‘WTF’: Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fumes at Trent Alexander-Arnold tackle and failure to use VAR

Jack de Menezes
·2-min read
Trent Alexander-Arnold escaped with a yellow card for this challenge on Bukayo Saka: Amazon Prime
Trent Alexander-Arnold escaped with a yellow card for this challenge on Bukayo Saka: Amazon Prime

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could not understand why the Video Assistant Referee did not check Trent Alexander-Arnold’s tackle on Bukayo Saka during the 2-1 victory over Liverpool on Wednesday.

Alexander-Arnold received a yellow card shortly after the start of the second half for a bad challenge on Saka, having caught the Arsenal youngster high on the calf with his studs that left him writhing in agony on the Emirates Stadium turf.

Yet despite the nasty-looking challenge being spotted by referee Paul Tierney, the England defender received a yellow card to ensure Liverpool remained at full strength, with VAR electing not to review the decision.

The call infuriated Arsenal fans who saw striker Eddie Nketiah receive a red card from a VAR review for a similar challenge in the recent draw with Leicester City, and captain Aubameyang had a very similar reaction.

Responding to a tweet of the challenge from Amazon Prime, Aubameyang said: “WTF didn’t even get the VAR on this one.”

Dissecting the incident on Match of the Day on Wednesday night, Gary Lineker admitted that the two challenges were “very similar” to each other, only to result in different outcomes, though former Arsenal striker Ian Wright left it in little doubt how he felt the foul should have been handled.

“There’ll probably be some long-winded reason why that’s not a sending off but Eddie Nketiah’s is,” Wright said. “Something like that. But they were (very similar).”

Last week’s 1-1 draw between Arsenal and Leicester saw referee Chris Kavanagh use the pitchside monitor to review Nketiah’s rash challenge on defender James Justin, which took place seconds after the striker had come onto the pitch as a substitute, that Mikel Arteta took exception to seeing given it has not been utilised elsewhere.

“In the last year I have never seen a referee check any images,” Arteta said after the match with Leicester. “I do not understand the rules. But I can do nothing now.”