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Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth – Highlights & Reaction

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AFC Bournemouth traveled to London on Saturday on the hunt for points to not only add to a record-breaking tally achieved already this season but in a bid to try and secure a top-half finish in the Premier League.

Arsenal are desperate for points as they battle with Manchester City for the Premier League title. As a neutral, the home side’s victory is potentially the best result to try and take the battle for the title as close to the final day as possible and some cynical football supporters may well argue that some refereeing decisions in this game would help that.

Arsenal found the opener through a controversial penalty, where the Arsenal attacker opted to drag his own foot over the goalkeeper to initiate contact. Was it natural or indeed enough contract to force him to the floor face first?

Then when AFC Bournemouth had the ball in the back of the net, a slight touch on the goalkeeper was enough to disallow the goal…ignoring a more clear and obvious foul on Philip Billing moments before Solanke’s adjudged foul on the goalkeeper. Disallow the goal and award the penalty? Or give the free-kick which happened after the penalty claim? Obviously, give the free-kick to title-chasing Arsenal.

All seemingly very pointlessly convenient.

After the match, AFC Bournemouth head coach Andoni Iraola told Sky Sports

“First of all, I think I would like to say that I think Arsenal deserved to win today.

“I think they were better than us, especially first half. I think they pushed us a lot, but I don’t think the game should have gone the way it has gone because the referee decisions, I don’t agree with the decisions.

“I don’t agree with the penalty one, but especially with the disallowed goal.

“But I want to repeat – I think they were better than us and I think they should have won the game.”

Man of the match against Arsenal

O. Dango

O. Dango













Someone else

Someone else


The first half wasn’t an AI performance. More a GON one. That said, we were resolute and they were wasteful and should have gone in level. Except for a penalty we would never, ever get.

The second half was a different story and was much more like what we’ve come to expect. Was good to see.

The disallowed goal was the PL all over. The top six team never gets that disallowed. Even if they do, then they get the pen for the foul on Billing. As we’re neither we got neither.

The commentator actually celebrating the Arsenal third tells you everything you need to know about the PL. Cheering the goal? It’s beyond parody.

The PL is a paradox. I always want us to play as high as we can but it gets tiresome watching the same things happen in favour of the same teams time and again. And VAR, which we were told would level that playing field, has actually turned out to be an undercover way of doing the opposite.

I want us to be in this league. I wish we weren’t in this league.


Despite still seething over the referee, I have to admit that we were cut to ribbons multiple times in the first half and were saved by a combo of good keeping, heroic blocks and average finishing. However, that doesn’t excuse the cheating or the ref buying it.

The second half was much better, AIball came out to play, and we should have had a goal before the ridiculous disallowal.

Subs didn’t really help, Billing in particular had one of his off days and didn’t seem to want to get involved.

Kudos to Travs and the back four who I thought all had better games than 0-3 would indicate, but the majority of Arsenal’s chances came from us losing it in midfield or up top and then them swiftly passing and running into space where our midfield should have been

One final point, Rice really is a Rolls Royce of a footballer, most of the good things went through him and he seems to be aware of everything around him, he stood out today


VAR has been a pain for a long time. But today really got to me. I’m not angry or frustrated, although I was. I just feel kind of sad, maybe helpless, resigned even about what is being lost.

If the Arsenal penalty was one then there should be 100s more than there are. It was a dive. A trailing foot deliberately made contact with a stationary leg that was flat on the ground. Cheating, simulation, a dive.

If Dom fouled the keeper then there should be 20 penalties every game. If the incident had been the other way would we have had a penalty? Of course not. And we wouldn’t have expected it.

If billing wasn’t fouled then how can Dom’s be a foul?

Both decisions were wrong. I don’t understand the clear and obvious error thing. Is being wrong not enough? If the first one wasn’t a foul then it wasn’t. If the ref thought it was a foul and it wasn’t. It was an error. Pretty clear and pretty obvious.

And the commentators go along with it. Call it for what it is. Two wrong decisions that deprived us of a really good game.

Would Arsenal have won? Almost certainly. But it’s not about the result it’s about the way that they’re ruining the game.


I didn’t go so had to endure the whole build-up, the deluded commentators, the terrible decisions on the box.

The whole spectacle from the crowd and the Arsenal players baying for every single decision, to the commentary fawning all over them, made me sick.

The whole thing stinks. A multi-billion pound, worldwide industry dependant on them turning us over today to extend the season and by hook or by crook it was going to happen one way or another. The thing is they don’t even hide it anymore so what’s the point?


If anyone was still in any doubt that VAR was there to ensure that big teams get the ‘right’ results, this was it. Really don’t mind getting beat by a better team, but it leaves a very bitter taste to get cheated by officials that don’t have the backbone to make fair decisions. You end up asking yourself ‘Just what is the point’? In addition, it would have been a much better spectacle if the ref had just made the fair choices. Arsenal would still, probably, have won and everyone would go home happier. Ruining the game.

Johnny Comelately

The worst thing about the one-sided officiating and VAR is that clubs like Arsenal don’t need it. They’re good enough as it is. The awful decisions that’ve been given this season especially have sucked all the pleasure out of the game. Teams like Bournemouth might as well be told they’ve lost before they get on the coach so they can have the weekend off.  – To join the conversation, click here.

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