For years, we’ve had to listen to pundits and officials tell us that any contact is enough to warrant a penalty but Arsenal have been told there wasn’t enough contact for them to be given one against Everton.
The Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton on 6th February 2023 saw yet another controversial decision by VAR go against Mikel Arteta’s side.
Arsenal were trailing 1-0 in the 65th minute when they were on the attack and Idrissa Gueye was brought down inside his own area by Gabriel.
Referee David Coote gave the free kick to the home side, but there was a VAR check for a penalty with the Gunners claiming Gabriel was actually fouled by Neal Maupay, which caused the defender to fall into Gueye.
VAR’s decision was no penalty, and it reviewed the incident.
John Brooks, the VAR official, acknowledged there was contact, but not enough to warrant a penalty, and considered that Everton had possession which has nothing to do with anything. If I kick you, it doesn’t matter who has the ball.
This decision was naturally met with disappointment by Arsenal fans as it is clearly a foul.
I mean, it's not even subtle, his only intention is to foul Gabriel. https://t.co/NwZYtIuvxE
— Daily Cannon (@DailyCannon) February 4, 2023
Neal Maupay fouled Gabriel inside the area, as he placed his right foot fully across the body of the Arsenal player, pushing Gabriel’s left leg into his right.
This contact was enough to cause Gabriel to fall into Gueye and you can tell Maupay knew what he was doing.
The Premier League’s new chief refereeing officer, Howard Webb, is apparently eager for VAR to only intervene when it’s absolutely clear that there has been an error, hence a high threshold (unless we are talking offsides and toenails).
However, it’s hard to say that this would have been overturned had David Coote pointed to the spot and Arsenal find themselves, once again, being ruled to the letter of a law that will not be applied to any other sides this season.