Arsenal were left to lament their VAR gaffe in their 1-0 loss to Newcastle United, with head coach Mikel Arteta likely to be enraged by the events that followed in a tense encounter at St James’ Park.
The Gunners were in command of the game until a Kai Havertz challenge ratcheted up the tension.
But, despite few chances to score, Anthony Gordon put the hosts ahead on 63 minutes, and the goal was upheld after a lengthy VAR review for a probable ball off the pitch, foul, and offside.
Although Arsenal had the best of the first half, tempers flared after Kai Havertz was merely booked for a 36-minute challenge on Sean Longstaff, following which three Newcastle players, including Longstaff, were cautioned for dissent.
Referee Stuart Attwell lost control of the game in the latter moments of the first quarter, when Bruno Guimaraes seemed to elbow Jorginho before booting the ball at Havertz and shoving Declan Rice.
It will be interesting to watch how the Premier League and PGMOL explain yet another VAR gaffe after Bruno Guimaraes was exceedingly fortunate to avoid a red card for an off-the-ball incident with Jorginho.
The Brazilian obviously extended his arm to strike Jorginho in the head, and the Italy midfielder collapsed clutching his head. Despite a thorough VAR investigation, no additional action was taken. Gary Neville was unimpressed.
“That’s not good,” the Sky Sports commentator stated of the incident. He has gotten away with it. “VAR took a long, long look at it,” he explained. “I believe he is having a lucky day. That is not acceptable to me.”
It comes just days after Arteta stated that Arsenal could not use VAR as an excuse for their 3-1 Carabao Cup loss to West Ham. Only four days later, he was left to lament its intervention, or lack thereof, in penalizing him.
After David Raya got caught in no man’s land under substitute Joe Willock’s cross, Gordon snuck home from close range, and Joelinton beat Gabriel in the air.
VAR was meant to examine for the ball moving out of play, a foul by Joelinton on Gabriel, and an offside line being drawn, but there was no other angle to draw the lines against Gordon, so the goal remained.
The Gunners, on the other hand, enjoyed the majority of possession in both half, took 11 unsuccessful corners, and mustered only one attempt on goal. Arteta’s team was fundamentally good, as they always are, but they lacked Martin Odegaard’s creativity in midfield and Gabriel Jesus’ cutting edge in attack.
Arsenal’s title chances have taken a hit as they are now three points behind City, who defeated AFC Bournemouth 6-1 at the Etihad.