By George Overhill

6th Feb, 2023 | 6:40pm

Sky Sports pundits react to penalty incident between Neal Maupay and Gabriel as Everton shock Arsenal

Arsenal were not denied at penalty against Everton when Gabriel Magalhaes went down in a coming together with Neal Maupay, according to Dermot Gallagher.

Sean Dyche’s first game in charge of the Toffees shocked the league-leaders and delivered a desperately needed three points to Goodison Park, after James Tarkowski’s header was enough to win the game 1-0.

But the visitors wanted a penalty in the second half when Brazilian defender Gabriel went over Maupay just inside the box, but David Coote didn’t point to the spot and VAR John Brooks decided it wasn’t a “clear and obvious error”, which former Premier League official Gallagher and Sky Sports pundits Sue Smith and Jay Bothroyd agreed with.

Speaking on Ref Watch for Sky Sports on Monday (6 February) Gallagher said: “It’s not a penalty… It’s clumsy, but I think he goes over Maupay as much as he goes into him. I actually thought the referee had a really good game in this one.”

Bothroyd’s view was: “I think it’s a tough one because as Gabriel has tried to go around him, Maupay has clipped his leg. But I don’t think it’s a penalty.”

But Smith was pretty clear, saying: “I agree. I don’t think it’s a penalty. He’s used his body well.”

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At last

Everton are so often featured on Ref Watch because there is an extensive catalogue of decisions that have gone against them in the past couple of seasons, with only a couple of contentious ones falling in their favour.

The penalty shout would have been extremely harsh, especially if it had meant the morale-boosting win under Dyche went begging.

The Toffees were so much better than they have been of late on Saturday (4 February) and deserved the win against Mikel Arteta’s high-flying Gunners.

They could have scored more than just the Tarkowski header, so it would have been a sickener if a debatable penalty derailed the beginnings of a revival under the new manager.

So often the referee or the VAR has made a decision that has damaged Everton during the struggles over the past year, so it is a major relief that this one didn’t and hugely-improved performance was enough for the win.

Dyche’s new manager bounce has been a big one, and the players have now proven to themselves they can beat the best in the division, so if a psychological boost was what they needed then it has arrived.

A few more days like Saturday could turn this ship around pretty quickly, so it was a very encouraging start.