Mikel Arteta, the manager of Arsenal, accused officials of “changing the rules” after claiming Brentford’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium should have been ruled out for offside.
The Gunners took the lead in the second half thanks to Leandro Trossard’s first goal for the club. But Ivan Toney levelled the score when he nodded in Christian Norgaard’s close-range cross.
“I just looked back and it is offside, yes,” said Arteta. Meanwhile, the video assistant referee delayed Toney’s celebrations for a lengthy check (VAR).
Norgaard appeared to be offside in the buildup to the 74th-minute goal, and there was speculation that Ethan Pinnock had previously blocked Gabriel Magalhaes while in an offside position.
The decision to award the equaliser, however, stood, leaving Arteta frustrated, he said, “The action when you get blocked when you are offside – you cannot block if you are offside.
“You have to apply certain principles in defending and you do that by sticking to the rules. Suddenly you change the rules and then you have to change your principles.
“So tell us before, so then you don’t hide the line that high, because you’re always going to have an advantage if you get blocked.”
On the controversial strike, Brentford boss Thomas Frank said: “I agree that when they kicked the ball, Ethan (Pinnock) is in an offside position. Then, as far as I know the football laws, the next question is did he influence the cross? They decided it was not enough and I agree.”
Arsenal is now six points clear of Manchester City, who play Aston Villa on Sunday before visiting Arsenal on Wednesday.
Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy analysed the Brentford goal on Match of the Day on Saturday and was highly critical of those in charge of the video technology.
Murphy said, “Arsenal weren’t at their best but I can understand why they are angry at the incompetence of the VAR officials. It was a horrendous decision.
“The first one is Pinnock blocking Gabriel and he is an offside position. He’s stopping Gabriel getting to the ball where Toney is at the back.
“Now if they think that he couldn’t have got there and it was just a block and they weren’t sure on the offside, maybe you could understand that. But even if he’s not blocking him, he is offside.
“They spent three minutes looking at that. The fact they are taking so long on that and panicking a bit, they have then clearly missed the worst offence of all which is the header down, again from Pinnock. Norgaard is obviously in an offside position, but they missed it.
“I am amazed it happened. We have been doing VAR for a long time now. I am also amazed because that should be the first thing they check because it is the last thing that happens directly before the goal.”