Ian Wright and Gary Neville clash in heated debate about Mikel Arteta’s VAR rant
Anthony Gordon’s match-winner against Arsenal was heavily criticised by Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.
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The result at St James’ Park marked title-chasing Arsenal’s first defeat in the Premier League this season and saw them drop down to fourth in the league table.
After the game, Mikel Arteta launched a scathing attack on the referee and the VAR officials, during the outburst he described Anthony Gordon’s winner as ‘embarrassing’ and a ‘disgrace’ during his post-match press conference.
A club statement from Arsenal went on to defend Arteta for his comments and claimed that the loss involved a number of unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors and claimed that the ‘Premier League deserves better.’
The behaviour of Arteta has divided opinion in the footballing community over the last few days and his actions were debated during the latest episode of the Stick to Football podcast on the Overlap.
During the discussion, Neville was quick to condemn Arteta for his action and claimed that Arsenal’s decision to defend him for his behaviour was ‘dangerous’.
He also criticised Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp for their behaviour after the defeat to Tottenham.
However, Ian Wright took a contrary view to Neville and claimed Arteta was well with in his rights to make his comments after the defeat.
Wright said: “'Yeah, I'm pleased that Jurgen Klopp did too because of the gravity of the mistake.
“I still feel Mikel was well within his rights. I'm happy with them [Arsenal] backing their manager because we're seeing mistakes on a scale now that, something has to be said.
“Why shouldn't the club back him if what Mikel said was fine? Why can't we critique them?
“Everybody is complicit with aspects of the way that referees are, they have their own shows, they're on co-commentary, they're in it and they're a part of the entertainment now for the clicks!”
Neville doubled down on his criticism of Arsenal and their handling of the incident.
Neville added: “My point is that, this is Arsenal Football Club. An institution, one of the founding Premier League clubs - they're partly responsible for the rules that are in place - you can't just turn on your own, publicly.
“It's the Premier League referees. The managers can [critique referees], the coaches can, the players can, the fans can, the pundits can, but can the clubs come out - like Arsenal and Liverpool - and question sporting integrity, mention replays and looking at their options? To me that is really dangerous.”
In the build-up to Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Sevilla, Arteta claimed he had no regrets about his comments and said he was simply doing his duty as manager of the football club.
The Spainard 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. 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 the way I am and I have to defend my club.”
Arsenal will look to bounce back from their defeat against Newcastle in their next Premier League clash against newly-promoted Burnley on Saturday 11 November.