Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has backed the decision to let Anthony Gordon’s goal stand in Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday evening.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta labelled VAR a “disgrace” following the match, but Neville sprung to the defence of the officials on X (formerly known as Twitter).
“I thought the decision for the Newcastle goal was correct. The ball out was inconclusive at best, definitely not a foul for me and, if the VAR can’t [find] evidence [that it is] offside. the onfield decision should stand.”
When Neville was challenged by an Arsenal supporter regarding Joelinton’s potential foul on Gabriel, Neville replied:
“He’d already bent forward to flick it on and he threw his legs back! I’ve tried to do it. It wasn’t a foul”.
VAR can only overrule a decision if there has been a ‘clear and obvious’ error
There is no doubt that the goal was contentious for a number of reasons. Some angles do appear to show that the ball was out of play before Joe Willock put his cross into the box. However, as there was no camera directly in line, it was hard to be 100% sure.
In terms of the foul, it did look like Joelinton had arms on Gabriel’s back, but it is debatable whether he was the one who forced the Arsenal defender to the ground. The offside call is even harder to gauge as there are questions over whether Joelinton actually touched the ball last and whether the ball went forward to Gordon or backwards. For that reason, it is completely understandable why VAR opted against intervening. The on-field decision was a goal so if there is no clear evidence to the contrary, the goal should stand.