Despite having the ball in the back of the net three times, Arsenal could only draw 1-1 with Fulham thanks to a dodgy penalty on an afternoon to forget.
It was much change for Arsenal as they returned from their European exploits to face the team they battered on the opening day, filling us all with short-lived hope for the season ahead.
Now, as the campaign draws to a close, it almost seems fitting that this was a result dictated as much by the officials as the players on the pitch.
Of Arsenal’s three goals, one was clearly offside and rightly ruled out.
The one that stood was probably also offside, due to Rob Holding standing two feet away from the keeper in the middle of the goal and then moving out of the way of the ball.
Meanwhile, the first time Arsenal had the ball in the back of the net, it was ruled out by the width of a gnat’s pube.
These offside decisions are made all the more farcical by PGMOL’s refusal to lend VAR’s ultra critical eye to matters of import, like serious foul play and penalties.
So, we had the joy of watching Fulham getting the pube’s advantage to allow their equally dodgy penalty to stand while Arsenal’s goal was ruled out.
How is that more onside than the Arsenal one?
As for the penalty itself, yes, there was contact, but watch it again, it is the Fulham player who sticks his leg out to make the contact and then flings himself through the air.
The whole thing is farcical and not at all what anybody wanted VAR for.
We wanted it for obvious decisions and, I think we can all agree, gnat’s pubes are the very definition of discrete.
VAR was involved in this game so much, and the decisions were so hard to make (and therefore not ‘clear and obvious’) that there were seven minutes of injury time at the end of the game, in which VAR got involved yet again.
More concerning than the state of football in the Premier League, thanks to a development that was meant to improve the game, was Alexandre Lacazette’s injury.
Although we’ll have to wait to find out how bad it is, the way he limped off and the look on his face was reminiscent of Kieran Tierney leaving the field a few weeks ago. This doesn’t look like it will be a two-week injury. We could well have seen the last of Lacazette, perhaps for good, as rumours persist that the club will sell him this summer.
Arsenal were never going to grab fourth place and even 6th seemed beyond us.
We now need to win every game remaining to match the points total from Arsene Wenger’s worst season.
After the game, Eddie Nketiah, who scored Arsenal’s equaliser at the death after replacing Lacazette, said, “We would’ve liked three points but when I was called on I wanted to make an impact.
“I’m delighted to get a goal and salvage a point for the team.
“Fulham made it difficult – we were a bit sloppy in possession, we had good chances, we had a couple which on another day might go in. Credit to Fulham for getting back in the game and getting the goal but we were good in the last 30 minutes and we deserved at least a point.”
When asked about filling in for Lacazette, he replied, “Firstly I wish Laca a speedy recovery – he’s important to the team and hopefully will be back as soon as possible.
“For me, I stay patient and I’m happy to get the chance to play and I will be ready to help the team if I’m called upon.”