Mikel Arteta and Martin Odegaard criticised the decision to disallow Gabriel Martinelli’s goal in Arsenal’s defeat at Manchester United, but Roy Keane says he is “fed up with their excuses”.
Arsenal thought they had taken a 12th-minute lead when Martinelli finished superbly after being played through by Bukayo Saka after Christian Eriksen had been robbed of possession by Odegaard.
But the goal was disallowed after VAR Lee Mason advised referee Paul Tierney to check the pitchside monitor, where he ruled Eriksen had been fouled by Arsenal’s captain in the build-up.
The Gunners went on to lose 3-1 at Old Trafford as their 100 per cent start to the season was ended, but Arsenal boss Arteta says the Martinelli decision was “difficult to accept”.
He told Sky Sports: “It’s a lack of consistency. What is soft? Last week, they [Aston Villa] got a goal when there’s a foul on Aaron (Ramsdale), but it’s soft and it’s not a foul.
“Then there’s a penalty on Bukayo [Saka, by Tyrone Mings] but it’s soft and not a penalty. Today this is a foul.
“There were some strong tackles and no yellow cards because the threshold is low because it’s a big game. It’s really difficult to accept.”
Odegaard believes he challenged Eriksen fairly and the goal should have stood amid a weekend dominated by controversial VAR decisions.
“In my opinion, it’s never a foul,” the Norway midfielder told Sky Sports. “The referee sees it and plays play on.
“It’s a soft challenge and for VAR to come in it has to be clear and obvious. That’s been said a lot of times.
“On the camera, you can always make it look a little bit worse, but, for me, that was never a foul so it’s frustrating.”
Keane: Arteta’s a sore loser
Goals from Marcus Rashford and debutant Antony ended Arsenal’s winning start to the season, and former United midfielder Roy Keane was left unimpressed by the Gunners’ complaints.
“I’m fed up with all their excuses,” he told Sky Sports. “Arteta gets interviewed after the game, he’s a sore loser – and we all are. But he has to give a bit of credit to Manchester United and he never does.
“Every time they lose a game, it’s about what they didn’t do properly or the officials, stop making excuses.
“You lost the game 3-1, you got the plaudits but I’ll take the points every day of the week.”
But fellow Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes the result would have been different had the Brazilian’s goal been given.
Asked if the disallowed Martinelli goal would have changed the game, he told Sky Sports: “One hundred per cent.
“Man United couldn’t have played any better in the first 10 minutes, they controlled the game, passed the ball and moved and if Arsenal went away and went 1-0 up, you would have seen the reaction.
“Even though the goal wasn’t allowed, you saw the next 20 or 30 minutes, Man United were shell-shocked.”
Social media reacts to VAR’s tough weekend…
PGMOL acknowledges VAR calls at Chelsea, Newcastle as mistakes
The Martinelli decision comes after referees’ body PGMOL acknowledged the VAR incidents at Chelsea and Newcastle on Saturday were mistakes, after the Premier League asked the officiating board to investigate them.
Saturday’s Premier League action was marred by a series of decisions that were either overturned thanks to the intervention of VAR or not given despite the presence of the review system, which infuriated managers of multiple teams, who were unable to contain their feelings post-match.
After the Premier League called for an investigation into the circumstances around key decisions at Stamford Bridge and St James’ Park, Sky Sports News understands the PGMOL believes errors were made in the incidents that denied West Ham and Newcastle goals.
In west London, West Ham were denied a late equaliser when Maxwel Cornet’s goal was chalked off after a VAR review judged that Jarrod Bowen had fouled Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in the build-up.
Hammers midfielder Declan Rice later called it “one of the worst VAR decisions since it came into the game”.
Meanwhile, in the North East, Newcastle had what would have been a winning goal disallowed for a foul by Joe Willock on Crystal Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita – despite Tyrick Mitchell pushing Willock into Guaita.
Other incidents on Saturday included:
- Leeds not being awarded a penalty for a tackle on Crysencio Summerville by Aaron Hickey in their defeat at Brentford.
- Philippe Coutinho’s goal against Manchester City being disallowed after the assistant referee incorrectly flagged for offside, with VAR unable to overturn the decision as the whistle was blown before the ball went in.
There have been other flashpoints over the first weeks of the season. Chelsea were the victims of an incorrect call last month, with Mike Dean – who was on VAR duty at the time – later admitting he should have advised a red card for Spurs defender Cristian Romero after he pulled Marc Cucurella’s hair at a corner.