Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has questioned the consistency of VAR after the Gunners’ perfect start to the new Premier League season ended with a 3-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Despite being outplayed by the Red Devils for the first 10 minutes, Arsenal thought they had stolen the lead early doors when Gabriel Martinelli charged through and slotted home past David de Gea.
However, after being sent to look at the monitor, referee Paul Tierney overturned the decision for a foul on Christian Eriksen in the build-up by captain Martin Odegaard.
A debut goal from Antony sent Man United into the break with a 1-0 lead, and despite Bukayo Saka‘s response for Arsenal, Marcus Rashford then struck twice to condemn the Gunners to defeat.
Speaking in his post-game press conference, Arteta brought up the incident from the Aston Villa win where Saka was not awarded a penalty after being sent to the ground by Tyrone Mings, and the Gunners boss wants to see more consistency in refereeing decisions.
“I haven’t seen the action, but what I said is that it was a soft foul, so it’s just the consistency of the soft foul on Bukayo Saka from [Tyrone] Mings on the penalty last week, but it’s not a penalty,” Arteta said.
“The soft foul on Aaron Ramsdale when we conceded against Villa is a goal, so it’s just consistency and there’s nothing we can do now because it’s too late just to be consistent.”
Arsenal enjoyed the better of the contest at Old Trafford for the most part but were carved through on three occasions for Man United’s goals, one of which came after Arteta made a trio of substitutions.
Arteta sacrificed defensive steadiness for attacking nous by taking off Odegaard, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Albert Sambi Lokonga for debutant Fabio Vieira, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah, but the gamble did not pay off.
Arsenal themselves squandered opportunities to make the net ripple more than once at Old Trafford, and the 40-year-old believes that there is a “lesson” to be learned after Sunday’s loss.
“We lacked discipline and we conceded the first goal when it was an action with Bruno [Fernandes] and three vs three in the backline and we don’t follow our principles and we concede the goal, which was two against one,” Arteta added.
“After that it was all us, chance after chance, dominating the game and imposing ourselves in the way that we want to play. I said at half-time to the boys: ‘the game is there for the taking’.
“We play with even more courage and we’re going to win the game.’ We went to 1-1 and we should have been 2-1 or 3-1, and in the best moment again we gave them all away in a dangerous area and on top of that we stepped in when we can never do that again.
“We suffered the goal and it’s a big lesson. If you want to win here you have to do everything so right and especially if you don’t do it there, then in the opponent’s goal with the amount of chances that we created we needed to score more goals.”
Arsenal remain one point clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table and now prepare to open their new Europa League campaign against FC Zurich on Thursday.