Why VAR did not punish Emi Martinez for shirt pull on Alexandre Lacazette

Emiliano Martinez appeared to pull Alexandre Lacazette to the floor during Arsenal's defeat at Aston Villa
Emiliano Martinez appeared to pull Alexandre Lacazette to the floor during Arsenal’s defeat at Aston Villa (Picture: BT Sport)

Emiliano Martinez avoided conceding a penalty against Arsenal, after he appeared to haul down his former teammate Alexandre Lacazette, because it is not VAR’s job to interfere in ‘subjective’ incidents, according to former Premier League referee Peter Walton.

Mikel Arteta’s side were condemned to their second defeat in the space of four days with Ollie Watkins’ second minute goal enough to earn Aston Villa their second win over the Gunners this season.

The Arsenal manager felt his side’s display merited at least a point and was angered by the performance of the match officials who he confronted at the final whistle.

Arteta was particularly exasperated by Chris Kavanagh’s decision not to send off Ezri Konsa in the first-half after he felled Bukayo Saka with the Arsenal winger preparing to break through on goal.

Arsenal were also denied a spot kick after the break when Martinez, who put in another accomplished display against his old team, grabbed Lacazette’s shirt while the two were preparing to contest a corner.

Emiliano Martinez helped Aston Villa keep a clean sheet against Arsenal in Saturday's 1-0 win
Emiliano Martinez helped Aston Villa keep a clean sheet against Arsenal in Saturday’s 1-0 win (Picture: Getty)

BT pundits Rio Ferdinand and Peter Crouch felt Martinez was fortunate to avoid conceding a penalty, but Walton disagreed, saying: ‘First of all VAR did have a look at it, they have a silent check on every incident.

‘You could argue the goalkeeper was fouled, you could argue the goalkeeper was fouled by Lacazette. The point is VAR is not there to get the correct decision, it is there to identify clear and obvious errors from the referee, or if the referee has missed something.

‘From a subjective point of view has Lacazette used that as an opportunity to lean on the goalkeeper? We all agree in football there’s a certain amount of physical contact allowed. We don’t want VAR looking at incidents of that nature where it’s such a subjective viewpoint.

‘Because there’s such a subjective nature to that particular offence, VAR would’ve looked at it but it didn’t reach the threshold where it’s a clear and obvious offence.’

MORE : ‘Top-four teams don’t make those mistakes’ – Mikel Arteta criticises Arsenal players after Aston Villa loss

MORE : Rio Ferdinand slams ‘powder puff’ Arsenal performance in Aston Villa loss

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