The match between Newcastle and Arsenal (1:0) was another Premier League derby marred by inadequate refereeing.
The match was of high quality and with a lot of charge, but it was decided by the controversial goal of Anthony Gordon in the second half, where there was an obvious foul in attack.
Gordon hit the goal from close range in the 64th minute after a sustained attack by the hosts, and there were as many as three questionable moments in the situation, which is why the VAR looked at it for a long time.
The first check was on whether the ball went out before Joe Wheelock’s cross from the left wing.
It was all a matter of millimetres, and after more than 4 minutes of deliberation, the judges decided that they had no vantage point from which to make a definitive judgement.
That is why they preferred to uphold the decision of the on-field umpire – where neither the main nor the side judge had signaled that the ball had gone completely out of bounds.
BeIN Sports later showed a graphic that confirmed that a minimal portion of the ball remained within the boundaries of the pitch.
The second point of contention was also the one where the solution seemed most obvious.
Arsenal defender Gabriel Magallanes had gone to clear Wheelock’s cross but was pushed in the back by Joelinton.
The attacking foul was undisputed, but for some unknown reason all the referees passed it up.
There were even suspicions of Joelinton’s sleight of hand, but these too were not confirmed.
The third question was whether Anthony Gordon was in an ambush before shooting on goal, but it turned out he was in a clear position.
When the goal was finally conceded it surprised many, but also sent the home crowd into ecstasy – and until the end Newcastle held on for victory.
It was Arsenal’s first league defeat of the season and, understandably, manager Mikel Arteta was furious at the development.
He defined the judge’s decision as shameful and added that this cannot be a regular hit “for many reasons”.
“What happened is far from the level this league should be at. I’m ashamed to have been a part of it,” Arteta also said.
Logically, the offshoot led to yet another mass criticism of referees in the Premier League from fans, media and pundits.
Earlier in the season, the derby between Tottenham and Liverpool was also marred by VAR due to Luis Diaz’s disallowed stoppage time goal.
Then, poor communication between the referees in the VAR room and those on the pitch resulted in the goal being disallowed for a non-existent offside.
Now refereeing decisions and the implementation of video replay technology are again being called into question, and calls for drastic changes to refereeing on the Island are increasing.