Premier League result: Granit Xhaka gaffe gifts Burnley point as Mikel Arteta's Arsenal slip up
Premier League, Turf Moor - Burnley 1 (Wood 39') Arsenal 1 (Aubameyang 6')
Arsenal's Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka reacts after Burnley's New Zealand striker Chris Wood scores his team's opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor
Published 05/03/2021 at 19:40 GMT | Updated 06/03/2021 at 14:53 GMT
A horrendous error from Granit Xhaka gifted Burnley an equaliser against Arsenal, as both sides shared the spoils at Turf Moor.
Arsenal dominated the early proceedings and could have found more reward than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's sixth minute strike which squeezed under Nick Pope's hand at the near post.
Six minutes before the break Burnley were gifted a lifeline when Arsenal's error-prone Swiss midfielder just eight yards from his own goal tried to clip a ball square to David Luiz but saw his pass deflect off Chris Wood and into the net.
Five minutes from time it seemed like Arsenal would have a chance to win the game when they were awarded a penalty and Erik Pieters sent off for handball after blocking Nicolas Pepe's effort at goal, but VAR ruled the ball hit his shoulder and the penalty and red card were rescinded.
Talking point - VAR had one of its better days
While no one will complain about the decision to overturn the penalty given for Pieters blocking Pepe's shot in the 85th minute, the incident ten minutes earlier is causing more debate.
In this instance Pepe flicked the ball past Pieters and it struck the substitute defender's rigid outstretched arm.
The explanation for the non-decision is Pieters - who with his temporary red card, a shot tipped over and a booking had an action-packed half-hour cameo - was too close to the ball when it was hit, which has led to understandable comparisons with instances earlier in the season when spot kicks were awarded for the ball being smashed at players' arms.
Burnley's New Zealand striker Chris Wood celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor
Image credit: Getty Images
Taking emotion out of these decisions, today's judgment seems a better way forward. If a handball is unintentional and not overhead nor stretched out when a distance from the kicker the penalty should not be awarded.
Pieters' arm in this instance was outstretched in an effort to balance and did not move towards the lob from Pepe, so a spot kick should not be given.
The proviso on this is that similar incidents have to be ruled in the same way, but if we are to have VAR - and many of us will never be a fan of the concept - this game is an example of when it works rather well.
Man of the match - Ben Mee
All four centre backs played well today but Burnley’s skipper and his partner James Tarkowski defended desperately when necessary as their team-mates sometimes made it too easy for Arsenal to play through them.
Tarkowski could have shared the award but he is marked down slightly for being out of position when Aubameyang cut inside James Lowden to shoot at goal.
Mee was a commanding figure throughout and in a match that could have been out of sight at half time his presence deserves to be rewarded.
In injury time he rubber-stamped his performance with a block of Aubameyang’s effort at goal.
Burnley: Pope 5; Lowton 5, Tarkowski 7, Mee 8*, Taylor 6; Gudmundsson 5, Brownhill 6, Westwood 5, McNeil 7; Vydra 6, Wood 6. Subs: Pieters 7, Brady 6, Rodriguez 6.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates with teammates Granit Xhaka and Willian after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor
Image credit: Getty Images
6’ GOAL FOR ARSENAL! It was way too easy for Willian to race through the middle of the Burnley side and then he played wide to Aubameyang who easily turned inside Lowton and shot just inside the near post. Pope got a full hand to but it slipped under it and squeezed into the net. After a good year, Pope has had a couple of goals to forget in as many games.
39’ GOAL FOR BURNLEY! This was not coming....and came from an awful error from Xhaka. He tried to clip a ball to the right flank to David Luiz and the ball ricocheted off Wood's hip and into the net.
75' Pepe appeals for a penalty against Pieters. The VAR official is taking a look at it.
76' His arm was straight out when it deflected against it. Not given. It seems more are going to not be given when not intentional now - which seems better, though not if it's your side.
80’ Leno with another fine stop. Arsenal all at sea at the back as Vydra free on the left flank drove a ball into the middle for Wood, who seemed certain to score, but Leno spread himself to block the effort.
84’ Pieters is sent off and a penalty given after he blocks Pepe's effort which then hit the crossbar. It looks like it hit his shoulder. The referee will have to look at this surely.
86’ The referee has cancelled the red card and penalty and the goalkeeper has a drop ball to himself.
90+4' Pinball in the Burnley box eventually leading to Ceballos smashing the ball against the post.