Why VAR allowed Newcastle's goal v Arsenal to stand

4 Nov 2023
Newcastle goal v Arsenal

Former referee Dermot Gallagher explains the decisions as Gordon's goal inflicted defeat on the Gunners

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Anthony Gordon's winning goal for Newcastle United at home to Arsenal required a long check by the Video Assistant Referee before it was confirmed as a goal. 

Here, former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher explains the process for the VAR not overturning the decision to award the goal. 

Firstly, there was a Newcastle cross that went close to going over the byline before Joe Willock gathered it and sent in a cross that led to the goal.

Although many Arsenal fans claimed that the ball had gone out, Gallagher said that the match officials on the pitch and in the VAR hub were unable to determine for sure whether it had.   

"The whole of the ball has to be over the whole of the line," Gallagher said. "You can look at it from that angle and it is impossible to tell.

"We see it with corners where it looks over the circumference but the ball overhangs so they are allowed to play. I think that might be the problem with this, that they can’t be sure that some of that ball isn’t overhanging the line. There is no evidence to say the ball is out of play.

"It isn’t whether the ball is in play but whether the ball is out of play."

Then the VAR officials looked at whether Arsenal defender Gabriel had been fouled by Joelinton before the ball fell to Gordon to score. 

But the referee, Stuart Attwell, did not think it was a foul and VAR did not find enough evidence to overturn his decision.

"Stuart Attwell didn't think it's a foul," Gallagher said. "That's the difference. The VAR didn't think there was enough contact to overrule the referee so therefore the on-field decision stood."

Premier League - Newcastle United v Arsenal
Gallagher said the VAR didn't think there was enough contact from Joelinton on Gabriel to overrule the referee's decision it was no foul

Then the VAR officials had to determine whether Gordon was offside before scoring. Here, Gallagher said, the VAR officials were unable to make a definitive decision because of the lack of video evidence available to them.

"The offside, which they looked at for a long, long time, but couldn't find the lines to decide where the ball was when it struck Joelinton to come down," Gallagher added.

"The ball is obscured, so they have no start point. And that's the problem. You need to start point to get to a conclusion."

VAR process for Newcastle goal v Arsenal
Gallagher said that the match officials were unable to determine the precise point of contact in order to draw the lines for offside

See: Why McTominay's goal for Man Utd at Fulham was overturned for offside

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