‘Taking the p***’ – Arsenal boss Arteta slammed after ‘mocking’ referee during win over Aston Villa

Arteta slammed over conduct Credit: Alamy
Arteta slammed over conduct Credit: Alamy

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has been slammed after he apparently “mocked” a Premier League referee during their win over Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Gunners were without a win in three games heading into their game against Villa over the weekend. They only picked up a single point in games against Everton, Brentford and Manchester City.

Arsenal showed great character as they battled back from behind to beat Unai Emery’s side 4-2 at Villa Park. Two goals were scored in stoppage time as Arteta’s team earned all three points.

Before Arsenal went 3-2 ahead, Arteta was caught mocking referee Simon Hooper. This came as the official refused to let a free-kick be taken as the ball was moving.

Stan Collymore has now hit out at Arteta, claiming that the Gunners head coach tries to “intimidate” officials.

“What Arteta is doing, and he isn’t the only one by the way – Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho have all done it too – is to influence the referee by intimidating them,” Collymore told Caught Offside.

“I understand why they do it, I get that they want to give their team a competitive edge but I don’t like it.

“We’re struggling to get enough top-quality officials into the game as it is and it’s no wonder why when they see a Premier League manager openly and unnecessarily mocking a referee in the middle of a game like we saw Arteta doing to [Simon] Hooper on Saturday.

“It’s about time PGMOL and the other regulatory bodies got together and demanded that their officials are shown a certain level of respect because the next generation of referees will probably be looking at the kind of incidents on the weekend involving Arteta and be thinking ‘we’re allowed to be mocked and we can’t say anything back, what’s the point?’

“It’s about time benches stopped the intimidation tactics, whether that be by getting in the fourth official’s face for 90 minutes, or by taking the pi** out of the on-field referee.”

Reflecting on his touchline behaviour when speaking last month, Arteta admitted that he “can do better”.

“I focus on things I can do better,” the Arsenal manager admitted on the club website. “For sure, there are things I can do better and let the referees take the game and be in charge of that.

“I need to look at myself in the mirror sometimes and try to find the right balance.

“I love the game, I am very passionate about it and I love to win more than anything else and that’s the way I live the match. But again, if there is something you can do better, you can at least try that.”

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