Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta rounded on the referee Paul Tierney after his side’s hopes of wrapping up fourth spot were wrecked by a 3-0 defeat at rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday.
Arsenal, who would have guaranteed a first top-four finish since 2016 with victory, looked comfortable early on.
But their night fell apart after Harry Kane gave the hosts the lead from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute after Cedric Soares was adjudged to pushed Son Heung-min.
Ten minutes later Rob Holding was shown a second yellow card for a crude block on Son, having already been booked for wrestling the South Korean earlier.
“I have two options I can lie to you, or I can be suspended, and I really want to be on the touchline against Newcastle,” Arteta told reporters when asked about the first-half decisions that left his side in disarray.
“If I say what I think I’m suspended six months. I’m allowed to give my interpretation of what happened but I don’t know how to lie. Ask the referee to come in front of the camera to explain his decision. It’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today.”
Despite the defeat, Arsenal remain in pole position in the race with Tottenham for fourth place and qualification for next year’s Champions League. With two games remaining they have one more point than their arch-rivals.
“This game is history. Now it’s Newcastle. This is gone. It went out of our hands and we have to accept it,” Arteta said.
“Now we need to be the team that you saw from the beginning. 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.”
Worryingly for Arteta he is running out defenders. Holding will be suspended for what looks a difficult trip to Newcastle while Gabriel went off injured and Ben White was not risked despite being on the bench.
“Hopefully Ben will be fit and Gabriel will recover as we do not have enough players in the backline,” Arteta said.
“We have two games to play each. It’s in our hands and now we have to do our jobs.”
Smiling Saka Lights Up England Again
Kane On Target Again As England Ease Past Ukraine
South Africa Chase Down Record T20 Target To Beat Windies
Argentina FA Training Facility Renamed After Messi
Rybakina Rallies Past Badosa, Potapova Upsets Gauff In Miami
England’s Kane Tells PM Sunak He Aims To Be Premier League Record Scorer
Wales Snatch Late Goal To Draw With Croatia
Bayern Squad Among Best And Can Challenge For Every Title – Tuchel
Germany Kick Off Euro 2024 Mission With Friendly Win Over Peru
Windies Skipper Smashes His Side To T20 Win Over South Africa
Qatar’s Al Thani Submits New US$6 billion Bid For Manchester United – Report
France Already Firing On All Cylinders As New Chapter Begins