Arsenal could only muster a 1-1 draw against Burnley thanks, as usual, to their own stupidity and the VAR rules that only apply to Arsenal, or don’t as the case may be.

Burnley handball not given as an Arsenal penalty
Burnley handball not given as an Arsenal penalty

We can all agree that the handball rule has been somewhat confusing this season to say the least but there is no denying that Arsenal should have had a penalty for handball against Burnley on Saturday.

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Even the BT pundits – and Peter Walton, the former ref – said it was a clear penalty.

So how, then, did it go to Kevin Friend for a VAR review only to be turned down?

Your guess is as good as mine.

We’ve seen examples repeatedly this season of handball penalties being given for much more questionable decisions and I’m struggling to think of a better example of a clear and obvious error than not giving a clear and obvious penalty:

Many will point to Arsenal’s wastefulness in front of goal and they will have a point, but that doesn’t make this any less a penalty.

The rationale given was that it was ‘too close’ which is an absolute nonsense, especially when you consider the Burnley player had already had a go with his hand immediately prior to this one. Plus, that isn’t even the rule:

Speaking after the game, Mikel Arteta said what we were all thinking. “I think it’s obvious and clear. I think there is no debate about it,” he said. “If that’s not a penalty then someone should explain what a penalty is in this league.”

Referees are only accountable to other referees who are in charge of referees. They have to explain themselves to no-one, face no real consequences when they mess up, which they repeatedly do and players and managers are fined and given bans should they question or criticise.

PGMOL don’t run a referee organisation, they are a dictatorship.

Arsenal are now in 10th place, four points behind their next league opponents, Tottenham, who have a game in hand.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.