- Anthony Gordon’s winner against Arsenal went through three VAR checks
- Mikel Arteta branded the decision to allow the goal to stand ‘a disgrace’
- It’s a three-team title race… Toney could lead Arsenal to glory: It’s All Kicking Off
The Gunners boss said he felt ’embarrassed’ and ‘sick’ that Anthony Gordon‘s winning goal earlier this month was awarded – a ‘disgrace’ according to Arteta. The Spaniard was supported by a strongly-worded statement from his club.
But after reviewing the three disputed incidents that preceded Gordon’s goal, Webb concluded that the right call had been made.
Speaking on the ‘Match Officials Mic’d Up’ programme shown on Sky Sports and TNT Sports, Webb explained: ‘The VAR went through that diligently and identified no clear evidence to intervene to overturn the goal. The process actually was correct.
‘It was an unusual situation with three aspects for the VAR to check whether the on-field decision of goal should be overturned.’
Howard Webb insists VAR was right to allow Anthony Gordon’s controversial winner for Newcastle against Arsenal
The Newcastle winger scored the only goal as the Magpies beat Arsenal 1-0 in a controversial clash
One of the most scrutinised aspects of the decision was the challenge by Joelinton on Gabriel immediately before Gordon turned the ball home. Webb added: ‘It could be a foul, it might be a foul.
‘The VAR decides the evidence from the footage isn’t clear enough to intervene for a review for a clear error. The opinion that it split after a lot of analysis since the situation suggests that was a correct non-intervention because of the subjectivity.’
Neither Kai Havertz nor Bruno Guimaraes was shown a red card for poor challenges, which Webb judged was incorrect. ‘Going forward we would expect red cards in those situations,’ he said.
Wolves boss Gary O’Neil has had more reason than most to be frustrated with officials as a number of calls have gone against his side.
In their 2-2 draw with Newcastle on October 28, Fabian Schar was awarded a penalty when he tumbled near Hwang Hee-chan, even though the Wolves man did not appear to make serious contact with his opponent. Webb said Anthony Taylor’s on-field decision should have been overturned and advised VAR officials to ask more questions of their colleagues on the field.
He said: ‘We feel this reached the threshold for being a clear and obvious error. We are asking VARs to have a look and if they don’t like the situation on the field, to ask the referee what they have seen.
‘If it’s significantly different to what is being shown on the video, they should ask the referee to go to the screen and look again. The VAR didn’t quite get there this time and in our opinion he should have done.’
The first issue VAR checked was whether Joe Willock managed to keep the ball in play
VAR then examined whether Joelinton (bottom right) had fouled Gabriel in the build-up
The third check was to establish whether Anthony Gordon was in an offside position
Though one of the greatest frustrations for supporters is the length of time taken by VAR to make decisions, Webb made no commitment to bringing semi-automated offside technology to the Premier League.
The system is deployed in various leagues around Europe, including Italy’s Serie A, but Webb was lukewarm when asked about it, saying only that the Premier League is ‘open-minded to all technology that can make us more accurate and efficient.
‘We are doing testing behind the scenes and keeping a close eye on other competitions. We will take decisions on the best way to go forward.’
Webb admitted Kai Havertz and Bruno Guimaraes should have been sent off during the game