Mikel Arteta called for the introduction of VAR in the Europa League group stage, after Eddie Nketiah’s goal was ruled offside on Thursday.
Arsenal thought they had the equaliser against Molde FK slightly before they actually did on Thursday night. Eddie Nketiah turned home a Nicolas Pepe cross from an onside position, but the goal was ruled out for offside anyway.
Watching the replays, it was clear that Joe Willock was in an offside position, but he didn’t get to the ball as Nketiah turned it in from in front of him. It was a tough call to make in real-time, perhaps, but an easy one with the benefit of replays.
In the end, Arsenal equalised a minute or so later and went on to win the match 4-1. But it could easily have gone a lot differently after the disallowed goal. Manager Mikel Arteta doesn’t see why they don’t have VAR to avoid these situations.
“I don’t understand it, I don’t think it makes any sense when we have the technology and we all believe it’s the right call for everybody to do it,” Arteta said.
“So I don’t understand. We were complaining with the ref because we were told that [Eddie Nketiah] was clearly onside and obviously it’s a situation that can change the game. I think it’s something that they have to look at and, if possible, change it.”
Regardless of specific decisions and whether you agree with them or not, it does seem strange not to utilise VAR in the competition. Particularly when they’ll be using it in the latter stages, which creates an inconsistency with the earlier rounds.
It’s only a matter of time before we see a club eliminated by one incorrect and totally avoidable decision.