EPL

Sokratis: Arsenal have been unlucky with VAR this season

By Sports Desk January 11, 2020

Sokratis Papastathopoulos feels Arsenal have been "unlucky" with VAR decisions this season following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's red card in the 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Gunners striker Aubameyang netted for the 14th time in the Premier League this season before being sent off in the second half, after Palace had equalised through a deflected effort from Jordan Ayew.

Referee Paul Tienery initially cautioned Aubameyang for his challenge on Max Meyer but, following a VAR review of over two minutes, the decision was changed to a dismissal as the Gabon international sunk his studs into the German midfielder’s ankle.

In the reverse fixture, Sokratis had a would-be winner overturned for a foul in the build-up, while Arsenal were also denied a penalty in the 1-0 loss to Sheffield United in October.

"VAR is there to help the referees," Sokratis told BT Sport after the London derby clash at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

"I didn't see the action but we are disappointed this year because we are a little bit unlucky from the VAR, we lost many points.

"It's not against VAR or the referee, just we are unlucky."

Aubameyang's tackle on Meyer was in front of the two benches, with Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta adamant there was no malice from Arsenal's top scorer, who will now miss three top-flight matches.

"It went really quick. I saw that he caught the player," Arteta told BBC Sport.

"Obviously knowing Auba there is no such intention to make such a foul or injure the player but VAR made a decision and we have to accept it."

Palace boss Roy Hodgson was left in no doubt over the eventual outcome.

"It was close to me and I knew it was a bad challenge, there's no question about that," Hodgson said.

"I couldn't really totally judge the severity of it until I came in afterwards and they showed me on the video.

"When you see it on the video, the only thing that is surprising is that it took so long to decide it was a red card. It was one of the most obvious ones you could ever wish to see.

"I don't think Aubameyang went in with the intention of committing that foul. I think it was his enthusiasm, trying to be aggressive, but unfortunately he committed a very, very bad challenge and deserved to be sent off."

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