Ferdinand joins calls for VAR consistency after Arsenal denied penalty

Mikel Arteta’s No 2 Albert Stuivenberg jokes he hopes the isolating boss has a good insurance policy through fear he had smashed up his TV after Arsenal were denied a ‘clear’ penalty before Man City scored from the spot in loss

  • Arsenal slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Man City in a game marred by controversy 
  • The Gunners had taken the lead through Bukayo Saka’s opening first-half strike
  • City equalised from the spot after Granit Xhaka’s challenge on Bernardo Silva
  • Referee Stuart Attwell overturned his on-field decision after a VAR check
  • Arsenal were furious at being denied a ‘clear’ penalty for similar challenge

Premier League officiating is being severely criticised again with managers, players and pundits venting their frustration at ‘inconsistent’ interventions by VAR.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was furious at being denied a ‘clear’ penalty only then to concede one that Riyad Mahrez converted in the defeat by Manchester City.

Arteta’s defender Gabriel was sent off reportedly for asking the referee Stuart Attwell why he was not asked to check the first incident but did revisit the second one, before overturning his initial decision not to penalise Granit Xhaka’s challenge on Bernardo Silva.

Arsenal defender Gabriel was sent off reportedly for asking the referee Stuart Attwell why one incident was checked by VAR and not another in the Gunners’ defeat by Man City

The Gunners were 1-0 up when Granit Xhaka challenged Bernardo Silva inside the box

Rio Ferdinand, analysing the game for BT Sport, was also irritated by the perceived inconsistency.

‘I am confused,’ former England defender Ferdinand said. 

‘I do not understand how with VAR how it [the Arsenal penalty shout] is not given. It is clear and obvious. It gets on my nerves, it clouds everything. No way to justify looking at one but not the other.’

Arsenal felt they should have been awarded a spot-kick after City keeper Ederson collided with Martin Odegaard.

After consulting the VAR pitchside monitor, referee Attwell awarded the visitors a penalty

Arteta, isolating at home after testing positive for Covid, relayed his feelings to assistant Albert Stuivenberg who took control of the team at the stadium. The Dutch coach said he hoped Arteta had a good home insurance policy through fear he had smashed up his TV set.

He added: ‘I have spoken to Mikel and we thought we had a clear penalty in the first half, at least a moment for referee to check, as he did with their penalty. At least be consistent. It is confusing and very frustrating.

‘Confusing is the right word. We are looking for consistency here. For me the Odegaard moment is a clear penalty.

The Gunners were livid Ederson’s challenge on Martin Odegaard earlier had not been checked 

‘If there is any consistency you would say bring the referee to check. That didn’t happen.’

Gabriel was sent off after being shown two yellow cards in quick succession, the first for dissent and the second for a foul on Gabriel Jesus.

Stuivenberg added: ‘Gabriel told me he made a normal remark to the referee, no bad language, asking why he had not checked our penalty appeal in the first half.

‘After that it doesn’t matter. if you have a yellow card you must control your emotions better.

‘You cannot take the risk. Young players have to learn and we have young players.’

Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale argued: ‘On the penalties, I don’t know why the referee is told to see one and not the other on the screen. It is there for a reason, go and use it. It is the inconsistency. The whole point is to help the game out, in real time it didn’t look like one and slow it down on a screen and it is given.’

Rodri compounded Arsenal’s heartbreak as he scored the winner for City in stoppage time

City manager Pep Guardiola admitted his team were fortunate to win against a side who had outplayed them until the red card.

‘Arsenal were the better team and we know what it means to beat them in this moment,’ Guardiola said.

‘I didn’t see their penalty as they did not show it on the screen.

‘They showed it for us for Bernardo’s. Bernardo’s is a penalty but I could not see the Odegaard one, so I do not know.’  

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