The defeat means Arsenal now have 66 points from 36 games, while Tottenham are only one point and a place behind their rivals having played the same number of times.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta did not hold back his words when he analysed the performance of the referee following his side’s 3-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Thursday night. Arteta stated that a “beautiful game was destroyed” by the officials after a 10-man Gunners suffered a massive loss in the battle for the top four race. Reacting to the Arsenal manager’s comments, Tottenham boss Antonio Conte accused him of “complaining” a lot. There was a lot riding on the match, with Arsenal enjoying a 4-point cushion over Spurs in the top four race. However, the defeat means the Gunners now have 66 points from 36 games, while Tottenham are only one point and a place behind their rivals having played the same number of times.
On Thursday night, the home side were leading from a Harry Kane penalty in the first half when Rob Holding got a second yellow for pushing over Heung-Min Son. After that Kane scored his second in the first half before Son got the third goal at the beginning of the second period. “If I say what I think I am suspended for six months,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “I don’t know how to lie so I prefer not to say what I think. I cannot say what I think. I want the referees to come in front of the camera and explain his decisions. It’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today. I am not unhappy with my players. I am proud of my players. The decision was made. We can’t change it. The referee has to make a decision in football.”
With the battle for the top four races intensifying, Arsenal next travel to Newcastle United on Monday night in the Premier League. “Our focus is Newcastle,” Arteta added. “This game is history. This is gone. It went out of our hands and we have to accept it. Now we need to be the team that you saw from the beginning. When you lose a football match in the conditions, we lost them it’s painful. But we have a huge match on Monday so we will try to beat them. We have two games to play each. It’s in our hands and now we have to do our jobs. We showed from the beginning in this game.”
Antonio Conte took a dig at the Arsenal manager, saying that he has listened to him “complain a lot” in the last six months. “[Arteta] is a really good coach, he can become an important coach in the future. But in six months I have listened to him complain a lot,” Conte added. “He’s just started in his job, and I have listened to him complain a lot. I think he has to be focused more on his team, and not complaining. I think he has to be calmer, and try to continue to work because he is very good. But a coach complaining a lot is not good.
“The red card for me was clear. Don’t forget against Liverpool, I said nothing about what happened with Fabinho. If we want to complain, we have the possibility every game to speak about the referee, decisions, postponed games. If you remember, he complained about the [postponed] fixture. At the time I said it was not good to complain, because Arsenal were happy to postpone the game in an incredible way for Covid positives, and they only had one player with Covid. I did not forget this.”