Former top referee gives verdict on Arsenal’s soft penalty

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Chelsea conceded a cheap and needless penalty in the first half as Reece James appeared to have tripped Arsenal man Kieran Tierney in the penalty box.

Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot after the slightest of contact from Reece James on Tierney, and there was no hesitation from the referee.

Chelsea’s game collapsed after the penalty decision and Arsenal went on to score two more goals, before a late consolation from Tammy Abraham.

In review of the incident, former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher, has said that Chelsea have no reason to complain about the incident.

“What I would say is the guy who has got the best view is Michael Oliver, he has the view where he can see the players coming together,” Gallagher told Premier League Productions.

“He gave it instantly. I think what you have to remember then is that when it goes to VAR, VAR is not there to decide whether he’s made the right decision or the wrong decision, he’s got to decide if it is a clear and obvious error, and I would suggest not if the referee gives it, so on that basis he sticks with the on-field decision.

“VAR can [see an alternative view] but if you see Michael Oliver’s view, when he sees that I think he feels he [James] clips his [Tierney’s] heel and then his knee goes into the back of the leg. The VAR can only decide whether it’s a clear and obvious error.

“When you look at that, the fact we’re debating whether it is a clear and obvious error and he’s decided to stick with the on-field decision.

“Now that’s the process and I can understand why they’ve come to that conclusion with the process.

“One of the problems is that we think VAR will bring us utopia but it won’t, it’ll still bring debateable points and the reason it will is because VAR cannot make a decision on whether the referee is right or wrong, it can only make a decision on whether the referee has made a clear and obvious error which everybody would say is not right.

“On this basis, when the referee has said to VAR, ‘I think he’s clipped his heel, his knee has gone into the back of his leg, that’s why I’m giving a penalty’. When you look at the footage you can’t say that didn’t happen, VAR can’t say that, therefore you’ve got to stick with the on-field decision.”

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