The Gunners failed to capitalise on a wealth of possession at the Emirates on Monday morning (AEDT) before a Jamie Vardy sucker-punch condemned them to a third loss this Premier League season.
Arsenal looked sluggish, particularly in the game’s second half, and created few clear-cut chances apart from when it appeared to take the lead within the first few minutes.
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Alexandre Lacazette found the back of the net in the fourth minute when he flicked on a corner at the near post past keeper Kasper Schmeichel.
But the goal was swiftly ruled out by the linesman as Granit Xhaka was deemed to be standing in an offside position and obstructing the goalkeeper.
A swift check of the side-on angle by VAR upheld the on-field decision — and Arsenal never recovered.
England legends Alan Shearer and Ian Wright were both shocked by the call upon reviewing the angle from behind the goal, which VAR didn’t check.
“That’s a goal … no one is impeding Kasper Schmeichel, no one runs in his eyeline…” Wright said.
“He’s chose to go inside. Whos impeding him? No one. He has not made a save. How has VAR not seen that?”
Shearer agreed, saying that Arsenal fairly put bodies in the box to unsettle Schmeichel who didn’t deal with the situation.
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“That has worked perfectly from an Arsenal point of view and I don’t think that should be given offside because they’re not interfering with him when he heads the ball, and he’s certainly not in his eyeline when he heads the ball,” Shearer said.
Arsenal manger Mikel Arteta was left fuming after the game, saying: “I don’t know how the hell it was disallowed.”
Former Premier League referee and officiating expert Dermot Gallagher explained that the decision was made because Xhaka was deemed to have been too close to Schmeichel prior to the ball being headed.
“The people who make these decisions tell me that because his start position is so close to him that impacts on his ability (to make a save),” Gallagher said.
The explanation confused Wright further, who said: “He’s the one who is actually touching Xhaka. Now he’s completely removed from Xhaka (when the ball is headed).”
“If that’s the case why didn’t they blow it before?” questioned Shearer. “That doesn’t make sense.”