Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has come to the defence of Santi Cazorla after his teammate was accused of diving to win a penalty in the 2-0 win over West Brom.
Cazorla fell under pressure from Steven Reid midway through the first half, with referee Mike Jones awarding the spot-kick, but replays suggested that there was minimal contact between the two midfielders.
The contentious decision proved to be vital as West Brom was unable to overturn the deficit, with the home side eventually scoring another penalty to put the result beyond doubt – and Arteta was keen to jump to his countryman’s defense.
"Santi is not a player who dives. He has taken a lot this year because of the way he plays," he told reporters. "If he has done it [is] because he felt something and changed direction. But he is not that sort of player."
The 30-year-old midfielder confirmed that Cazorla felt he had been impeded and backed the midfielder’s decision to go to ground if he felt contact, but was quick to underline his own views on diving as a whole.
"I haven't seen the replay. Santi was saying that he felt something. The ref makes decisions, some right and some wrong," he continued. "If there is a little [contact], it is contact. For me, it is not right to dive."
Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
- Sports & Recreation
- West Brom