Anthony Gordon’s winner for Newcastle United against Arsenal was rightly awarded by VAR, according to Howard Webb.
Gordon’s 64th-minute goal was checked for three different aspects before being given as Newcastle went on to win the game 1-0 at St James’ Park, leaving Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta fuming afterwards, labelling the decision to award the goal an “absolute disgrace”.
The first check was to see if the ball had run out of play before Joe Willock got to it, while the second was to ascertain whether Joelinton had fouled Gabriel as the two battled to meet Willock’s cross. Finally, Gordon was examined to see whether he was offside before thumping the ball home.
The on-field decision to award the goal by referee Stuart Attwell proved crucial, as proved by the release of the VAR audio on Tuesday, which stated there was “no conclusive evidence” to overturn Attwell’s initial verdict.
Webb, the chief refereeing officer for the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), praised the decision on Match Officials Mic’d Up, saying: “This was an unusual moment with three aspects for the VAR to check.
“The VAR decides that the evidence from the footage isn’t clear enough to intervene with a review for a clear error for the ball going out of play.
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“Trying to identify when the ball leaves Joelinton is difficult to establish as the players were so close together, so again no conclusive evidence Gordon was offside.
“The VAR went through that diligently and identified no clear evidence to intervene overturned the decision so the process was correct. You have to award the goal.”
Though Webb agreed with the process for Gordon’s goal, he was less content with Attwell’s decision not to send off Kai Havertz and Bruno Guimaraes in the first half of the game at St James’ Park.
Havertz sparked fury from the home fans after a very heavy challenge on Sean Longstaff near the touchline, only receiving a booking for the tackle, while Guimaraes escaped any punishment for hitting Jorginho with his forearm.
Webb feels the pair’s infringements were both worthy of sending-offs, declaring: “In the cold light of day and going forward we would expect red cards in both of those situations.”