Mikel Arteta said it was a “disgrace” that Anthony Gordon’s controversial goal in Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Arsenal was allowed to stand, as the Gunners saw their unbeaten start to the season come to a halt at St James’ Park.
Gordon’s goal survived a lengthy VAR check that considered three decisions. The main point of contention was whether the ball went out of play on the far side of the pitch, prior to Joe Willock putting the cross into the box. VAR also checked if Joelinton had fouled Arsenal defender Gabriel, as well as whether Gordon was offside. It took over four minutes for the VAR to decide that the goal could be given.
Afterwards, Arteta said it was “embarrassing” that the goal was allowed to stand. Given the camera angles available to the VAR at Stockley Park, the Premier League explained the VAR did not have the conclusive evidence required to prove the ball was definitely out of play. It is also understood VAR determined there was insufficient contact to award a foul on Gabriel and no conclusive evidence of offside on Gordon.
"How much does that goal mean to Anthony Gordon?" 🔥
A long VAR check but Newcastle lead! ⚫⚪ pic.twitter.com/kEZoPkMMtx
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 4, 2023
Arteta disagreed and let his feelings known across a series of extraordinary interviews with broadcasters, as well as in his post-match press conference.
"Embarrassing what happened - how this goal stands, in the Premier League - this league we say is the best in the world,” Arteta told the BBC.
“I’ve been 20 years in this country and now I feel ashamed. It’s a disgrace and there’s too much at stake here.
“We are trying to do incredible things and be at the highest level each week. When we’re not good enough I hold my hands up and take responsibility.
"The outcome is nowhere near the level this league needs to have and the way this league is getting competed in. It’s not good enough. I feel embarrassed to be part of this."
The result was Arsenal’s first Premier League defeat of the season and it left the Gunners three points behind leaders Manchester City in the table.
Arteta also told Sky Sports: “There is so much at stake. We put so many hours. I’m here to represent the football club and to get my team to compete at the highest level. The margins are so small. It’s a disgrace. It’s embarrassing.
“That’s how I feel and that’s how every body feels in that [dressing] room. You cannot imagine the amount of messages we’ve got saying this cannot continue. It’s embarrassing. I’m sorry, embarrassing.
“I defend my players, when I have to go there. I defend my job when I have to go there. ‘It’s not good enough, it’s not good enough.’ But I have to be here, to say it now. It’s not acceptable, there’s too much at stake.”
Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya said he expected the goal to be disallowed and claimed he saw the ball go out of play.
“We are all frustrated,” he said. “My point of view is I saw the ball going out of play. I think it is a foul on Gabriel, he [Joelinton] pushes him on the back and the decision was it wasn’t a foul. I don’t think it was supposed to go that way. And in my opinion it was offside. We are very, very disappointed.
“We competed very well today away from home. A very tough place to come. The way we played deserved a bit more than a loss. A draw would have been more fair, it was very even. Everyone in the dressing room is very frustrated and obviously angry.”
Gordon admitted he was anxious as his goal was being checked, telling Sky Sports: “I don’t know how many checks there were but I was just hoping it was alright. It was amazing to score, what a game.
“It shows our togetherness, we’re a real team and we show that in every game. We’ve had some really good results this year - but we’ve just shown our togetherness.
“It all comes down to the gaffer, how he drills us in training. It doesn’t matter who plays we all know our jobs and what we have to do.”
Newcastle captain Jamal Lascelles added: “We’ve got great depth, competition in all areas and that’s what it’s all about - we have a lot more games this year. We’re in a good place.
“Whatever test I face I try to do as well as I can and give 110 per cent. I’ve had an opportunity to play and I just give my all for the badge and that’s all I can do.”