By George Overhill

18th Sep, 2023 | 4:40pm

Beto role in Everton vs Arsenal controversy causes outrage and bald jokes in Sky Sports studio as host reacts to Dermot Gallagher

Dermot Gallagher agreed with the decision to disallow Gabriel Martinelli’s goal against Everton but left host Rob Wotton bemused by his assessment.

The pair were reviewing the decisions in the 1-0 Arsenal win from a day earlier for Ref Watch on Sky Sports Monday (18 September), where the former Premier League official termed it a “good call” for VAR to rule out the first-half strike due to an offside by Eddie Nketiah in the build-up, after the ball hit Beto and bounced through to the Gunners man.

But Wotton couldn’t accept that the Toffees striker’s action wasn’t considered deliberate, although pundits Stephen Warnock and Sue Smith agreed with the outcome, and Gallagher noted a similar decision last season that went against Everton in the Merseyside derby draw with Liverpool.

Gallagher said: “I think it’s a good call by the assistant because Nketiah’s in an offside position… as Gabriel plays the ball it strikes Beto. I don’t think there’s any way you can say he would kick the ball back like that. So therefore he’s in an offside position.”

Wotton challenged Beto’s touch, saying: “He sticks his leg out, so he actually deliberately play the ball and deliberately plays that ball. If he’s not going to play the ball what on earth is he doing sticking his leg out?”

Gallagher claimed he “deflects the ball” and replied: “Rob, how can you split hairs with a person like me who’s got none?”

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“Well this is the bald facts we’re going for here Dermot,” said Wotton.


It is indeed a weird definition of the rules to claim that a player who is in full control of his actions isn’t playing the ball deliberately, as the confusion around Conor Coady’s disallowed goal last season demonstrated.

But if that is what the decision-makers have decided is the law then it appears it was correctly implemented at Goodison this weekend, and this time it benefitted the Toffees.

There is certainly an argument to suggest that the wording of the rules in these instances make little sense, especially as it seems to bring in yet another judgement call for people to argue over what is deliberate and what isn’t.

Gary Neville was unhappy with the whole episode, but it didn’t ultimately make any difference as the Gunners went on to take the points in the second half through Leandro Trossard’s goal, in a game where Everton offered very little going forward.

If they could have held out for a point against a strong side it would probably have been creditable in a way, and the likes of Jarrad Branthwaite and Abdoulaye Doucouré acquitted themselves quite well on the day.

But it was still another defeat, at home, by a 1-0 scoreline, to leave Sean Dyche with just a point from five games and yet another weekend of disappointment.

In other Everton news, Dyche’s comments this weekend could be the beginning of the end of his time at the club.