Mikel Arteta: ‘I’m completely with referees’

Mikel Arteta: ‘I’m completely with referees’

Mikel Arteta made a point of praising the officials and VAR as 10-man Arsenal beat Burnley to move level with Premier League leaders Manchester City,

Fabio Vieira was sent off late on for a high challenge on Josh Brownhill, who had earlier cancelled out a brave Leandro Trossard opener.

But Arsenal had already secured the points by the time Vieira was dismissed, William Saliba heading them back in front before Oleksandr Zinchenko secured the points with an acrobatic volley.

Arteta could yet face a Football Association charge after he criticised the officials during a 1-0 loss at Newcastle last week, having been asked to provide his observations having called the winning goal “embarrassing” and a “disgrace.

Here, though, he was keen to play to the gallery and made sure he hammered home his praise of the referees.

“With the red card… yes, VAR was right, he said.

“The referee was right. Really good decision, really positive from Mikel to speak about that! Good decision.”

He later added to talkSPORT: “Please ask me about VAR because today it was good.

“I hope that I’m on TV saying the referees are so good and I’m completely with them and being very constructive.”

Trossard was the difference-maker for the Gunners, the Belgium international once again starting as the central striker and breaking the deadlock with a close-range finish that saw him clatter into Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford and the post.

He recovered to lay on the corner from which Saliba scored and it was another Trossard set-piece that led to Zinchenko’s fine scissor-kick.

“I think he connects everybody. He’s so intelligent,” Arteta said of Trossard.

“I think he moves in ways that attracts people that generates spaces and options for people.

Arsenal’s Leandro Trossard (centre) holds his arm after he fell into the goal post after scoring
Arsenal’s Leandro Trossard (centre) holds his arm after he fell into the goal post after scoring (Nigel French/PA)

“Today he did that really good because it was so difficult and the spaces were so small to attack. He gave us a lot of threat and possibilities to connect and find spaces for us.

“He put your body on the line if it’s necessary, and that was it. It’s the 1,000th goal at the Emirates – a beautiful number.

“I’m very happy with him. I think every time you ask him to play whether it’s wide or as a nine, it flows and he has a real threat. So I’m really happy with him.”

Burnley could end the weekend bottom of the table after a 10th defeat in 12 league games since their return to the top flight.

But manager Vincent Kompany believes the Clarets continue to show resilience in their battle against the drop.

“We were solid first half. To concede the way we conceded is avoidable. It’s football. Good teams are there for a reason,” he said.

“Our team is as hard working as you like and resilient as you like. The club is filled with good, hard-working people. In the games we’re not expecting to have their level but we want to give ourselves a chance. This team wants to embrace this challenge.”