Dale JohnsonGeneral Editor, ESPN FCNov 10, 2023, 12:01 AM3 Minute Read
The Premier League’s Independent Key Match Incidents Panel has ruled that the referee and the VAR were correct to award Newcastle United’s winning goal against Arsenal on Saturday — but the officials missed two red cards.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was furious that Anthony Gordon’s winning goal was allowed to stand by referee Stuart Attwell, with three separate VAR checks for the ball being out of play, a foul on Gabriel by Joelinton and offside against the goal scorer. On all three checks the VAR, Andy Madley, could not find conclusive evidence of an offense.
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Arsenal as a club doubled down on their criticism of the referee on Sunday, issuing a statement in support of Arteta.
The panel’s findings, seen by ESPN, said on a 4-1 vote that “although Joelinton does have his hands on Gabriel, there isn’t enough to award a foul as Gabriel had made an action to play the ball before any contact,” while also upholding the view there wasn’t enough proof to cancel the goal on the two factual offenses.
However, the panel was unanimous that Kai Havertz should have been sent off for Arsenal in the 36th minute for his challenge on Sean Longstaff as it was “a very dangerous challenge and the type of tackle that needs to be eradicated” — a decision which would have altered the direction of the game.
Bruno Guimarães’ arm to the head of Arsenal’s Jorginho in the 45th minute was also a missed red card, but on a split 3-2 decision.
The panel has five members, made up of three former players and/or coaches, plus one representative each from the Premier League and PGMOL. It was set up at the start of last season to give an independent assessment of decision-making rather than relying on the views of PGMOL or the clubs themselves. The judgment is intended to provide an arm’s-length assessment of all major match incidents.
Elsewhere, the decision to award a mach-winning injury-time penalty to Sheffield United against Wolverhampton Wanderers was also unanimously viewed to be incorrect — the second time the VAR has incorrectly failed to overturn a spot kick against Gary O’Neil’s side in consecutive weeks.
All other refereeing decisions last weekend, including those in the Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea game, were assessed as being correct.