Manchester City’s 3-3 draw with Tottenham ended in incensed for the champions, as Pep Guardiola declared he would not make a “Mikel Arteta comment” and Erling Haaland wrote “wtf” on X after referee, Simon Hooper, stopped play when Jack Grealish had a clear opportunity to score in added time.
After the game was stopped by Hooper due to a foul on Haaland, the Norwegian’s pass allowed Grealish to get past the Spurs defense. The referee was surrounded by enraged City players, possibly leading to a charge from the Football Association. Guardiola then argued with the fourth official. After Hooper blew for time, a visibly upset Haaland left the field.
Guardiola, asked about the incident, responded pointedly. “Next question,” he said. “I will not do a Mikel Arteta comment. It is hard when you review the image: the referee decides to blow the whistle after he has already said to play on. After the pass, the whistle, so I do not understand this action.”
Guardiola was alluding to Arteta’s remarks following the approval of Anthony Gordon’s winning goal for Newcastle against Arsenal following three video assistant reviews. The choice was deemed “an absolute disgrace” by Arteta.
City’s manager was more forthcoming when asked about Haaland’s reaction at the end. “It’s normal,” he said. “His reaction was the same for 10 players. The rules are you cannot talk with the referees or fourth officials so we should have had 10 players sent off today. He’s a little bit disappointed. Even the referee, if he played for Man City today, he would be disappointed for that action, that’s for sure.”
Guardiola refused to blame the decision for the result. “I make mistakes, the players make mistakes. I don’t want to criticize him. On the touchline sometimes I lose my mind and my gestures are not proper but here normally for many years as a manager I’m not a guy when I’m refreshed [calm] to comment. But I would say we didn’t draw for that.”
Haaland captioned a video of the incident on X with the words “wtf.” Only if the FA determines that they have questioned the integrity of the referee will it likely press charges against him or Guardiola. Son Heung-min opened the score in the exciting game after six minutes, and the Spurs captain’s own goal tied the score three minutes later. Phil Foden gave City the lead, Giovani Lo Celso tied the score after the interval, Grealish made it 3-2, and a goal from Dejan Kulusevski shared the points.
At halftime, Ange Postecoglou expressed his displeasure. When Sky Sports pressed the Spurs manager for more details, he responded: “There would probably only be a few words I can say. Joking aside, it was more trying to get the players to believe in themselves rather than anger at them.”