Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have accused Arsenal of going too far in releasing a statement backing up Mikel Arteta's criticism of officials.
Arteta felt the Gunners were hard done by in Saturday's 1-0 defeat away to Newcastle – where the hosts' controversial winning goal came after a series of VAR checks – going as far as to say he felt "sick".
There was particular outrage over the ball appearing to go out of play in the build-up to Anthony Gordon's 64th-minute winner at St. James' Park – so much so that Arsenal released a statement on Sunday supporting their manager's comments.
For Neville and Carragher, though, the club have overstepped by publicly declaring officiating standards to be "unacceptable".
Neville wrote on X (formerly Twitter): "I played for a club [Manchester United] where a manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] went mad after games if we felt a decision had gone against us. You feel like it’s us against the world. I get it. 'Everyone hates us, the refs are out to stitch us up and [there's] bias v us.' However, I can never remember the club writing letters undermining the system and the whole refereeing community.
"When I look back now I don’t think as players we always covered ourselves in glory with refs and also at a big club we all feel entitled and you have to leave and retire to be able to see that.
"Arsenal’s letter and even the Liverpool statement a few weeks ago (they [Liverpool] had a genuine bad one v them) are wrong. Do it privately. If I was [PGMOL Chief Refereeing Officer] Howard Webb, I would stop apologising to them and get on with it. Managers and players make far more mistakes than refs!"
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Carragher posted similar sentiments on X, writing: "That Arsenal statement & complaints from their manager about the officials & VAR, on the Newcastle goal, is way over the top!"
The loss to Newcastle leaves Arsenal three points off Premier League leaders Manchester City after 11 games.
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