Alexandre Lacazette snatches stoppage-time point for Arsenal with final kick of the game just as it seemed Odsonne Edouard and Christian Benteke had fired Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace to victory at Emirates Stadium; Mikel Arteta takes issue with James McArthur challenge on Bukayo Saka
Tuesday 19 October 2021 14:12, UK
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was shocked VAR failed to intervene at the end of the first half as Bukayo Saka was kicked on the back of the calf by James McArthur.
Palace conceded a last-gasp equaliser in a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Emirates. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Arsenal ahead early on but from then on Palace were the better side as Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard struck in the second half to seemingly win the game - only for substitute Alexandre Lacazette to level at the death.
Palace midfielder McArthur was booked by referee Mike Dean, but Saka had to be substituted at the break and Arteta was unhappy that McArthur stayed on the pitch.
"If we want to detect things that are really relevant in a game and can change a football match, then they have to be looked at," he said.
"That situation is not only affecting them, but we have to take the player off because of the action so it is affecting it two different ways. It is not right.
"You [need to] make a straight decision, when it is so clear and so obvious straight away and they have to play with 10 men.
"Bukayo could not continue, we had to take him off at half-time, I saw the action and I can't believe how the player continued on the pitch.
"I don't get it. With what we were explained at the start of the season and what happened tonight, it doesn't make any sense."
Speaking after Arteta's comments on Monday Night Football, Jamie Carragher said: "We're all pleased with the area VAR is in this season [compared with] the last couple of seasons, and it feels like it takes an awful lot for them to say it was a clear and obvious error.
"I think Jurgen Klopp mentioned this a few weeks ago: what is clear and obvious? That's different for lots of different people - [this incident] is just an obvious error. That's clear.
"So if [VAR] feels it's a red card, and we do, Mikel Arteta does, and I don't think Palace would complain too much - it's just an error that should be overturned.
"It feels like a grey area. When you look at it, he's just taken a swipe at him and completely taken him out and taken him out of the game.
"McArthur had a couple of challenges before [the Saka foul] which could have been a yellow, but this is just so strange looking at it.
"When someone doesn't see the player, and they're going to volley the ball, and then the [other] player comes from nowhere, you can say, 'I understand what he's done there' - but this is one where he's actually right in front of him.
"If Saka comes from behind, you'd say, 'yes, it's a sore challenge', but there's no way [McArthur] can't see Saka as he's trying to volley it.
"Now, the referee had just blown his whistle, I think it was for a handball in the box. I don't know if [McArthur] thinks, 'the whistle has gone, I can get away with this one' - and he has got away with it. There's no doubt.
"I don't think Crystal Palace or McArthur could have any qualms if that was given as a red card because he's right on his eye line.
"If you see it at full speed, because things always look worse in slow motion, you see the handball, the referee just blows his whistle, and [it appears he thinks he can have] a free whack, but it's not great."
Patrick Vieira admitted it hurt to see his Palace side concede a last-gasp equaliser that cost him a win on his return to Arsenal.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles and captained the Gunners during their unbeaten 'Invincibles' campaign and his name rang around the Emirates Stadium before and after a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Vieira had pumped the air in celebration at both of Palace's goals but was left down on his haunches as Lacazette peeled away in jubilation at his late equaliser.
"I was really pleased with the attitude we showed today on the field," he said. "It was challenging in the first 15 minutes but afterwards we managed and controlled the game quite well.
"That is why the draw hurts - because of the performance we had today. I'm really disappointed for my players because they played well, showed a lot of character and personality.
"I think when looking at how the game went and coming back in the second half and scoring two goals, the way we conceded the second one, I think it is two points lost for us and we are disappointed not leaving the stadium with a win."
Arsenal host Aston Villa on Friday Night Football at 8pm - live on Sky Sports - before Crystal Palace host Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday at 3pm.