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By Sunday morning, Arsenal’s breathless 3-2 win over Bournemouth the earlier afternoon will probably be remembered for left-footed Reiss Nelson putting into the highest nook within the 97th minute.
Philip Billing could also be awarded a footnote for beginning the competition with the second quickest purpose in Premier League historical past. However Marcos Senesi’s header, Thomas Partey’s shot and Ben White’s equalizing purpose will fade into the background.
Nevertheless, if Nelson hadn’t produced such a candy purpose, Arsenal followers may need walked away from Emirates Stadium with only one level to savor as they questioned the intervention, or lack thereof, of VAR but once more.
Simply three weeks in the past, VAR monitoring Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Brentford didn’t detect that Christian Norgaard had deviated from offside earlier than scoring the equalizer for the guests. Whereas not one of the non-decisions in opposition to Bournemouth have been unhealthy sufficient to lose John Brooks’ job – a destiny Lee Mason suffered after the Brentford debacle – they have been actually contentious.
This is the whole lot it is advisable to know concerning the 4 separate handball appeals that Arsenal had rejected in opposition to Bournemouth.
Arsenal fell behind to Billing’s opening purpose by ten seconds, however dominated possession and territory thereafter. Bournemouth did properly to outsmart their hosts within the first half, however have been helped by a eager eye on VAR after half an hour.
Bournemouth’s Chris Mepham leaped with Fabio Vieira for a header however missed the ball, dropping it onto his outstretched arm contained in the penalty space earlier than making a fast clearance.
In accordance with the newest legal guidelines of the sport, which clearly state that no a part of the arm could also be used beneath the underside of the armpit, the ball landed on an unlawful a part of Mepham’s physique.
The defender might have made his physique “greater than regular”, however VAR clearly thought of his arm place to be “a consequence or justifiable by the motion of the participant’s physique for that particular state of affairs”. Basically, the act of leaping compelled his arm out the place he was hit by the ball.
Senesi put Bournemouth 2–0 up after half time, however Thomas Partey and Ben White introduced Arsenal to an equalizer with 20 minutes remaining. Shortly after the tie, Bukayo Saka displayed a exceptional skill to slip to the top line, lobbing the ball again right into a crowded six-yard field.
On the head of the road was Jack Stephens. The Bournemouth central defender deflected Saka’s lower to the publish, however he appeared to lean into the ball along with his arm. Saka instantly appealed for a penalty, kicking his personal limb ferociously within the course of the referee, however neither the on-field official nor his video-assisted colleagues paid a lot consideration.
This incident, which can not have been examined by VAR, is extra difficult because the ball hits the shirt line of Stephens’s arm, proper on the cusp of whether or not it might be thought of a handball.
Additionally, Stephens shifts all of his weight onto the ball as a substitute of protruding an elbow, so you might fairly argue that he did not get “greater than regular.” Both method, Stephens did not need to make his case as Saka’s appeals fell on deaf ears.
Arsenal continued to stress Bournemouth, registering 30 pictures earlier than the ultimate whistle, essentially the most by any workforce in a single Premier League recreation this season. Two of these efforts gave the impression to be blocked by the arms of the Bournemouth defenders in fast succession.
Martin Odegaard was chargeable for 11 of Arsenal’s tries, 5 of which hit a Bournemouth defender earlier than reaching the web. Senesi, because the picture above left reveals, deflected certainly one of these makes an attempt away from the purpose along with his proper arm.
That is maybe essentially the most egregious ignored resolution for Arsenal, because the defender clearly makes his physique “greater than regular” in an try to stop Odegaard from scoring. VAR might have deemed this not a transparent and apparent mistake, however Arsenal would definitely have argued that it was if Nelson hadn’t rescued the Gunners in loss of life.
Gabriel Magalhaes had the second effort within the eightieth minute. Lead for a nook, the deceptively prolific centre-back pushed a header in the direction of purpose that Billing actually deflected away with the palm of his hand. There may be nothing within the regulation to permit for self-preservation, which can have been on Billing’s thoughts with a ball flying into his face, however the Dane might have escaped punishment as a result of proximity of Gabriel’s opening effort.
In the long run, VAR inaction didn’t value Arsenal on Saturday afternoon, this time.
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Why Arsenal had four handball appeals turned down against Bournemouth