Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta slammed for touchline antics by former referee: "You’re getting more incidents of referees being surrounded"

Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal, gives the team instructions during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15, 2023 in London, England.
(Image credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta could endanger referees with the way he acts on the touchline during matches.

That's according to former Premier League official Graham Poll who was unimpressed with the Basque boss's behaviour during the North London Derby, which the Gunners won 2-0. The game was marred by a series of refereeing decisions that Poll didn't agree with, culminating in Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale being attacked by a Spurs fan at full-time.

Now, Poll says that Arteta needs to act in a more civilised manner to ensure that referees aren't surrounded while making decisions. 

Graham Poll says Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is getting "over-involved"

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hugs Bukayo Saka after the Gunners' derby win over Tottenham in January 2023.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hugs Bukayo Saka after the Gunners' derby win over Tottenham (Image credit: Getty Images)

"I'm not a fan of the style of refereeing at the moment, it's a bit too weak for me," Poll said, speaking to CasinosEnLigne (opens in new tab). "As a result of that, you’re getting more and more incidents where referees are surrounded. Managers are getting over-involved. Look at Arteta yesterday having recently faced two charges, one of which was for him, yet he was still outside his technical area all the time and even entered the field of play.

"I'm hoping Howard comes in with a fresh eye and tightens things up. I’m not saying I want to see five red cards in a game but things need to be stepped up and hopefully they will be."

Poll, perhaps most famous for showing three yellow cards (opens in new tab) to one player at World Cup 2006, officiated at two World Cups, Euro 2000 and the 2005 UEFA Cup Final. He believes that referee Craig Pawson could have done more during the North London Derby, singling out both Cristian Romero and Aaron Ramsdale as examples of players who could have been punished for different reasons. 

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale is pulled away to celebrate the Gunners' win at Tottenham following an altercation with a Spurs fan at the end of the north London derby.

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale is pulled away to celebrate the Gunners' win at Tottenham following an altercation with a Spurs fan at the end of the north London derby (Image credit: Getty Images)

"For me, Romero should have been sent off," Poll said. "He was involved in too many incidents which were highlighted by the Sky Sports commentary team saying 'he could be off here and if not this time he’s got to go next time'. 

"He then made another two or three clear fouls and he was very lucky to stay in the pitch in my view. However, because Arsenal won 2-0 the Arsenal fans don’t care and that's how a referee can get lucky.

"The law that a goalkeeper can only hold the ball for six seconds is another one I would like enforced more. Keepers are never penalised. Ramsdale was magnificent but as soon as he catches the ball he falls to the ground. He then waves all the players up. They all do it. It’s infuriating."

Poll also weighed in to criticise Pep Guardiola for suggesting that refs were biased at Old Trafford towards Manchester United.

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.