July 16, 2024

Arsenal’s Premier League winning streak has ended, but the loss to Newcastle was not without controversy.

Gary Neville, a former defender for Manchester United, took advantage of Tottenham to poke fun at Arsenal after their weekend loss to Newcastle. Once again, the match was mired in controversy surrounding officiating, with VAR drawing particular attention.

In the first incident, Kai Havertz lunged in for a challenge on the byline; the referee decided to show the midfielder a yellow card instead. Though there were many Newcastle protests and a few heated exchanges between players, a VAR check concluded that the challenge was reckless but not dangerous.

Bruno Guimaraes lunged into Jorginho with his forearm and elbow after missing an initial challenge, further inflaming tensions in the minutes that followed. Although another VAR check revealed there was no foul play or violent behaviour, the Italian was incensed by the move.

Before the Magpies’ opener in the second half sparked even more controversy, there were not many moments at either goal mouth in the game. Although it was later contested, Joe Willock appeared to have kept the ball in play. A cross found Joelinton, who was alleged to have fouled Gabriel, allowing Anthony Gordon to score an easy tap-in despite offside calls.

After all three incidents were investigated, none of them could be definitively ruled out, so Newcastle was awarded the goal that won them the game. After the game, Mikel Arteta was incensed, and the following day, a club statement supported the manager’s outburst.

Due to the outcome, Arsenal now trails rivals Manchester City and Tottenham by a small margin; the latter still has a game remaining on Monday night. One irate Arsenal supporter even demanded that pundits Neville and Jamie Carragher be prohibited from entering the Emirates Stadium.

In an attempt to deflect attention with a joke, the former said, “To be fair with Spurs top now we will be coming less anyway.” It was obviously a jab, if not a little off-target, given that Spurs need to defeat Chelsea in their upcoming match to unseat City in the top spot with a slim margin of victory.

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