It seems, at times, that there’s nothing the media love more than to whinge that Arsenal shouldn’t have won when they’ve pulled off something dramatic.

When United or City do it’s the sign of Champions, regardless of how it happens (decisions even out, remember?) but when it’s Arsenal?

Well, that’s a different story.

So, it’s no surprise that the narrative that’s building is regarding the Arsenal goal and whether it should have been disallowed due to a handball from Laurent Koscielny.

In a word, no. No. No. No.

Handball has to be deliberate. We hear that every week.

Here’s what the FA say about it in their own rules that some media people, who are paid to be the expert voice on the game, would do well to read:


Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with the hand or arm.

The following must be considered:

  • the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
  • the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
  • the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement
  • touching the ball with an object held in the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.) is an infringement
  • hitting the ball with a thrown object (boot, shinguard, etc.) is an infringement

The goalkeeper has the same restrictions on handling the ball as any other player outside the penalty area. Inside their penalty area, the goalkeeper cannot be guilty of a handling offence incurring a direct free kick or any related sanction but can be guilty of handling offences that incur an indirect free kick.

As you can see in the video below, Kos actually tries to move his hands AWAY from the ball.

The distance was from his foot to his arm and would never have been given had an opponent hit it at him from that distance.

In short, Kos knew nothing about it so there is no way it can be given as handball, especially not at that distance.

So the answer is ‘no, Arsenal’s late winner against Burnley should not have been disallowed.’