Restrained Arsenal boss Arteta slams VAR after West Ham loss

Odegaard rues missed chances as race for Premier League title takes a new twist

By Reuters

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta gestures as West Ham's Said Benrahma (C) fights for the ball with Arsenal's William Saliba, (second left) during the English Premier League on Thursday. - AP
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta gestures as West Ham's Said Benrahma (C) fights for the ball with Arsenal's William Saliba, (second left) during the English Premier League on Thursday. - AP

Published: Fri 29 Dec 2023, 11:36 AM

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was restrained after another controversial VAR decision played a pivotal part in his side's 2-0 home defeat by West Ham United on Thursday that meant they missed out on returning to the top of the Premier League.

West Ham took the lead against the run of play after 13 minutes when Tomas Soucek netted after a pull-back from Jarrod Bowen who was deemed to have just kept the ball in play.

The VAR check took almost five minutes to complete due to Bowen's position in blocking the main camera angle and meant the on-field decision that the ball had stayed in remained.

"It is just a shame that with the technology that we have that it is not that clear that we can say yes that it's out or in," a disappointed Arteta told reporters.

West Ham's Jarrod Bowen (10) keeps the ball in play in front of the goal during the English Premier League on Thursday - AP
West Ham's Jarrod Bowen (10) keeps the ball in play in front of the goal during the English Premier League on Thursday - AP

The Spaniard has had a number of run-ins with the football authorities this season following outbursts about VAR rulings.

Earlier this month, he escaped punishment by the FA after branding the decision not to rule out Anthony Gordon's goal in the 1-0 loss at Newcastle United on Nov. 4 an embarrassment and a disgrace after the goal stood following three VAR checks.

West Ham manager David Moyes said he had not seen all the replays yet but it was deflating for scoring teams when the VAR screen appears after a goal and the check takes a long time.

The Scot added that his team "defended fantastically well" to secure the win after Konstantinos Mavropanos added a second in the 55th and he was relaxed about sealing a new contract.

"There is plenty of time to talk about that" he said, adding that all parties were happy with West Ham's current trajectory. "We can get that done when we are ready. I'm enjoying my time."

The defeat leaving second-placed Arsenal on 40 points, two behind league leaders Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard said as he urged his side to learn from their mistakes as Bukayo Saka hit the post and Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli missed good chances.

"I think we created more than enough to score goals to win the game and it was the little details and the little last pass or the finish that was missing today," Odegaard said.

"We have to learn from it and make sure we get sharper and better in front of the goals. The goals we conceded were too easy, so definitely in front of the goals, inside the boxes, that's where the games are decided.

"We weren't good enough today... It was the last home game of the year so we wanted to finish off in style, but today wasn't the day and we have to look at ourselves and we have to learn and move on," he added.

Arsenal next travel to 13th-placed Fulham on Sunday.

Standings - Top 10

English Premier League table after Thursday's matches (played, won, drawn, lost, points):

Liverpool 19 12 6 1 42

Arsenal 19 12 4 3 40

Aston Villa 19 12 3 4 39

Man City 18 11 4 3 37

Tottenham 19 11 3 5 36

West Ham 19 10 3 6 33

Man Utd 19 10 1 8 31

Brighton 19 8 6 5 30

Newcastle 19 9 2 8 29

Chelsea 19 7 4 8 25


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