Video referee Lee Mason forgot to draw offside lines on Brentford’s controversial equaliser in a mistake that could have a massive impact on Arsenal’s fight for the Premier League title.
Christian Norgaard was in an offside position when he crossed for Ivan Toney and the goal would have been ruled out if the VAR
lines had been drawn.
Victory for Arsenal would have put them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League but the draw means Man City will knock them off the summit if they win today and beat the Gunners on Wednesday night.
A furious Mikel Arteta thought the goal should have been ruled out for an earlier incident in the build-up when an offside Ethan Pinnock grappled with Gabriel as the decisive free-kick came into the box but was adjudged after a long delay not to have been interfering with play.
‘I just looked back and it is offside, Arteta said. ‘Have they explained why it wasn’t allowed? No. It is frustrating but they will probably give an explanation later in the week. Today we haven’t got one.’
Mason took an age to decide that Pinnock was not interfering with play but then rushed past the key incident and checked it without drawing the crucial VAR lines.
Had he done so, Norgaard would have been ruled offside and Toney’s 74th-minute goal disallowed.
‘Ivan Toney puts the ball in the net and VAR Lee Mason obviously runs through the checks,’ said Mail on Sunday referee expert and PGMOL representative Chris Foy, who was in the Match Centre at Stockley Park on Saturday.
‘VAR was looking to see if there was an offside and whether Ethan Pinnock had blocked off Gabriel in the build-up. He looked at the possible foul and decided there hadn’t been one and therefore referee Peter Bankes hadn’t made a clear and obvious error.
‘However, in the build-up to the goal, Christian Norgaard — whose cross it is that Toney heads in — is in an offside position.
‘However, the truth is that VAR didn’t fully investigate with the lines. The lines, simply, didn’t go down. And that counts as human error.Had the lines gone down the goal would have been disallowed for offside.’
It was not a great day for VAR. Human error was also given as the reason why Brighton saw a goal ruled out for offside in their 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.