Mikel Arteta relieved for VAR’s involvement in Arsenal’s win over Leeds after 40 minute delay


Mikel Arteta has expressed his relief that the VAR system was restored after a 40-minute delay during Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Leeds, given it reversed a stoppage-time penalty and red card for his side.

The game was only 90 seconds in when a power surge caused the technology used by the officials to cut out. There was even a discussion of it continuing without VAR.

However, the team in Stockley Park had a busy afternoon as their recommended review saw Leeds given a second-half penalty – missed by Patrick Bamford – before the late drama unfolded.

Referee Chris Kavanagh gave another spot-kick when Gabriel appeared to kick Bamford.

A review showed the Leeds striker had committed the first foul and the defender’s kick had not made contact. His red was downgraded to a yellow and the penalty decision overturned.

It meant Arsenal held on for a victory which keeps them top of the Premier League, and boss Arteta said:

‘We had to give them time to resolve the issue with the VAR. It was important because VAR was important and if we had played the game without VAR, it would have been a different game.

‘In the second half we did not make the right decisions and put ourselves in big trouble. But l liked the resilience, the fight, the character and you could see that on show.

‘You have to be able to win in any context and we found a way to win. I’m extremely happy because we keep winning.’

Bukayo Saka scored the first-half winner with a superb strike into the roof of the net. Arteta said: ‘That’s what we want from our young players, that they are consistently winning matches and affecting the result, being ruthless in front of goal.’

Leeds boss Jesse Marsch said: ‘It was such a crazy game with so many things happening. There was a surge of power which put out the referee’s system and the VAR and goal-line technology.

‘They thought they could get it back online but it would take some time. There was a moment in there where it was possible we were going to play without VAR.’

The hosts were the better team but have now collected just two points in six matches. The American added: ‘I’m disappointed and frustrated. But I’m also proud of how we played. Clearly, that was a showcase of how we can play when we’re at our best.

‘We have to get better in the final third and capitalise on chances. It puts stress on the environment. We were better, but we’re walking away with nothing.

‘I have to stay calm and patient, which I hate. I hate being patient, detest is a better word! But I have to, because I can see the progress being made. At some point it has to add up to results.’

Leeds forward Rodrigo gifted the ball to Arsenal before their goal and was substituted at half-time. Marsch added: ‘Rodrigo makes the choice to make the big switch, which is not what we like to do. It’s a moment that costs him and the team.’


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