In an intense match at Goodison Park, Arsenal’s victory over Everton was shadowed by a VAR decision that denied Gabriel Martinelli a goal.
Arsenal’s manager, Mikel Arteta, was left puzzled by the decision, reigniting the debate around the VAR system’s efficiency in the Premier League.
The decision has once again thrown the spotlight on VAR’s implementation in the league.
Arteta, clearly bemused by the call, remarked, “The first goal should be allowed… It comes off the opponent, I don’t know the reason they’ve done it.”
The decision seemed peculiar, given that it was evident the ball had been played by an Everton player. As the events transpired, Gabriel intended to play the ball back in his own half, but it was deflected by an Everton player straight to Nketiah, who started the attack that led to Martinelli slotting home.
The ruling was that this was not a ‘deliberate action’ on the part of the Everton player.
Many observers argue that the deflection satisfies the definition of a deliberate action. If he was not trying to influence the direction of the ball, what was he trying to do?
Adding another layer of intrigue was the fact that Stuart Atwell was overseeing the VAR. Atwell, who has a chequered past with Arsenal to say the least.
Despite this setback, Arsenal emerged victorious with a 1-0 scoreline, courtesy of Leandro Trossard‘s decisive strike in the second half.
The Belgian star was brought on in the first half to replace Martinelli, who suffered a muscular injury shortly after his offside goal.
The winning goal saw a concerted team effort, with Martin Odegaard, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, and Bukayo Saka involved before Trossard delivered the final, sweet blow past Everton’s keeper, Jordan Pickford.
After the game, Arteta expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, emphasising the significance of their win at Goodison Park, a feat Arsenal hadn’t achieved in six years.
“I think we played an incredible game, we kept them really quiet and dominated the game. Extremely happy to go away with a win and a clean sheet,” he commented.
"We were really solid and we gave very little away"
Mikel Arteta says Arsenal showed maturity and intelligence in their win over Everton 🧠 pic.twitter.com/aDV3a78XfR
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 17, 2023
The match’s conclusion sees Arsenal climb to the fourth spot in the Premier League, but the VAR decision on Martinelli’s goal will undoubtedly be a talking point for the foreseeable future with fans.
The continuous debate around VAR and its decisions in critical moments of the game remains a pertinent issue in modern football.