Gary Neville 'can't believe' what he saw as 'weird' Everton vs Arsenal controversy ends with officials 'guesswork'
Gabriel Martinelli’s disallowed goal for Arsenal against Everton was “weird” and didn’t look right, according to a shocked Gary Neville.
The Sky Sports pundit reacted live on the match commentary for the broadcaster on Sunday (17 September) as the Brazilian looked to have put the visitors ahead after 19 minutes, only for VAR to rule it out for an offside against Eddie Nketiah in the build up, admitting he was “confused” as to how the decision had been reached.
Neville wasn’t able to believe that the angle used for the video assistant’s decision was the best one available and suggested the controversial episode was a “little bit strange”.
Neville said (16.15pm): “In the first 20 minutes of the match they’ve just been waiting to get beaten, and get beaten they will if they carry on like this…”
As the VAR review emerged he reacted: “Oh, that’s weird. Is there no better angle than that? Even I’m a little confused.
“It looked like he was well behind… We saw one a couple of weeks ago, Arsenal were involved against Manchester United and Erik ten Hag complained about not having the correct camera angle to have it in line. That all looked a little bit strange shall we say.”
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Peter Drury suggested the touch off Beto may have negated an offside and Neville added: “Yeah, it came off the Everton player… look, that one’s a strange one for me. With how many cameras at the ground I can’t believe we wouldn’t have a better angle of the actual offside than that…
“They should take that as a real warning sign, Everton, because they’ve got to be better… Gabriel plays the ball and it deflects forward off the Everton player.. still from that angle you’re guessing at whether he’s offside or not really…
“The lines we go with, the goal’s disallowed, Everton get a lifeline. I mean it looks to me to be a little bit of guess work in terms of the blue line I have to say.”
Fuss about nothing?
The angle shown on TV did make it difficult to see with the naked eye, but surely the entire point of using technology is for the depth perception of a person judging from a difficult angle is negated.
The touch off Beto could have cancelled out the offside call but if it was deemed that the Portuguese wasn’t deliberately playing the ball it didn’t matter.
It was tight, and it seems clear that plenty are still unclear about how the use of VAR works, but it appears the right call was just about made, and Everton came out on the wrong side of a tight call for once.
Having weathered an early storm Sean Dyche’s side looked to have self-destructed in giving up the goal to Martinelli but were given a reprieve.
Amadou Onana and James Tarkowski both stopped in the build up to claim for offside and were saved by the VAR intervention.
If the goal had been allowed to stand, and it was only inches from being onside anyway, then the manager would be furious with the slackness of his players, and it is surely a point he will raise either way.