Ref Watch: No foul in build-up to Arsenal's disallowed winner, says Dermot Gallagher

Plus analysis of penalties for Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Brighton

Arsenal vs Palace
Image: Arsenal had a late winner against Crystal Palace disallowed by VAR, but Dermot Gallagher did not agree with the decision

There was no foul in the build-up to Arsenal's disallowed winner, says Dermot Gallagher, who also looks at VAR calls for Manchester United, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton.

VAR has now been used in 100 Premier League games and heading into the weekend, it had not been used to give a red card or a penalty. However, the latest round of matches saw both of these happen as Ryan Bertrand was sent off for Southampton on Friday Night Football and an incredible four penalties were given across the 10 fixtures.

Speaking about the heavy use of VAR over the weekend, Gallagher said: "The PGMOL have reflected on their decisions in the first eight weeks and came out publicly to say the Youri Tielemans foul [on Callum Wilson at the end of August] should have been a red card, there were a few penalties they should have given so they're moving forward.

VAR so far in numbers

  • 100 Premier Leagues games now played with VAR.
  • Over 600 incidents have been checked.
  • There have been 26 overturned decisions.
  • There were 7 decisions overturned over the weekend - the highest in a single round of matches.

"Then, on Friday, we saw an incident where Mike Dean intervened and gave a red card, which is absolutely textbook, and I wonder if that was the catalyst that saw a few more looked at but again, they will readjust. It will steady out."

Read on to find out Gallagher's in-depth thoughts on a number of controversial VAR incidents from the weekend...

Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal's draw with Crystal Palace in the Premier League

INCIDENT: In the 83rd minute, Sokratis had the ball in the back of the net, thinking he had secured a 3-2 win for Arsenal. However, VAR ruled out the goal with Calum Chambers deemed to have fouled Luka Milivojevic in the build-up.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Incorrect decision.

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DERMOT SAYS: The VAR's thinking that when he diagnoses it, so to speak, he thinks Chambers trips Milivojevic. I think it's a tough, tough call but for me, it's not a foul. There's not enough contact and I don't think it's clear and obvious. But the official at Stockley Park took his time, he went through it frame-by-frame and that's the decision he came to.

I think it took a while because he wanted to be sure. VAR looked at it and saw the two players tangle. We disagree with him but sometimes that's how it is with decision making, but if you take your time and get it right, everyone would praise you so if he takes his time and people disagree, you've still got to give him the same respect.

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Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka reacted angrily after being booed off by his own supporters in their Premier League game against Crystal Palace

They've said the on-field screen will be used sparingly by the referee and in incidences like that, the VAR referee went through it frame-by-frame, he made his decision and he had already alerted Martin to something that might change. He stuck with the VAR and I can understand why.

INCIDENT: Wilfried Zaha went over in the area after a tussle with Chambers. The Crystal Palace winger was initially shown a yellow card for simulation and no penalty given, but VAR intervened to overturn both decisions. Milivojevic converted the spot-kick and Zaha's yellow card was chalked off.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: This is what VAR is for. Martin [Atkinson] thinks he has gone over too easily, he's dived, but if you look at it, Chambers has quite clearly fouled him. VAR is absolutely correct to bring it back and give a penalty and rescind the yellow card for diving because it's not.

Norwich 1-3 Man Utd

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester United's win over Norwich in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Manchester United were awarded their first penalty as Ben Godfrey was penalised for a collision with Dan James in the area, with both players going down. Referee Stuart Attwell did not initially give the penalty, but he was over-ruled by VAR, despite replays showing James leaned into the Norwich defender. Marcus Rashford saw his effort eventually saved by Tim Krul.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Incorrect decision.

DERMOT SAYS: No, it's not a penalty. I think it is very difficult for a defender to foul a forward when he has gotten in front like he did here. He's got the advantage there and James goes into him. He moves across Godfrey, bumps into his thigh and for me, it's not a foul. The defender is in a perfect position there.

Tim Krul denies Anthony Martial from the spot at Carrow Road
Image: Tim Krul saved two Man Utd penalties at Carrow Road

INCIDENT: Man Utd were given another spot-kick as a shot from Fred was judged to have hit the arm of Todd Cantwell in the area. Again, Attwell did not give it initially but VAR overturned it. Krul saved again, though, keeping out Anthony Martial.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: "I think this is where VAR works because it's easy for the referee to see it's handball because his arms are outstretched but what is very difficult is to see where it occurred. He handles it just within the penalty area, and with the referee's view, as Cantwell is in the air and then comes down, he wouldn't be aware at what point he handled the ball. VAR, looking sideways on, has got that perfectly."

Brighton 3-2 Everton

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Brighton's win over Everton in the Premier League

INCIDENT: In the 78th minute, Michael Keane and Aaron Connolly were both focused on a high ball, with Connolly then going down clutching his ankle. Referee Andy Madley waved the play on, but VAR reviewed the decision and showed Keane just caught the Brighton forward on the ankle. Lee Mason at Stockley Park awarded Brighton the penalty, much to the dismay of Everton, which Neal Maupay converted.

After the game, manager Marco Silva questioned why the Brighton penalty had been given and not one for Richarlison in the 55th minute after he was pulled down in the area by Martin Montoya.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Correct decisions.

DERMOT SAYS: "I think this is the result of the David Silva and Jefferson Lerma one in as much that they decided that when he stood on his foot, it should have been a penalty.

"Here, VAR has shown that Keane has stood on his foot and therefore he has given a penalty. That's how they've moved forward. He stands on his foot and that's what we've been told so I can't argue with the pictures.

"I wouldn't have given the Richarlison one, but many would I think. He is already on his way down, feels a touch and continues to go down so it's not a penalty for me."

Southampton 0-9 Leicester

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester's win over Southampton in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Early in the game, Bertrand caught Ayoze Perez down the back of the shin with his studs up. Nothing was given by referee Andre Marriner initially, but VAR pulled the play back with Bertrand eventually shown a red card.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: "I think this is textbook and Mike Dean, the VAR referee at Stockley Park, was absolutely brilliant. The referee clearly doesn't see anything, there's no doubt about that, but Mike goes back and has a look and says to Andre Marriner 'I can assure you that the point of contact is high, he's hit him with his studs and it's a serious foul'. It's relayed to Andre that it's a red card and it's absolutely spot on."

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