Howard Webb has confirmed that two red cards should have been handed out in Newcastle’s controversial win over Arsenal earlier this month. The match was fraught with controversy over the use of VAR, mainly due to Anthony Gordon’s winning goal being allowed to stand in spite of a potential foul in the build-up.
The match officials were also criticised for only showing Kai Havertz a yellow card for a full-blooded lunge on Sean Longstaff, while Bruno Guimaraes went unpunished for striking Jorginho in the head with his arm in a separate incident. PGMOL chief Webb has since confirmed that both players should have been sent off in another low point for VAR in the Premier League this season.
Speaking on Match Officials Mic’d Up, Webb said: “Quite a busy game wasn’t it? A couple of situations, that in the cold-light-of-day analysis that we go through, going forward, we would expect red cards in both of those situations.”
The challenge by Havertz saw him receive a yellow card, with referee Stuart Attwell sticking with his initial decision after a brief VAR review. Meanwhile, the Guimaraes incident was not spotted by the on-field officials but was checked over by VAR, who did not deem it worthy of a red card at the time.
Another controversial moment at St James’ Park saw Gordon’s decisive goal being allowed to stand after three aspects of the build-up were checked by VAR. The officials at Stockley Park looked for evidence of the ball going out of play, a possible foul on Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes and a potential handball by Joelinton before confirming Attwell’s on-field decision to award the goal.
The decision left Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta incensed after the full-time whistle but Webb has confirmed that the process was followed correctly by the VAR team. He explained: “The ball hasn’t got a lot of pace as it goes to the goal line, so he’s looking right down the line better than any of our cameras. And we know the ball is curved, so it can be over-hanging the line and we need evidence it’s out, and we don’t have that here.
“The ball then comes over and Joelinton challenges Gabriel, and it could be a foul, might be a foul. The VAR decides that the evidence from the footage isn’t clear enough to intervene with a recommendation for a review for a clear error. I think the talks we’ve seen after, the opinion that is split across a lot of analysis, would suggest that was a correct non-intervention because of the subjectivity.
“And then one of those unusual situations where the ball goes between two players, and trying to identify exactly when the ball leaves Joelinton, is really difficult to establish because of the players being so close together. So again, no conclusive evidence that Gordon was offside when the ball was last touched. The VAR went through that diligently and identified no clear evidence to intervene to overturn the goal, the process was actually correct.”
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