Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta refused to blame VAR for his side’s 2-0 defeat to West Ham United on Thursday, despite being on the receiving end of another controversial decision.
Tomas Soucek’s opening goal was subject to a lengthy VAR check to determine whether Jarrod Bowen had kept the ball in play or allowed it to cross the line, but the officials could not find a camera angle which offered any concrete proof and ultimately declined to intervene in the on-field decision to allow the goal.
Arteta lashed out at VAR last month following a similar situation in the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United, but this time around, he opted to point the finger of blame at his own side.
“I haven’t seen it, they only thing they [the officials] said was the image was not conclusive,” Arteta told his post-match press conference. “It’s just a shame that the technology that we have is not that clear that we can say it’s out of play. It’s done, it’s gone and there’s nothing we can do about it now.
“So what we have to do is without that, win the game, and with the situations we had today, we had more than enough.”
Arsenal had 74% possession against West Ham and managed 30 shots on goal, while the visitors offered just six efforts on target across the entire game. The Gunners’ 77 touches in the West Ham box is also the most since records began for any Premier League team who has failed to score during a match.
Bowen, whose controversial cut-back set up Soucek’s opening goal, later insisted he had no idea whether he had actually succeeded in keeping the ball in play or not.
“I haven’t seen it. It’s difficult because the ball was in the air,” he told Amazon Prime. “It was hard to tell. It would have been easier to tell if it had been on the ground.”
There was nothing controversial about West Ham’s second goal ten minutes after the half-time interval – Konstantinos Mavropanos rising highest against his former club to power home a header off the underside of the bar.
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