Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta branded the VAR decision not to rule out Anthony Gordon’s goal in his side’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle “an absolute disgrace”.
Gordon turned home the winner in a scrappy game of few chances from close range midway through the second half to end Arsenal’s 10-game unbeaten Premier League start.
After referee Stuart Attwell awarded the goal, jubilant Newcastle fans had an extended, anxious wait as the VAR made a triple check to see whether the ball had gone out of play before Joe Willock’s cross, whether Joelinton had fouled Arsenal defender Gabriel and whether Gordon had been offside.
Arteta, whose side slipped two points behind leaders Manchester City, could not hide his anger after the match.
“You have to talk about how the hell did this goal stand up? Incredible. I feel embarrassed,” the 41-year-old Spaniard said.
“I have to now come in here and try to defend the club and please ask for help because it’s an absolute disgrace that this goal is allowed. An absolute disgrace.
“For many reasons, it’s not a goal. More than one reason, it’s not a goal. And there’s too much at stake here. We put so much effort (in).
“It’s so difficult to compete at this level and it’s an absolute disgrace. Again, I feel embarrassed.
“I’ve been more than 20 years in this country and this is nowhere near the level to describe this as the best league in the world, I’m sorry.”
When asked to comment on Arteta’s reaction, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said he had not seen replays of Gordon’s winner.
Howe said: “Maybe he’s seen something I haven’t because I’ve only seen it with the naked eye, live and from my angle I had no idea what was going on, to be honest.
“I had no idea what was going on with the VAR checks either, so in the lap of the gods really, you’re waiting like everybody else was in the stadium.
“With every check going through I was thinking they were probably going to find something. Very bizarre to have three VAR checks, but the goal was given and that’s all I know.”
As well as inflicting on Arsenal their first league defeat of the season, Howe’s side extended their unbeaten league run to seven games and closed to within four points of the Gunners.
Howe said: “It was probably more of a midfield battle than we expected. I think Arsenal respected us, there was a lot of direct play from them.
“We were really competitive. We needed to be. Thankfully we kept 11 men on the pitch. There were more bookings than there needed to be.
“Both teams threatened to lose their discipline and I’m delighted we didn’t. It’s a massive win for us.”
Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz’s ill-judged high challenge on Sean Longstaff sparked a first-half melee and Howe was annoyed three of his players were also booked as a result.
When asked if Havertz’s challenge warranted a red card, Howe added: “Again, I’ve not seen anything on replay.
“My initial thought was yes, because it was high and dangerous. That was just what I thought. I’d need to see it again to confirm my opinion.”