Arsenal were left broken hearted after slipping to a injury time defeat to Man City at the Emirates on another day dominated by VAR related controversy.
The Gunners began brightly and after nine minutes it looked like they would have the chance to take the lead when Ederson appeared to bring down Martin Odegaard in the area. However, referee Stuart Attwell waived away the home sides claims and VAR decided not to intervene.
Arsenal continued to pile the pressure on the league leaders and just after the half-hour mark the raucous home crowd would get what they craved. The hugely impressive Bukayo Saka sweeping home a Kieran Tierney pass from 12-yards out to give his side a deserved lead.
Man City had looked far from their free flowing best but in the 55th minute they would be awarded a penalty after Granit Xhaka was adjudged to have felled Bernardo in the box, and that’s when things began to reach boiling point.
Referee Attwell had initially decided against pointing to the spot, but unlike with the Odegaard incident VAR intervened and asked that the footage be reviewed on the pitch side monitor. After Attwell awarded the penalty, Riyad Mahrez duly stepped up and clinically fired home.
Just a few minutes later things would really start to unravel for the Gunners when in the space of a few seconds they saw Gabriel Martinelli miss an open goal at one end and centre-back Gabriel sent-off for for a second bookable offence, after the Brazilian hauled down fellow countryman Gabriel Jesus.
Enraged by the referee and officials, Arsenal lost their head somewhat before recovering and defending stoically to enter injury time with the scores level.
However, late heart break was in store for the home crowd when in the third minute of injury time Rodri poked home from eight yards out to hand City a controversial late victory.
Speaking afterward’s Arsenal coach Albert Stuivenberg – standing in for covid absentee Mikel Arteta – felt his side deserved all three points.
“We are very frustrated with the outcome if you play a game like this against one of the best teams in the world,” Stuivenberg told BT Sport.
”At the end to have zero points is frustrating because we should have won the game.”
While the subject of the Bernardo and Odegaard decisions were discussed, the Gunners coach was quick to point out how proud he was of Arsenal’s display.
“I think it is a penalty but I am looking for consistency. We have VAR in place so why not check yourself as a referee? That did not happen so it is disappointing.
“We did really, really good, how many chances did they really create? Until the end, they have lucky chance when it drops to them.
”The fans enjoyed our performance today, we had our chances, we had the big one at 1-1 with Gabriel Martinelli, it did not go our way but proud of the performance.”
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