Harry Kane put Spurs in front from the penalty spot on 22 minutes after Cedric Soares was adjudged to have fouled Son Heung-Min in the box. The England captain then doubled Tottenham’s advantage 15 minutes later with a close-ranger header.
In between, Rob Holding was sent off for a second yellow card offence after two challenges on Son and although the South Korean international added a third early in the second half, Arteta turned his attentions on the officiating following a result that leaves them just one point above Tottenham occupying the final Champions League qualification spot in the Premier League.
“If I say what I think I’ll be suspended for six months,” said Arteta. “I’m allowed to give my interpretation of what happened in the game, but I don’t know how to lie so I prefer not to say what I think.
“I cannot say what I think. I’ll be suspended. I’m proud of my players. You can ask the referee to come in front of the camera to explain his decisions. His decisions. It’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today.”
However, Conte launched a withering attack on Arteta citing the Spaniard’s previous comments over Arsenal’s fixture scheduling and the original postponement of this game when the Gunners successfully asked for the game to be moved under the Premier League’s COVID-19 regulations in January despite having just one case at the time.
“Mikel Arteta is a really good coach. He has just started to do this job and I think that I listen to him complain a lot,” Conte said.
“I think that he has to be focused more to his team and not to go to complain because he has just started this work. I think that he has to be calm and try to continue to work because he is very good but to listen to a coach complain a lot of times is not good. It’s OK. The red card for me was clear.”
“Don’t forget against Liverpool, I said nothing what happened with Fabinho, no? If we want to complain, we have the possibility every game to speak about the referee, the decision, about a postponed game,” he continued. “I think this is my advice, if he wants to accept my advice is good. Otherwise, I don’t care.
“I think he can become an important coach in the future but in six months, I have listened to him complain a lot. I repeat: it is only advice, nothing else because he is very good.
“If you remember, he complained about the fixture and also at the time, it is not good to complain because Arsenal were good to postpone a game in an incredible way for positive COVID and they had only one player with COVID. I didn’t forget this.”
Conte hinted at his frustration over having to play Burnley on Sunday lunchtime, a day before Arsenal travel to Newcastle for their next game.
“But if we want to complain, we have a lot of possibility to complain about why I have to play on Sunday at 12 p.m. and Arsenal has to play Monday at night,” he said. “Then they have one day more rest and we play Leicester, Liverpool, Arsenal and now after only two days we have to play [again]. And we have to play the first game at 12 p.m.”