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Arsenal call for VAR consistency after Man City defeat

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VAR played a big part in Man City's win at Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdale and Arsenal assistant Albert Stuivenberg complained about a lack of consistency with the use of VAR in Saturday’s eventful clash with Manchester City.

The Gunners felt hard done by after they were denied a penalty in the first half when Ederson was adjudged to have got the ball when he lunged in on Martin Odegaard, before City were awarded a spot-kick of their own following a VAR check shortly after the restart.

Bernardo Silva went down under the challenge of Granit Xhaka, with referee Stuart Attwell changing his decision not to award a penalty after going to the pitch-side monitor.

Riyad Mahrez coolly drilled home to cancel out Bukayo Saka’s opener, before Gabriel Magalhaes was handed a second booking in swift succession for a foul on Gabriel Jesus.

Arsenal were furious at the two decisions, and their anger turned to despair late on when Rodri was on hand to prod home a dramatic winner.

While Arsenal should perhaps consider their own indiscipline – Gabriel’s dismissal took the Gunners to 100 red cards in the Premier League, the first team to reach that tally – goalkeeper Ramsdale hit out at the use of the video technology.

“I am basing it on both penalties – the inconsistency of going to the screen, the referee might have ruled it out straight away when he looked at it,” Ramsdale told BBC Sport.

“But it is the fact he went to look at it. Both in real time he said no penalty, but only gets told to look at one. Theirs was soft for me, but he gets told to look and has given it.

“I am at the other end of the pitch for our penalty shout. The goalkeeper comes out with his foot and he either catches him or the ball. The Bernardo one, he stood him up and it got given. Penalties are penalties, but for us it is getting told to look at the screen.”

No Premier League team has seen more players sent off than Arsenal (11) since Mikel Arteta took charge of his first game on Boxing Day 2019, though the Spaniard was not on the touchline on Saturday as he has contracted COVID-19.

Stuivenberg stood in for Arteta, who was in communication with his coaching staff constantly throughout the match, and the Arsenal assistant echoed Ramsdale’s complaints.

“We are very frustrated with the outcome if you play a game like this against one of the best teams in the world. At the end to have zero points is frustrating because we should have won the game,” he told BBC Sport.

“I think it [should have been] a penalty [to Arsenal] but I am looking for consistency. We have VAR in place so why not check yourself as a referee? That did not happen so it is disappointing.”

Reflecting on Gabriel’s sending off, with the bookings coming in the space of 78 seconds – the first one having been for scuffing up the penalty spot before Mahrez’s spot-kick – Stuivenberg conceded Arsenal showed a lack of composure.

“It is something we have to learn, we have young players in the team and have to control our emotion,” he said.

“I am not sure the first yellow is because of that [scuffing the penalty spot], I cannot ask the question to the referee now. If you are on a yellow you have to be smarter.”

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