Manchester City‘s 2-1 victory away at Arsenal on Saturday afternoon was littered with controversial incidents.
In the second half of play, the visitors were awarded a penalty following a VAR review, referee Stuart Attwell eventually declaring that Granit Xhaka had fouled Bernardo Silva inside the box.
It looked incredibly soft and a few minutes after Riyad Mahrez converted the spot kick for City, the officials were the centre of attention again.
Arsenal centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes was dismissed from the field of play for picking up a second yellow card with a needless foul by the halfway line.
There’s no denying it was a challenge that merited a caution, however, Gooners will point to the fact that City players – match-winner Rodri in particular – escaped bookings right up until stoppage-time, despite committing similar offences.
But perhaps the most frustrating incident of all at the Emirates for the home fans came in the first half.
Before Arsenal took the lead through Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard looked as if he was fouled in the box by Ederson Moraes.
The City goalkeeper appeared to make no contact with the ball, but those operating VAR at Stockley Park deemed that no ‘clear and obvious’ error had been made by the referee in not awarding a penalty.
Was it the correct decision? Well, after watching slow-motion footage posted by BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey, it’s hard to think that’s the case…
Video: Slow-mo footage of Ederson’s tackle on Odegaard
Foot not ball? Pen? Clear and obvious? I don’t know anymore… pic.twitter.com/o4pYTxA1Y4
— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) January 1, 2022
It was incredibly close, but it looks pretty conclusive from that footage that Ederson did not make any contact with the ball and instead fouled Odegaard.
Why Attwell wasn’t sent over to the monitor like he was for Xhaka’s tackle on Silva is anyone’s guess.
The incidents at the Emirates on Saturday have once again called into question the implementation of VAR in the Premier League.
Sadly, it’s a debate that will continue to rage on for the rest of the season and far beyond, with no end currently in sight.