HomeArsenal: Arteta believes officiating standards up since Newcastle charge

Arsenal: Arteta believes officiating standards up since Newcastle charge

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Mikel Arteta believes Premier League officiating has improved since he described refereeing standards as “embarrassing” earlier this season.

Arteta’s Arsenal side have won their last five Premier League games to reignite their title charge, and they will move within two points of leaders Liverpool if they beat Newcastle United on Saturday.

The Gunners’ last meeting with Newcastle – at St James’ Park in early November – was a controversial one as Anthony Gordon’s winner was allowed to stand dispute Gabriel Magalhaes appearing to be fouled by Joelinton in the build-up.

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In his post-match interview, Arteta described the decision to let the goal stand as “embarrassing” and a “disgrace”, in comments which saw him charged with misconduct by the Football Association.

Arsenal released a statement to demand an improvement in officiating standards after that game, while Arteta was cleared of his misconduct charge in December.

Reflecting upon those comments on Friday, Arteta said he had witnessed an upturn in the intervening months.

“I think the last stats that came across show that there was a significant improvement and a lot of the decisions they were getting right, so hopefully that is the case and we continue to do that,” he said.

“I talked the way I felt. I was very straight and I did it in a way that was pretty strong but within the law.”

Earlier this month, the Premier League’s chief football officer Tony Scholes said the number of correct decisions being made after VAR reviews had improved from 82% in 2019 to 96% this season.

Arsenal have been free-scoring in the Premier League lately, netting 20 goals in their last five league games, but they were frustrated by Porto in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, failing to record a shot on target and losing 1-0 to Galeno’s 94th-minute strike.

While many expected the Gunners to move for a striker in the January transfer window, Arteta believes they have enough firepower to compete for major honours.

“The team has the ability to score goals and to share the goals, which we have to be doing consistently” he said.

“Those are the demands at the end of the season, you have to score a certain amount of goals and not concede a certain amount to have the best chance to win titles. That’s undeniable.

“I think we are in a really good position, we are what we want to be.

“I don’t know if we can be better, I just think the most important thing is that we continue to believe, to perform at the level that we are doing.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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