Arsenal can consider themselves well and truly robbed after some terrible refereeing decisions conspired to hand Manchester City all three points at the Emirates on New Year’s Day.
Why did VAR not ask Stuart Atwell to review the Arsenal penalty but called him over to look at Bernardo Silva’s dive?
We will probably never know.
Foot not ball? Pen? Clear and obvious? I don’t know anymore… pic.twitter.com/o4pYTxA1Y4
— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) January 1, 2022
Sure, Granit Xhaka had a hold of Silva’s shirt, but he was pulling him UP as the City man was already well on his way to the turf.
Physics doesn’t work like that.
Man City awarded a penalty after Granit Xhaka’s challenge on Bernardo Silva. Caution given to the Arsenal midfielder #ARSMCI pic.twitter.com/rsYhpuSdjf
— Fair Advantage (@FairAdvantageCA) January 1, 2022
In a season where the bars for fouls & red cards have clearly been risen for everyone, the fact two professional referees have looked at this dive and given a penalty, is hard to accept as merely an ‘error’. It’s a conscious decision. pic.twitter.com/0LH9nKnXPh
— JB™️ (@gunnerpunner) January 1, 2022
Until the 80th minute, Atwell had given Arsenal only three free kicks despite booking four Arsenal players and sending Gabriel off.
In fact, Arsenal were more likely to get booked for complaining about City’s fouls than they were for committing them.
Still, after City took the lead, Atwell decided he best start balancing up the stats when it made no difference whatsoever.
Martinelli scores if he doesn't have to run around the ref to get to the ball pic.twitter.com/0RSpJFl0QM
— Des Moines Gooners (@DSM_Gooners) January 1, 2022
There is much to be infuriated about after that match, little of it to do with Arsenal.
If that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.
That they had to resort to cheating to win, despite being hailed as the best on the planet, tells you how well Arsenal played in this game.
Arsenal player ratings vs Manchester City (half-time)
- Aaron Ramsdale 5.4 (6.2)
- Takehiro Tomiyasu 6.9 (7.3)
- Benjamin White 6.6 (6.9)
- Gabriel 5.9 (7.0)
- Kieran Tierney 6.9 (7.2) – A
- Thomas Partey 7.4 (7.2)
- Granit Xhaka 6.0 (6.6)
- Bukayo Saka 6.6 (7.1) – G
- Martin Odegaard 5.8 (5.9)
- Gabriel Martinelli 7.1 (7.0)
- Alexandre Lacazette 6.3 (6.5)
- Rob Holding 6.3
- Emile Smith Rowe 6.1
- Mohamed Elneny n/a