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Arsenal victims of another VAR error against Brentford - how many points has it cost them this season?

Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Brentford but Ivan Toney's equaliser should not have stood; VAR error by team led by Lee Mason at Stockley Park was not the first which has hampered the Gunners' Premier League title charge this season

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There was VAR controversy for Brentford’s equaliser against Arsenal

Arsenal were denied victory against Brentford on Saturday due to a costly VAR error - and it wasn't the first time this season.

The Premier League leaders were in front thanks to Leandro Trossard's second-half goal but Ivan Toney equalised with a close-range header and a VAR check cleared it despite two instances of offside.

The VAR team, led by Lee Mason, opted against intervening after checking whether Ethan Pinnock had blocked Gabriel from Mathias Jensen's free-kick when in an offside position.

Mason and his officials then failed to spot that Christian Norgaard was offside before making the cross for Toney, and it later emerged no lines had even been drawn to check for a possible offside.

The error, acknowledged as such by PGMOL on Sunday, left Arsenal fuming as they missed the chance to move eight points clear, and it was not the first time a controversial VAR call has contributed towards them dropping points this season. In fact, it has happened on four separate occasions.

Here, we take a closer look at each incident and consider how it could have affected Arsenal's points total...

Martinelli goal disallowed at Old Trafford

WHAT HAPPENED: With 12 minutes gone in Arsenal's Premier League meeting with Manchester United at Old Trafford in September, Martin Odegaard helps dispossess Christian Eriksen just inside the Arsenal half, allowing the Gunners to work the ball forward to Gabriel Martinelli, who clips a cool finish past David de Gea.

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The right decision? Gabriel Martinelli’s goal for Arsenal at Man Utd was disallowed by VAR for an alleged foul by Martin Odegaard

A VAR check follows, and despite replays showing Odegaard's challenge on Eriksen was soft, referee Paul Tierney is instructed to consult the pitchside monitor and decides to overturn it, with Arsenal going on to fall behind to Antony's goal, before losing 3-1.

In December, the PGMOL included the decision as one of six incorrect VAR interventions in the first part of the Premier League season, confirming the goal should have stood.

Christian Eriksen of Manchester United is fouled by Martin Oedegaard of Arsenal
Image: Martin Odegaard was wrongly penalised for a foul on Christian Eriksen

WHAT WAS SAID: "It's a lack of consistency," Arteta told Sky Sports at the time. "What is soft? Last week, they [Aston Villa] got a goal when there's a foul on Aaron [Ramsdale], but it's soft and it's not a foul.

"Then there's a penalty on Bukayo [Saka, by Tyrone Mings] but it's soft and not a penalty. Today this is a foul.

"There were some strong tackles and no yellow cards because the threshold is low because it's a big game. It's really difficult to accept."

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s draw against Brentford in the Premier League

"In my opinion, it's never a foul," added Odegaard to Sky Sports. "The referee sees it and plays play on. It's a soft challenge and for VAR to come in it has to be clear and obvious. That's been said a lot of times.

"On the camera, you can always make it look a little bit worse, but, for me, that was never a foul so it's frustrating."

Webb: 'I'm all for transparancy'

Howard Webb to Sky Sports:

"I'm all for openness and transparency and trying to draw the curtain back on the decision-making.

"I think when people can see the rationale for a decision and understand it better, they might not agree with the outcome, but at least they're more understanding and accepting of why it happened."

Jesus denied penalty against Southampton

WHAT HAPPENED: With 14 minutes on the clock at St Mary's Stadium in October, Gabriel Jesus appears to be wrestled to the ground by Southampton defender Duje Caleta-Car as he makes a run in behind the Saints defence.

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Gabriel Jesus appeared to be fouled but no penalty was given in Arsenal's draw at Southampton

Referee Robert Jones waves away Arsenal's appeals for a penalty and VAR agrees with the decision. A spot kick at that point would have given Arsenal the opportunity to go 2-0 up but they end up drawing 1-1, Stuart Armstrong cancelling out Xhaka's opener.

WHAT WAS SAID: "I don't like to talk about the referee's decisions, I just want to talk about our performance, but sometimes it can change the game," said Jesus afterwards.

Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal challenged by Duje Caleta-Car of Southampton
Image: Gabriel Jesus was unfortunate not to be given a penalty when challenged by Duje Caleta-Car in Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Southampton

"I spoke with him straight after and he said: 'If you go down before, maybe I can give a penalty'. But I think I was fair. I tried to hold, tried to keep standing, tried to finish the action but at the end he grabbed me and it was impossible, so I go down normally."

Burn shirt-pull ignored in Newcastle draw

WHAT HAPPENED: In the second half of Newcastle's visit to the Emirates Stadium last month, Arsenal feel they should be given penalty when Gabriel Magalhaes' shirt is pulled by Dan Burn, causing the defender to go down as a set-piece comes into the box.

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Gary Neville said Dan Burn's shirt-pull on Gabriel was clear and obvious

The tug clearly prevents Gabriel from reaching the ball but referee Andy Madley waves play on and VAR does not intervene.

Later in the game, which Arsenal end up drawing 0-0, the hosts feel aggrieved for a second time when Granit Xhaka's attempted cross strikes the arm of Jacob Murphy inside the box, but Madley once again waves away their appeals and VAR, Stuart Attwell, agrees.

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Dermot Gallagher analyses the big moments from Arsenal's clash with Newcastle after which Mikel Arteta questioned a number of the officials' decisions

WHAT WAS SAID: "There were two penalties," Arteta said to Sky Sports. "It's very simple. I'm talking about what I've seen. It was two scandalous penalties,"

Of the first penalty appeal, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said: "Arteta has a right to be annoyed at that one. Newcastle were very lucky there. I think they (Arsenal) have a right to feel aggrieved."

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Mikel Arteta said Arsenal were denied two "scandalous" penalties against Newcastle

Paul Merson added: "In my opinion that's a stonewall penalty. His fist is clenched. That is a foul anywhere else on the pitch.

"They haven't got an understanding of the game at Stockley Park. That is so clear and obvious. Anywhere else and it's a free-kick. We saw players get booked for less."

Toney goal stands after botched VAR check

WHAT HAPPENED: Jensen launches a free-kick into the Arsenal box and the hosts are unable to clear their lines, with Pinnock eventually nodding the ball to Norgaard, who crosses for Toney to head home.

The goal is checked by VAR Lee Mason, who opts against intervening as Pinnock appears to block Gabriel when in an offside position.

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There was VAR controversy for Brentford’s equaliser against Arsenal

VAR then fail to check a second offside, despite replays showing Norgaard is offside when Pinnock heads the ball to him, meaning the goal stands, cancelling out Trossard's opener as Arsenal end up dropping another two points.

The check took two minutes 26 seconds. That compares to two minutes one second for the VAR check at West Ham for Tomas Soucek's disallowed goal for a Declan Rice offside, meaning the Brentford check was not especially long, amid suggestions the VAR was rushed into overlooking the Norgaard offside incident by spending too long focusing on the earlier Pinnock incident.

Ethan Pinnock offside vs Arsenal
Image: Ethan Pinnock was in an offside position from the original delivery

WHAT WAS SAID: "I just looked at it back and it is offside," said Arteta. "We'll probably be given an explanation later in the week but today we haven't got any.

"Looking at the images, you have to apply certain principles in defending and you do that by sticking to the rules and suddenly you apply different rules then you have to change your principles.

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Mikel Arteta gives his verdict on Ivan Toney's controversial goal

"So tell us before because then you don't hold the line that high because you're always going to have an advantage if you get blocked.

"It's too late, the goal was allowed, we dropped two points."

How many points has VAR cost Arsenal?

Here's the Premier League table as it currently stands. Arsenal are still top - but following the decisions we've analysed above, their supporters may well feel they should have an even bigger lead over Manchester City.

Of course, the exact impact of these decisions is impossible to quantify. With time to play after every decision, who's to say that had VAR seen those moments differently, Arsenal or the opposition may have played the rest of the game in a different way, which may have led to other important incidents.

What Arsenal fans can take away from this analysis though is that VAR decisions in the 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle - when two strong penalty appeals were overlooked with Arsenal pushing for a winner - and for Toney's offside header for Brentford to level it up with 16 minutes to play on Saturday, would have put their team in a fantastic position to turn eventual draws into wins and add four points to their total had they gone in Arsenal's favour.

They also have a good case to believe a penalty decision awarded to Jesus at St Mary's, which if converted would have put Arsenal 2-0 up inside 14 minutes, would have had them on course for victory in a match they drew 1-1 with struggling Southampton. Another two points denied? Perhaps, although there was still a lot of time to play in that match.

Similarly, the more optimistic Arsenal supporters will also feel that their defeat at Old Trafford would have taken a different course had Martinelli's strike - later confirmed as incorrectly ruled out by PGMOL - been allowed to stand. However, United's eventual 3-1 win points to the strength of the hosts' performance on that day too - so swapping zero points for three would be far too simplistic in this case.

Arsenal would have been in a strong position to add four more points to their total late on in games, had VAR seen things differently. And could well have taken significant early leads in matches with Southampton and Man Utd which they only earned one point from in the end.

Four points denied? Six? Nine? It could all have added up to Arsenal being as much as 12 points clear of Man City going into their huge clash at the Emirates on Wednesday night. But instead they will face Pep Guardiola's side knowing defeat will cost them top place in the Premier League.

Follow Arsenal vs Manchester City on the Sky Sports website and App with our live blog and watch free match highlights shortly after full time on our digital platforms and YouTube channel.

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