Ferdinand left 'confused' by VAR usage in Arsenal defeat to Man City

Rio Ferdinand admits feeling ‘confused’ by how referees use VAR and insists Arsenal DID deserve a penalty for Ederson’s challenge on Martin Odegaard during narrow defeat by Manchester City

  • Manchester City won 2-1 at Arsenal to move 11 points clear in Premier League
  • The Gunners were left aggrieved by two penalty calls that went against them
  • Martin Odegaard wasn’t given a spot-kick after Ederson challenge in first-half
  • But City were then awarded a penalty when Granit Xhaka fouled Bernardo Silva
  • Rio Ferdinand was left ‘confused’ by the officials’ inconsistent use of VAR  

Rio Ferdinand admitted to being left ‘confused’ by VAR after two contentious penalty decisions went against Arsenal in their 2-1 defeat to Manchester City.

They were denied a spot-kick during the first half when Martin Odegaard went over in the box when challenged by City goalkeeper Ederson.

VAR official Jarred Gillett took a long look at replays before agreeing with on-field referee Stuart Attwell that Ederson had got a toe to the ball before his contact with Odegaard. Attwell didn’t consult the pitchside screen on that occasion. 

Arsenal didn’t get a penalty when Martin Odegaard went down under challenge from Man City goalkeeper Ederson during the first-half, with Stuart Attwell not checking the VAR monitor

But Attwell was advised to check the screen and overturned his original decision when Bernardo Silva was brought down by Granit Xhaka, leading to City’s penalty equaliser

BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand was left confused by the inconsistent application of VAR

And Arsenal’s sense of injustice only deepened in the second half when Bernardo Silva was brought down by Granit Xhaka’s shirt tug, with Attwell this time overturning his initial ‘no penalty’ decision after consulting the VAR monitor.

That allowed Riyad Mahrez to cancel out Bukayo Saka’s opener and after Gabriel Magalhaes was sent off, Rodri won it for City deep into stoppage time to move them 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Speaking in the BT Sport studio, former England defender Ferdinand wasn’t convinced City should have been awarded a penalty but the greater problem was over the inconsistent application of VAR.

‘Anywhere else on the pitch, it is a foul. There is a desperation in Xhaka’s actions but if he [Silva] doesn’t go down the game carries on,’ he said.

Stuart Attwell checks replays on the pitchside VAR monitor before giving City’s penalty

The official was in the thick of the action as he also showed Arsenal’s Gabriel a red card

‘I don’t like diving but if you don’t you get punished. You would go down there.

‘I am confused with the decisions. There is no way to justify looking at one but not the other.

‘Referees in the Euros were told to go to the monitor and make a decision. That’s why it was better.’

Speaking about the non-award of the Odegaard penalty at half-time, Ferdinand said: ‘I do not understand with VAR how it was not given.

Odegaard took faint contact by Ederson – but it was decided the keeper got the ball first

Bernardo Silva goes down in the box following the contact from Granit Xhaka for a penalty 

‘It is clear and obvious, it gets on my nerves, it clouds everything.’

Sitting alongside Ferdinand in the studio, Joleon Lescott said: ‘I think it is a penalty but Arsenal’s is too.

‘It is the inconsistency of not allowing the referee to make the decision, to not check the first one but then check this one.

‘You may not agree with the decision but when the process is different, that is what is frustrating.’

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