Mikel Arteta: If I say what I think, I'll be suspended for six months

Fri 13 May 2022 | 8:20

On Thursday, Arsenal were soundly defeated by Tottenham, but Mikel Arteta appeared to criticize referee Paul Tierney.

Mikel Arteta

threatened to be "banned for six months" if he spoke out over key officiating errors made during


's 3-0 loss to


in the

north London derby


Arsenal went into what many regarded as the most significant north London derby in

Premier League

history knowing that a win would guarantee them a place in the Champions League next season.

Spurs, on the other hand, blew them away at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Rob Holding's 33rd-minute dismissal for two bookings playing a key part — despite the fact that the hosts were already 1-0 up thanks to a Harry Kane penalty.

Spurs' second came soon after Holding was sent off, and Son Heung-min put the game out of reach for Arsenal early in the second half, bringing Antonio Conte's side to within a point of Arsenal heading into the last two games of the season. If Arsenal fails to qualify for the Champions League again, many would refer to this defeat as a watershed moment, and Arteta appeared to lay the blame on the officials.

"Well, if I say what I believe, I'm suspended [for] six months, so I can't answer," Arteta told Sky Sports when asked for his "thoughts" on the game. I'm permitted to explain what happened in the game, but I don't know how to lie, so I'd rather not express what I think."

However, it was unclear which judgment Arteta was displeased with, given Holding was perhaps fortunate not to have been sent off before his vicious assault on Son, which may have brought a straight red.

Despite playing only 33 minutes, that was his fourth foul of the game, more than he had ever committed in a single Premier League match. Similarly, referee Paul Tierney appeared to make a clear-cut judgment in penalizing Cedric Soares for a shove on Son in the area.

Arteta was first reluctant to go any farther, stating that if he was honest, he would be banned, but he eventually called out the officials. "You can ask the referee to clarify his decisions in front of the camera," he stated. "It's a pity because such a lovely game was ruined today."

Arsenal will play

Newcastle United

and Everton in their final two games of the season to secure fourth place.

source: SportMob

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