Mikel Arteta has accused video assistant referee Lee Mason of not knowing his job after his error led to Brentford being wrongly awarded an equalising goal at Arsenal on Saturday.
Mason, who operates as a full-time VAR official for the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited), has been stood down from duty for the next round of Premier League games following his gaffe.
He did not investigate the play immediately leading to Brentford’s equaliser at the Emirates Stadium when Christian Norgaard appeared to be in an offside position before he hooked the ball across goal for Ivan Toney to score.
Mason was not selected for a round of matches in September after wrongly disallowing a Newcastle goal for a foul in their match at home to Crystal Palace.
Toney’s goal cancelled out Leandro Trossard’s opener, leading to a 1-1 draw which sees Arsenal go into Wednesday night’s clash at home to nearest challengers Manchester City just three points clear at the summit.
“We ended the game, after analysing all the evidence that we’ve had with the images, with a huge anger and disappointment,” said Arteta.
“That wasn’t a human error, that was a big not conceiving and understanding your job and that’s not acceptable, I’m sorry.
“That costs Arsenal two points that’s not going to be restored. We’re going to have to find those two points somewhere in the league.
“At the same time we appreciate the apology and the explanations and we got a lot of sympathy from colleagues in the industry and in football who say that we cannot play the game with the integrity like we do. That’s it. We have to move on.
“It’s not for me to judge. It’s not about someone making a mistake and then let’s crucify him. It’s trying to do the best that we can together to have a fairer sport and make the decisions clearer and better. Hopefully that will help because of what happened last weekend.
“That has certainly made the players, staff and our fans stronger and given them more desire to pass this hurdle that they put on us. So we’re ready for it.”
Asked if he was satisfied with the apology issued by the PGMOL, Arteta replied: “I will only be satisfied if they give me the two points back, which is not going to be the case.
“I appreciate what I think were really sincere, open and genuine apologies and explanations which is really good. But it doesn’t change the fact that we have two points less on the table.”
Despite his anger at the decision, which could yet cost Arsenal in their quest for a first league title in 19 years, Arteta believes there is a place in football for VAR.
“When I see the reaction of (PGMOL technical director) Howard Webb and the PGMOL and everyone and how genuine it was and that anger, they want to do the best and they know the standards that are at stake,” he added.
“I think at the end it will help. Hopefully we can use that to make the game better, have more integrity and pay more attention to details that matter because at the end of the day it has a significant output on results.”
Arteta will come up against close friend Pep Guardiola on Wednesday night, the pair having led City to two Premier League titles when Arteta was an assistant.
He has yet to best Guardiola in a league meeting but insists it is about Arsenal beating City rather than any personal pride being at stake.
“For me it’s the team,” he said.
“The team, the club and where we are. For me beating one manager or another, it’s not about that. It’s about beating the next opponent and in this case it’s Man City.”