Later News Sep 19

VAR saves Arsenal’s blushes against Burnley, but disbelieving rival fans cry foul

Arsenal may have gotten their second English Premier League (EPL) victory of the season with a 1-0 win away at Burnley, but that was still somehow not the most unbelievable thing to happen at Turf Moor yesterday.


No, the most surprising thing to happen in the game was that VAR and referee Anthony Taylor actually ruled in favour of the Gunners, as they overturned a penalty awarded to Burnley in the 68th minute after realising that goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale had clearly got a touch to the ball before making contact with Matej Vydra.


The decision, of course, goes against the popular narrative (mostly among Arsenal fans) that the referees and VAR in England have a personal vendetta against the Emirates Stadium outfit.


WATCH: Arteta speaks about hard fought victory over Burnley


More importantly, however, the decision to overturn the penalty eventually led to Mikel Arteta’s men securing all three points - thanks to a first-half free-kick by Martin Odegaard - against ‘Stoke City Version 2’.


That, of course, goes against the popular narrative (mostly among Arsenal’s rival fans) that the North London side is destined for a relegation battle this season. Naturally, this led to an outcry among Arsenal’s rival fans on Twitter, who were quite unhappy with Taylor and VAR for not following the script that they have had multiple wet dreams of.


Their views were echoed by Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who, while admitting that Ramsdale had gotten a touch of the ball, believed that the penalty was still warranted.


WATCH: Behind the scenes as Ramsdale and Odegaard sign for Arsenal


“It's not a major surprise with our penalty record. I must say the 'keeper does get a touch on it, I've seen it back, so in theory that doesn't get given,” said Dyche, in what must be the worst argument for a penalty ever.


“You might question why [VAR intervened], if it's not a clear and obvious error, but it obviously was, to go to the VAR screen.


“Last season [against Leeds] the one on (Patrick) Bamford gets given, this season that doesn't, but that's sometimes the way it goes.”


The penalty incident came as a result of a poor backpass from Ben White to Ramsdale, but the £50million (S$92.6m) signing from Brighton insists that he is not the real culprit for the mistake.


WATCH: Ben White's first Arsenal interview


Instead, White blamed the notoriously patchy pitch at Turf Moor, as he said: “It was a tough one, my heart skipped a beat for a second. It was really, really dry out there today and my pass back didn’t get there at all. Luckily Aaron came to save me.


“I think clean sheets are really important. If you get that, you’ve got a good chance of winning. We’ve got the quality up front so if we’re keeping a clean sheet, we’re always going to win a game.”


With the win, Arsenal have moved four points clear of the relegation zone and into the heady heights of 13th in the table on six points after five games. Their next EPL match will see them take on arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby.




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