‘Pathetic’ – Wright, Lineker, Redknapp in agreement after ‘ridiculous’ decision ‘costs’ Arsenal at Aston Villa

Jason Soutar
Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz is adjudged to handle the ball.
Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz is adjudged to handle the ball.

Ian Wright has bemoaned the “ridiculous law” that saw Eddie Nketiah’s late equaliser for Arsenal at Aston Villa disallowed for handball on Kai Havertz.

Nketiah bundled the ball across the line late on but referee Jarred Gillett was quick to disallow the goal after Havertz was adjudged to handle the ball.

The ball bounced all over the place and actually struck Villa defender Matty Cash’s arm before landing on Havertz’s hand and the call to disallow the goal has not gone down too well, with many pundits critical of the rule which backed up Gillett’s decision.

Speaking on Match of the Day, Arsenal legend Wright was not a happy bunny.

“The ball was so close to everybody, it’s hit Matty Cash’s hand, it’s hit Havertz’s hand, but the law says that it cannot hit your hand anywhere and it leads to the goal you score,” he said.

“It’s the most ridiculous law.”

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker added: “Why are we trying to stop goals? The people who make the laws of the game, why are they doing that?”

Lineker’s comments prompted Wright to respond with: “The most ridiculous law in all of laws, not just football law, all law in the whole world of law, the multiverse and everything. It’s ridiculous.”

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Arsenal were also denied a penalty when Douglas Luiz kicked Gabriel Jesus in the box.

It would have been soft had it been given, but it is one of those that have been given plenty of times in the past, as there was contact, even if it was minimal.

Wright also had his say on that incident, saying that his former side should have been awarded a spot-kick.

“I thought it should have been a penalty in the way that penalties are given nowadays with the minimum amount of contact,” he said. “I think he gets the ball there, he’s going to collect it again, he can maybe go and get it again.

“When you look here, he’s clipped it there, there’s the contact. They’re saying that’s minimum contact, but I’m seeing penalties given for minimal contact.”

Lineker added: “I think it’s one of those where if he’d have given it on the pitch, they wouldn’t have turned it over.”

Former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas chimed in, saying: “It’s exactly that, I don’t think it’s a penalty, but I’m with Wrighty in the fact that I’ve seen them given, so I can understand the frustration definitely.”

An irate Wright replied: “Exactly. It’s because they haven’t got a clue in respect to the law so that one’s a penalty and that one isn’t.

“It’s pointless even arguing. Pathetic.”

Meanwhile, Jamie Redknapp was equally as unimpressed with the decision to disallow Nketiah’s equaliser at Villa Park.

“It’s a rubbish rule,” he said. “How can that be a handball? It struck Matty Cash. It is just rebounding around. It may just drop onto his hands and he knocks it into the net.

“The law being if you are the goalscorer and it touches your hands before you put the ball into the net, it’s not going to count.

“We are getting ourselves into such a mess with these rules all the time. How on earth can that be a handball? It’s the rule at the moment. But if we are trying to be helpful and trying to improve to make it a best place for more goals, someone must look at goal.

“It’s a bad rule. It had grazed his arm. If he sticks his arm out and then it hits the hand, then it would be a handball anyway.

“Whoever has decided to come up with that as a law, I think it’s ridiculous. It cost Arsenal a goal.”

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