‘The trouble is’ - Dermot Gallagher gives verdict on Arsenal v Newcastle United incident

Dermot Gallagher has weighed in on the refereeing decisions during Newcastle United’s draw with Arsenal.

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Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher believes Newcastle United got away with one against Arsenal. The Magpies claimed a point from the Gunners to continue their long unbeaten run and remain in the thick of the top four race.

Arsenal have steamrolled most teams this season, but Eddie Howe’s men held strong to take a point home from the capital. However, there were a couple of incidents that left Mikel Arteta upset after the game.

Dan Burn almost gave away a penalty, with VAR deciding not to step in to award a spot-kick, and Jacob Murphy inadvertently handled a ball during a sliding block later on, with VAR once again resisting stepping in.

However, according to former referee Gallagher, Newcastle did get away with one in regards to the Burn incident, in particular. He told Sky Sports: “I actually think Dan Burn takes a massive risk here. I understand why the referee doesn’t see that because he is blocked, but he grabs his shirt. The trouble is, when it goes to VAR, the VAR isn’t going to say ‘has the referee got it right or wrong’, it’s whether the referees have made a clear or obvious error.

“We saw that Howard Webb came in, and he said he wants referees to make decisions on the field and VAR to only intervene where they see it is an obvious error. If you drill down on it, you would say it is a penalty, but if you look at it with the time VAR had to see it, you think it’s 50/50 and they err on the side of the referee.”

Former Arsenal striker Jay Bothroyd, who was also in the studio, added: “I will be objective, but for me it’s a clear penalty. He grabs his shirt, the logo of his shirt is over his shoulder. He has stopped him from at least challenging for the ball. He could have potentially got across the keeper and put it in the net. But my thought process is that if that happens anywhere else on the pitch, it’s a foul. The fact they haven’t given it in the box, it’s not consistent with the rules of the game.”

Asked about the possible handball, Gallagher thought Andy Madley got it spot on. He said: “Yeah, I don’t think anyone would see that coming here. It gets smashed in, and look how close he is, there is one or two yards between them. He tries to get it out of the way. Is his arm in a position youy would expect? The answer is yes. Has it come with speed and intensity from a short distance? Yes. If that was given against Arsenal, Arteta would have been equally incensed.”

Bothroyd concurred, saying: “I agree with Dermot on this one. I think it’s difficult because Arsenal want a goal and a decision, but that went against Arteta...when you look at the defender’s position, when he slides in, his arm is still low and it has hit his arm and raised it up. You can’t keep your arms in and make a slide tackle, it’s impossible, so I think the referee got the decision right.”