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29th Dec 2023

Thierry Henry slams VAR following controversial goal in Arsenal defeat to West Ham

Charlie Herbert

thierry henry var

He said it’s ‘impossible’ for the referees

Thierry Henry has hit out at VAR for not having more conclusive camera angles after West Ham’s opening goal in their 2-0 win at Arsenal was allowed to stand.

Match officials have admitted that VAR didn’t have the correct camera angle to conclusively determine if the ball went out of play in the lead-up to Tomas Soucek’s goal in Arsenal’s shock defeat.

The Gunners missed the opportunity to go top of the Premier League table as they slumped to a disappointing loss at home to the Hammers.

Goals from Soucek and Konstantinos Mavropanos gave David Moyes’ side the lead, and Arsenal were unable to break down West Ham.

But there was controversy over the first West Ham goal, after VAR was called on to decide if the ball had gone out of play before Jarrod Bowen’s cross, which Soucek scored from.

After a lengthy check of the goal, the video assistant referee decided it was not possible to conclusively rule if the ball had gone out of play due to a lack of clear camera angles, so the goal stood.

Following the game, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta – who has had his issues with VAR and referees already this season – revealed the match officials told him the images they had were “not conclusive.”

He bemoaned the lack of a better camera angle to decide if the ball had gone out or not, saying: “It’s just a shame that the technology that we have is not that clear that we can say it’s out of play. It’s done, it’s gone and there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

This view was echoed by Gunners legend Thierry Henry, who questioned why a camera angle from above was not available to match officials.

Speaking on Amazon Prime’s coverage of the match, he said: “If you want to help the referees to have the right angle, if you want to know if the ball is out, you have to be above the ball. That’s the only way you can know if the ball is out or not.

“We’re in 2023 and we still don’t have a camera angle that can be above. It’s too many times, when you don’t know if you cross the ball back or not, if the ball is out or not. So can we have a camera that can be above so we can see if the ball is out or not? If not it’s just impossible.”

Meanwhile, former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg explained why he believed the match officials had made the right call.

He said: “There is no other decision the match officials can give.

“The assistant referee, who is on the goal line, cannot see clearly if the ball has gone out of play.

“The on-field decision is a goal. When you look at all the evidence, we cannot be 100 per cent certain that the ball has gone out.”

Arsenal are next in action on New Year’s Eve when they travel to Fulham.

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