Former EPL referee Howard Webb breaks down recently released VAR audio communication for controversial Arsenal vs Manchester United match

Manchester United have endured a torrid start to the new season, languishing 11th in the table with two wins and two defeats in their first four games of the season. The Red Devils suffered a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal last Sunday, leaving them with a goal difference of -2, a reminder of what the team went through last season.

While the match was entertaining all through, VAR was at the center of attention again as the technology was used to make several calls that went against both teams. Former Premier League referee Howard Webb has now broken down the penalty incident during the match between Arsenal and Manchester United.

Howard Webb explained released VAR audio

Manchester United suffered a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday despite scoring the first goal of the match through Marcus Rashford. This has put them in a tricky position in the league, but VAR dominated the keenly contested match.

Arsenal thought they had a penalty when Aaron Wan-Bissaka appeared to have tripped Kai Havertz in the box, and referee Anthony Taylor awarded a spot-kick. However, he overturned his decision after consulting with the VAR, and the Premier League posted the conversation between the referee and the VAR on their social media page for transparency.

Immediately after Taylor awarded a penalty to Arsenal, VAR started a check on the incident. The VAR officials looked at the incident from different angles and concluded that the Manchester United full-back did not make any contact with Havertz. However, they left the decision to Taylor and advised him to check the pitchside monitor before making his final decision. After checking the monitor, Anthony Taylor quickly reversed his decision and awarded United a goal kick.

Explaining why this happened, Howard Webb quickly pointed out that people needed to know the process behind the decisions made by the VAR to avoid controversies of any sort.

VAR calls sparked several controversial moments in EPL thus far

The penalty incident was not the only controversial moment in the United-Arsenal match on Sunday. United thought they had scored the winner through Garnacho in the game’s final minutes, but a review of the goal by VAR led to a different outcome. The youngster was judged to have been in an offside position when the pass was played to him, leading to the goal being disallowed, much to the dismay of United fans.

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The technology has caused quite a stir in the new Premier League season. In United’s season opener, Onana clearly fouled a Wolves player in an incident that should have seen the referee award a penalty to Wolves. However, after a review, the referee deemed Onana to have made contact with the ball. The match officials were suspended for the following matchdays after Jon Moss apologized to Gary O’Neil for the outcome of the incident, indicating that it should have been a penalty.

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Will there be more VAR controversies in the Premier League this season? What’s your take on the use of modern technology in such vital decision-making? Let us know what you think in the comments.


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