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We´re behind the rest of the world – Wenger rues VAR vote after Newcastle loss

15 April 2018 17:54

Arsene Wenger believes the Premier League is "behind the rest of the world" following the decision not to implement VAR in next season's top flight.

The Gunners boss was left frustrated that his side were not given a penalty during their 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday.

With the visitors 1-0 up at St. James' Park, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw a shot deflected over the crossbar by defender Jamaal Lascelles, who blocked the ball in the box with a raised hand.

Referee Anthony Taylor awarded a corner rather than a spot-kick and Newcastle levelled the scores just 12 minutes later through Ayoze Perez.

With Premier League clubs having voted to restrict VAR to cup competitions once more in 2017-18, Wenger thinks such incidents will continue to undermine matches.

"The referee is the referee," he told a news conference. "What you want is to help the referee. Unfortunately, the Premier League has decided not to go for VAR. I think that is a very bad decision.

"I believe, with that decision, we are behind the rest of the world."

The Lascelles incident did not distract from a poor showing from the Gunners in the second half, in which Matt Ritchie struck the game's crucial third goal to condemn the visitors to a fifth away defeat in a row in the top flght for the first time since 1984.

"It's a bit the story of the season. We had 70 per cent of the ball, were 1-0 up and in the end you lose 2-1 and you wonder how you can lose this game," said a rueful Wenger.

"We concede two goals from nowhere. [In the] second half I feel some players paid a bit physically from having the game on Thursday night [against CSKA Moscow].

"We played with good spirit but a bad result is the outcome. It's very hard to swallow.

"Of course [the away form] is a concern because traditionally we have a very strong record away from home. It has a subconscious weight in our minds. Once you're in a negative spiral like that, it's very difficult to get out.

"I do not want to go to conclusions today. I think it's very difficult to combine Europa League on Thursday night and play again on Sunday."

Newcastle's win took them to 41 points and all but guarantees their survival, leaving boss Rafael Benitez delighted with his players' efforts.

"We're really pleased to achieve this," he said. "It has been a difficult season. We deserve to be where we are.

"If you want to win against these teams you have to run the extra mile. People dreamed we could do this, this season. But we had to stay awake in order to do it."

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
4 34 +35 68
5 34 +25 63
6 33 +17 54
7 34 +3 52
8 34 +2 44

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