Declan Rice has revealed how Arsenal’s squad reacted to Mikel Arteta’s scathing criticism of the VAR system after their loss at Newcastle last week.
Anthony Gordon’s winner at St James’ Park was allowed to stand amid calls for the ball going out of play, offside and a foul from Joelinton on Gabriel Magalhaes. Arteta was fuming after the game, labelling the decision “embarrassing” and a “disgrace”.
While Arsenal backed Arteta’s comments, the Premier League’s Independent Key Match Incidents Panel subsequently ruled the decision from referee Stuart Attwell to allow the goal to stand as the right one.
While Arteta has been criticised in some corners for his reaction, England midfield Rice revealed the players love his enthusiasm and said his antics on the touchline play a role in galvanising the team.
Speaking before Saturday’s win over Burnley, he said: “We love it. I think you see how passionate he is. He sometimes gets criticised for how he is on the sidelines, but he is living the game through us.
“He’s so energetic and the way he speaks, he’s like a teacher the way he is in the changing room with us and that really fires us up for the game and I think that’s what he’s really good at.”
The Gunners managed to avoid any VAR howlers as they saw off Burnley 3-1 thanks to strikes from Leandro Trossard, William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko, though there was time for substitute Fabio Vieira to be dismissed for a dangerous foul on Clarets goalscorer Josh Brownhill.
Asked about the decision, Arteta replied: “With the red card yes, thank you for asking me, VAR was right.
“The referee was right. Really good decision. Really positive for Mikel to speak positively about that. Yeah, good decision.”