The Independent Key Match Incidents Panel, a group introduced by the Premier League, has voiced their opinions on various refereeing decisions in the English top flight from last week. Undoubtedly most interest regarding the latest controversy in the Premier League involved a matchup between Arsenal and Newcastle.
The Magpies narrowly edged a traveling Arsenal side on Saturday 1-0 thanks to a second-half goal by Anthony Gordon. VAR conducted a lengthy review of the goal after multiple incidents had to be checked. These included the ball being out of play prior to the goal, a foul on Gabriel by Joelinton, and a possible offside. However, match referee Stuart Attwell allowed the goal to stand after the replay checks were completed.
Following the match, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta fumed at the decision and the overall state of refereeing in England. Arsenal then issued a statement on the ordeal the following day. The north London club agreed with Arteta and offered their full support of their coach.
Newcastle-Arsenal ref decisions: Panel claims ‘not enough contact’ on Joelinton push
Nevertheless, the aforementioned panel agreed that the Gordon goal was correctly allowed. The group of five panelists asserted that there was not enough evidence that the ball went out of play. Also, the apparent push from Joelinton on Gabriel was apparently nullified due to the Arsenal defender making an attempt to play the ball.
In a 4-1 vote, the panel claimed that “although Joelinton does have his hands on Gabriel, there isn’t enough to award a foul as Gabriel had made an action to play the ball before any contact.”
A fairly similar incident happened to occur during a Champions League matchup on Wednesday. Napoli captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo was judged to have fouled a Union Berlin defender while attempting a header. Match referee Danny Makkelie claimed that Di Lorenzo shoved the defender from behind to win the ball. The two teams eventually drew the match 1-1 in Italy.
Panel asserts that Havertz, Guimarães should have been sent off in the match
Along with giving their opinions on the Joelinton-Gabriel incident, the panel also addressed two dangerous incidents in the match. The panel unanimously agreed that Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz should have been sent off for a late tackle on Sean Longstaff.
The panel claimed that the German’s tackle was “a very dangerous challenge and the type of tackle that needs to be eradicated.” Havertz was, however, only issued a yellow card as his trailing leg clipped the Newcastle midfielder.
While the panel was united in their stance against Havertz, they were actually split on an incident involving Bruno Guimarães. The Brazilian was seen emphatically throwing a forearm into the back of Jorginho’s head just before halftime. The punch occurred well after the Italian midfielder played a pass to a teammate.
VAR reviewed the violent play in the moment but failed to make a call to send off Guimarães. Despite the fact that replays showed that the flying forearm seemed deliberate, only three panelists claimed that the Newcastle midfielder should have been sent off.
According to a report by The Telegraph in March, the panel consists of former players and coaches. Retired England internationals Robert Green and Karen Carney are joined by former Ireland striker Jon Walters. Meanwhile, Steven Reid and Terry Burton are also panelists. Reid, formally a defender for several clubs, is currently an assistant coach at Nottingham Forest. Burton previously managed Wimbledon and also served as a developmental coach with Arsenal.
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