Alan Shearer hits out at Arsenal and Mikel Arteta ‘moaning’ over VAR decision in Newcastle defeat
'I just don't their their moaning.'
Arteta branded the decision to allow Anthony Gordon’s winning goal at St James’ Park an ‘embarrassment’ and a ‘disgrace’ after it went through three separate VAR checks.
Arsenal followed up with a statement on Sunday which backed Arteta’s criticism and hit out at ‘unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors’ during the defeat to Newcastle.
However, Shearer has criticised Arsenal over their failure to acknowledge that Kai Havertz was fortunate to escape a red card in the first half for his challenge on Sean Longstaff.
Shearer also highlighted Arteta’s call for more sympathy to be shown towards officials after the VAR error which ruled out Luis Diaz’s legitimate goal against Tottenham in September.
‘I get the feeling, and there was nothing that was going to change my mind, I think that game was too big for the referee, I think he had a really poor game, I thought there were so many poor decisions in that game, when that happens players get angry, players get upset, I thought it was a poor performance from him, he made some really strange decisions.
‘But the big talking point was the goal. I don’t get their gripe with what they’re on about, we can’t have a go at VAR for it, we’re quick to hammer VAR because we know what it was brought in for, we know how many poor decisions there have been this season.
‘But if you go through every step, the ball out – there’s no conclusive evidence to say the ball was actually out, so the goal was given.
‘The ball then comes into the box, I’ve spoken to 30 or 40 people today of which half would’ve said they thought it was a foul, half of them said it wasn’t a foul, so to me, that tells me that is not an absolute howler, which VAR was given the on-field decision of no foul, so therefore they can’t go back on that in my opinion.
‘Then the offside, as you know I will tell it how it is even with Newcastle, I said last it week they got lucky when they got given a penalty [against Wolves], I didn’t think it was a penalty, I thought it was a terrible decision, everyone else thought it was a terrible decision as well.
‘I just don’t their their [Arsenal’s] moaning. Because there was nothing to suggest in any of those decisions, the ball crossing the line, the foul allegedly, the offside, is an absolute howler there because all of the decisions on the field were ‘goal’.
‘I listened to Mikel Arteta after the game, he was obviously very angry, I get that, I understand because you’re in the throw of things after the game, it’s very emotional, it’s very hard, I’ve been in that position myself, you’re very angry. I didn’t once hear him say Kai Havertz should have been sent off, by the way. When I read Arsenal’s statement I didn’t hear them mention Kai Havertz didn’t get sent off and perhaps should have. In my opinion it should have been a red card.
‘Bruno Guimaraes got very lucky because that could have and probably should have been a red card. So when you put all of that together, I thought the standard of refereeing, other than the goal, I thought it was too big a game for him and I don’t think he handled the situation very well at all.
‘Did you see Mikel Arteta’s comments after they got a decision that went for them against Liverpool? He said, ‘we have to understand and we have to support our referees, they are humans, they will make errors and we have to support them’.
‘Honestly, I’ve been in that position, I felt as if when I was the manager of Newcastle we were robbed of that decision in that game against Fulham at St James’ Park. I was angry as I’ve ever been when that decision went against us, a goal was given. I get how hard it is, and I get that the manager is trying to make his point, I just can’t agree with what was said after the game and Arsenal’s statement.
‘Having said that, Howard Webb will never say this, but I reckon we’ve got the best football, the best stadiums, the best managers, the best coaches, the best atmospheres, the best of everything in our country but we haven’t got the best referees. Unfortunately, the pool of referees that we have at this moment in time, I just think they’re not good enough. It’s a difficult job, I know, I understand all of that, they’re in a no-win situation at times but I don’t think they’re a good pool of referees and I think they’re worse now with VAR than they’ve ever been.
‘I know Howard is trying his best, I know what he’s trying to do in terms of communication and everything else to improve it, but there’s been so many mistakes, clear mistakes, which they’ve obviously admitted to.
‘I thought it was a poor day for the referee but I don’t understand the argument and the hate towards the goal because there was nothing clear and obvious in any of those decisions for him to disallow the goal, and I would say the same if it went against Newcastle.’
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