HomeArteta has sympathy for O'Neil after VAR controversies affect Arsenal and Wolves

Arteta has sympathy for O’Neil after VAR controversies affect Arsenal and Wolves

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Mikel Arteta sympathises with Gary O’Neil’s complaints about VAR, with Wolves having been hurt by several controversial decisions ahead of Saturday’s clash with Arsenal.

Both Arteta and O’Neil have made headlines with their comments about officiating standards and the use of technology in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal released a statement in support of Arteta after they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United in early November, with the Gunners boss describing the decision to allow Anthony Gordon’s controversial winning goal as “embarrassing” and “a disgrace”.

O’Neil’s Wolves, meanwhile, have been on the wrong end of several contentious decisions this term, with a series of them coming in a 3-2 defeat at Fulham on Monday.

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O’Neil said that loss had turned him against the use of VAR, revealing that referee Michael Salisbury admitted to making three errors after the game, saying Fulham’s first penalty should not have stood and both Tim Ream and Carlos Vinicius should have been sent off.

With Premier League leaders Arsenal preparing to welcome Wolves to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Arteta was asked if he understood O’Neil’s frustrations.

“I have sympathy with all my colleagues,” Arteta said. “I know how beautiful this job can be but also how challenging.

“We have a lot of exposure and moments in front of the camera are not easy, we have seen that in many situations, both this season and last season.

“We are here to make the game better but also to make our clubs better and we need to win to do it.”

Asked whether he discusses VAR with his fellow managers, Arteta said: “Yeah, it’s a topic that comes up, for sure.

“We talk about many things but that’s one of those for sure. At the end, it has a huge impact on the result and our job depends on that.”

The use of technology in football has attracted unprecedented focus this season, while the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has risked further angering fans by discussing the prospect of VAR’s remit being extended to cover other incidents, including yellow cards and corners.

Arteta does believe VAR was introduced for the right reasons and hopes recent mistakes are simply part of a learning curve, adding: “I think we can improve and we are trying to do that.

“All the things that are happening are probably necessary to improve it and we have to take it that way. It’s been a big change, technology is taking a huge responsibility in games and it needs time.

“If we use it the right way and are listening to people, we are open and we are humble and we are trying to be constructive, I think we will get to a really good place.”

Arteta was also asked about IFAB’s announcement that sin bins will be trialled in elite-level games in order to curb instances of dissent and tactical fouls.

Everton boss Sean Dyche called for football’s lawmakers to “leave the game alone” on Thursday, but Arteta thinks the new system is worth a try, saying: “These things have to be tried and then we will see what we get from there.”

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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