Premier League clubs – they are partly responsible for the rules that apply – cannot simply be contradicted in public.
‘They are the Premier League referees. The managers can criticize referees, the coaches can do that, the players can do that, the fans can do that, the pundits can do that, but can the clubs come out – like Arsenal and Liverpool – and question sporting integrity, call replays and see their options? I think that’s really dangerous.’
Ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League victory over Sevilla, Arteta defended his comments at the weekend.
Wright questioned why referees ‘can’t be criticized’ in response to Neville’s criticism
VAR has come under increasing scrutiny this season following controversial decisions – exacerbated by Liverpool’s wrongly disallowed goal against Tottenham in October
He said: ‘It is my duty to stand in front of the cameras and give a very clear and honest assessment of what is happening in the game. This is what I did.
“Think very openly about how I felt the team played and how the game was shaped by the decisions that were made.
‘It is my duty to defend my players, club and people as best I can. This is what I’m going to do again and again and I’m going to do it, not as I feel, (but) with the evidence and as clearly as possible. I always do it. That’s who I am and I have to defend my club.’
Mail Sport revealed this week that Arsenal will challenge refereeing decisions that have gone against them since the last campaign in their next meeting in a bid to prove a pattern.