Brentford’s equaliser against Arsenal was incorrectly allowed to stand by VAR after Lee Mason failed to draw the offside lines for Christian Norgaard.
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Brentford on Saturday in a potentially damaging result for the Gunners’ title aspirations, but it turns out the away side’s equalising goal was offside.
James Sharpe of the Daily Mail broke the news that Lee Mason forgot to draw offside lines for Christian Norgaard, who was offside, and if the lines had been drawn, the goal would have been disallowed.
The reason for the mistake, according to The Telegraph, was that Mason was focusing on another possible offside involving Ethan Pinnock.
Pinnock was also standing in an offside position, but he was ruled not to be interfering with play. Mason thus allowed the goal to stand, forgetting to check the later part of the move first.
The Independent report that Mason now faces being stood down for the second time this season, but that will be little consolation to Arsenal.
Many Arsenal fans have jumped to conspiracy theories about an agenda against the Gunners, and it’s obviously not impossible that Mason’s personal biases made him subconsciously predisposed not to investigate the incident more thoroughly.
But it wasn’t even the only offside VAR error of the day, with Brighton also having a goal incorrectly ruled out as the lines were drawn from the wrong player.
The frustrating thing about this is that both goals would have been judged correctly by the semi-automated offside technology used in the World Cup and the Champions League this season.
The technology is faster, more accurate, and it doesn’t forget to check players.
Mason wouldn’t have had to waste time checking Pinnock. He would have had the Norgaard offside flagged for him, and within seconds he could have informed the referee to rule the goal out.
No lengthy delay for fans, and the correct decision at the end of it, using technology we already have available to us.
Just as a reminder, the Premier League still haven’t decided whether or not to bring in semi-automated offsides for next season.