Why Arsenal had 4 handball appeals turned down towards Bournemouth

By Sunday morning, Arsenal’s breathless 3-2 victory over Bournemouth the afternoon earlier than shall be remembered for the left-footed belter Reiss Nelson thrashed into the highest nook in 97th minute.

Philip Billing could also be afforded a footnote for kicking the competition off with the second-fastest aim in Premier League historical past. But Marcos Senesi’s header, Thomas Partey’s tap-in and Ben White’s equaliser will already be fading into the background.

However, had Nelson not produced a strike fairly so candy, Arsenal followers could have been tramping away from the Emirates Stadium with only one level to savour whereas questioning the intervention – or lack thereof – from VAR as soon as once more.

Just three weeks in the past, the VAR appearing on Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Brentford failed to identify that Christian Norgaard had strayed offside earlier than teeing up the guests’ equaliser. While not one of the non-decisions towards Bournemouth have been unhealthy sufficient to lose John Brooks his job, a destiny Lee Mason suffered after the Brentford debacle, they have been actually contentious.

Here’s every thing it’s essential know concerning the 4 separate handball appeals Arsenal had waved away towards Bournemouth.


Arsenal fell behind to Billing’s opener inside ten seconds however dominated possession and territory thereafter. Bournemouth did properly to blunt their hosts within the first half however have been helped by a form eye from VAR after half an hour.

Bournemouth’s Chris Mepham jumped with Fabio Vieira for a header however missed the ball, letting it drop on his outstretched arm contained in the penalty field earlier than hurriedly clearing.

According to the most recent legal guidelines of the sport, which clearly define that any a part of the arm under the underside of the armpit can’t be used, the ball landed on an unlawful a part of Mepham’s physique.

The defender could have made his physique “unnaturally larger” however VAR clearly deemed that the place of his arm was “a consequence of, or justifiable by, the participant’s physique motion for that particular state of affairs”. Essentially, the act of leaping pressured his arm out the place it was struck by the ball.

Gabriel Martinelli, Jack Stephens

Jack Stephens (proper) made ten clearances towards Arsenal for Bournemouth, together with one suspicious block / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Senesi put Bournemouth 2-0 up after half-time however Thomas Partey and Ben White hauled Arsenal degree with 20 minutes to play. Shortly after the equaliser, Bukayo Saka carried out a outstanding piece of wriggling talent to sneak in direction of the byline, blasting the ball again right into a crowded six-yard field.

At the entrance of the queue was Jack Stephens. Bournemouth’s central centre-back deflected Saka’s cutback onto the put up however appeared to lean into the ball along with his arm. Saka instantly appealed for a penalty, slapping his personal limb fiercely within the course of the referee however neither the on-pitch official nor his video-assisted colleagues paid a lot consideration.

This incident – which can not have been examined by VAR – is extra sophisticated because the ball strikes the t-shirt line of Stephens’ arm, simply on the cusp of whether or not it may very well be deemed handball.

Furthermore, Stephens shifts his complete weight in direction of the ball moderately than protruding an elbow and so may make an inexpensive argument that he did not make himself “unnaturally larger”. Either approach, Stephens did not need to state his case as Saka’s appeals fell on deaf ears.

Arsenal continued to pile the stress on Bournemouth, registering 30 photographs by the ultimate whistle – probably the most of any group in a single Premier League match this season. Two of these efforts gave the impression to be blocked by the arms of Bournemouth defenders in speedy succession.

Martin Odegaard was accountable for 11 of Arsenal’s makes an attempt, 5 of which struck a Bournemouth defender earlier than reaching the web. Senesi, because the above picture on the left reveals, diverted considered one of these efforts away from aim along with his proper arm.

This is probably probably the most egregious neglected resolution for Arsenal because the defender clearly makes his physique “unnaturally larger” in an try and cease Odegaard from scoring. VAR could have deemed that this was not a transparent and apparent error however Arsenal will surely have been arguing that it was had Nelson not rescued the Gunners on the dying.

Gabriel Magalhaes had the second effort within the eightieth minute. Forward for a nook, the deceptively prolific centre-back nudged a header in direction of aim which Billing fairly actually palmed away. There is nothing within the legal guidelines which permits for self-preservation, which can have been in Billing’s thoughts with a ball flying in direction of his face, however the Dane could have escaped punishment due to the shut proximity to Gabriel’s preliminary effort.

In the top, VAR’s inaction did not value Arsenal on Saturday afternoon – this time.

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