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Evening Standard

Mikel Arteta furious with referee for ‘destroying’ north London derby as Arsenal fall to heavy defeat

Mikel Arteta refused to comment on referee Paul Tierney’s performance after Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Tottenham, claiming he would be “suspended for six months” if he aired his opinion on the official’s decisions.

Spurs took the lead through Harry Kane’s penalty after Tierney penalised Cedric Soares for a push on Heung-min Son before Rob Holding earned a second yellow card following two fouls on the South Korean.

Kane added a second before the interval and Son made it 3-0 within seconds of the restart as Spurs moved to within a point of their fourth-placed rivals with two games to play.

“If I say what I think I am suspended for six months. I don’t know how to lie so I prefer not to say what I think,” Arteta told Sky Sports.

“I cannot say what I think.

“I am not unhappy with my players. I am proud of my players. I want the referees to come in front of the camera and explain his decisions. It’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today.

“The decision was made. We can’t change it. The referee has to make a decision in football.”

Holding deputised again for Ben White, who was only fit enough for the bench after a hamstring injury, but he will now be suspended for Monday’s game at Newcastle.

Arsenal will go into the match trailing Spurs if Antonio Conte’s side win at home to Burnley on Sunday lunchtime.

“To take that risk [of bringing on Ben White] in the situation of the game made no sense,” Arteta added.

“Our focus is Newcastle. This game is history. He felt something so hopefully Ben will be fit and Gabriel will recover as we do not have enough players in the backline.

“This game is history. Now it’s Newcastle. This is gone. It went out of our hands and we have to accept it. 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.

“We have two games to play each. It’s in our hands and now we have to do our jobs. We showed from the beginning in this game.”

Arsenal finish the season at home to Everton, while Spurs travel to already-relegated Norwich.