Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

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Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

On the back of the far-reaching outcry stemming from Arsenal’s stalemate with Burnley this weekend, we have decided to take a look at some of the most high-profile decisions to have gone against Mikel Arteta’s men to this point in the season.

Arsenal: Just unlucky, or something more?

It is safe to say that the Gunners’ campaign, thus far, has proven altogether underwhelming.

Arsenal of course headed into the new term with confidence brimming in the club’s camp, on the back of an FA Cup and Community Shield double, and with summer reinforcements having arrived in a number of key areas.

The months since, however, have seen the north Londoners’ FA Cup defence and top-4 hopes alike go up in smoke.

This comes for a whole host of reasons, ranging from the teething problems that stem from a change of system, to a lack of creativity, to key players being sidelined for lengthy stretches.

Large sections of the Arsenal fanbase, however, have persistently made clear their feelings that, above all else, their side have suffered from what can only be described as a complete and utter lack of luck.

Such a narrative took centre stage online once again 24 hours ago, when the capital giants made their way to Turf Moor, for a Premier League meeting with Burnley.

Despite creating a host of clear-cut chances, seeing a penalty overturned and twice rattling the woodwork, Arteta and co. were eventually forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

This came after Arsenal fell victim to one of the most egregious officiating decisions of the campaign to date, when both referee Andre Marriner and the VAR team at Stockley Park came to the conclusion that the following Erik Pieters handball was not worthy of a penalty kick:

This, of course, proved far from the first major VAR decision to have gone against the Gunners this season.

Whilst essentially every Premier League team have fallen victim to the dismal implementation of ‘technology’ in the decision-making process in 2020/21, though, have Arsenal been particularly hard done by?

Last month, for example, it was revealed that the Londoners had benefited from just a solitary overturned VAR decision across the entirety of the campaign.

Compare this to a hefty 7 on the part of Manchester United:

Such statistics are of course meaningless without context, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United a side who would generally put themselves in a position to avail of VAR decisions on a more frequent basis than Arsenal.

The word ‘agenda’, though, nevertheless continues to be thrown around amongst the Gunners fanbase on an almost weekly basis.

Qualms over refereeing decisions are no longer a fleeting ‘here and there’ development when it comes to fixtures involving Mikel Arteta’s men, but rather a consistent talking point during post-match analysis sessions.

So, below, we have decided to highlight a series of major decisions from the Premier League season to date which, upon repeated inspection, left those of an Arsenal persuasion feeling as though their side had been wronged.

From here, perhaps a fairer judgement can be made regarding the legitimacy of the Gunners’ concerns.

Arsenal vs VAR

1. 28th September: Sadio Mane elbows Kieran Tierney in the face. Incident overlooked. Liverpool go on to win 3-1.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

2. 4th October: Sander Berge studs up challenge on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Yellow card given. Arsenal go on to win 2-1.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

3. 17th October: Kyle Walker high boot on Gabriel Magalhaes in penalty area. Penalty not given. Manchester City go on to win 1-0.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

4. 25th October: Alexandre Lacazette goal ruled out as Granit Xhaka adjudged to have been interfering with play from an offside position. Arsenal go on to lose 1-0.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

5. 22nd November: Leeds’ Liam Cooper blocks goalbound effort with raised arm. VAR checks. No penalty given. Arsenal draw 0-0.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

6. 30th January: Bruno Fernandes rakes studs down Granit Xhaka’s Achilles. Incident overlooked. Arsenal go on to draw 0-0.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

7. 2nd February: David Luiz red carded for ‘challenge’ on Willian Jose. VAR backs decision. Arsenal go on to lose 2-1.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

8. 6th February: Bukayo Saka adjudged to have been fouled by last man Ezri Konsa. Yellow card given. Arsenal go on to lose 1-0.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

9. 6th February: Emi Martinez pulls Alexandre Lacazette to ground in Aston Villa penalty area. Free-kick awarded to Villa.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

10. 14th February: Liam Cooper clashes with Bukayo Saka in Arsenal box. Penalty awarded. Overturned by VAR. Arsenal go on to win 4-2.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

11. 6th March: Erik Pieters handles from Nicolas Pepe in the Burnley box. Incident checked. No penalty awarded. Arsenal go on to draw 1-1.

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

Pure bad luck or cause for concern? A thread of all the major decisions to have gone against Arsenal this season

What do you think? Have Arsenal fallen victim to a lengthy list of poor decisions this season? More so than any other side? Or are the aforementioned examples simply incidents which come to pass on a weekly basis in the current Premier League climate?

Whatever you choose to believe, upon closer inspection, it is not hard to see why fans of the Emirates outfit have begun making their frustrations with both the VAR system, and standard of officiating in the English game, increasingly clear.

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 27 39 65
2 Leicester City FC 28 16 53
3 Manchester United FC 27 21 51
4 Chelsea FC 27 17 47
5 Everton FC 26 6 46
6 West Ham United FC 26 9 45
7 Liverpool FC 28 11 43
8 Tottenham Hotspur FC 26 15 42
9 Aston Villa FC 26 11 40
10 Arsenal FC 27 7 38
11 Leeds United 26 -1 35
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 28 -9 35
13 Crystal Palace FC 27 -14 34
14 Southampton FC 27 -11 33
15 Burnley FC 28 -16 30
16 Newcastle United FC 27 -17 27
17 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 27 -8 26
18 Fulham FC 28 -11 26
19 West Bromwich Albion 28 -36 18
20 Sheffield United FC 28 -29 14
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 17
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 16
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 16
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 13
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 13
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 12
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 11
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 10
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 10
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 9
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 9
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 9
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 9
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 9
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 9
Maddison, James Leicester City FC 8
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 8
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 8
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City FC 7

Source: 101greatgoals.com