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Released VAR discussions explain why Arsenal had Kai Havertz penalty overturned against Manchester United

Released VAR discussions explain why Arsenal had Kai Havertz penalty overturned against Manchester United

The Premier League and the PGMOL have released discussions between officials for six key incidents so far this season.

In the first episode of ‘Match Officials: Mic’d Up’, Howard Webb talked through certain decisions made by officials on the pitch and those on VAR duty at Stockley Park so far this season.

One of those came on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal beat Manchester United 3-1 in a dramatic encounter. A late VAR call helped the Gunners, as Alejandro Garnacho’s strike was ruled out for offside, but a decision earlier in the second-half went against them.

Kai Havertz drove into the United box and went down as he moved between Casemiro and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with referee Anthony Taylor pointing to the spot as he deemed the right-back to have tripped the Arsenal midfielder.

As is the case when any penalty is awarded, a VAR review began and Taylor was advised to watch a replay on the pitch-side monitor.

“What you’re going to see is Wan-Bissaka will step across, when there’s no contact with the right foot,” the referee was told as he made his way to the touchline.

“There’s minimal contact then from Havertz’s left foot as he runs through.”

After consulting the footage, Taylor agreed that Havertz had not been tripped by Wan-Bissaka, returning to the pitch to and overturning his decision to award Arsenal a penalty.

“Havertz kicks the leg and Wan-Bissaka doesn’t make a challenge,” he explained.

“OK perfect, so restart, drop-ball to the keeper. Thank you.”

Speaking to Michael Owen on the new programme that will analyse the use of VAR, PGMOL chief Webb praised the work of VAR to help the referee.

“It was a good use of VAR,” he said. “The referee believed that Wan-Bissaka had tripped Havertz, but the video shows something quite different that there’s no actual contact initially.

“Another step by Havertz, his leg goes into Wan-Bissaka. The VAR, really calm and concise, recognises all of that, thinks it’s a clear and obvious error. I agree. Recommends a review. We get to the right decision.”