Mikel Arteta revealed referee Paul Tierney told him the decision to disallow Gabriel Martinelli’s first-half goal against Manchester United was “soft”.
The Gunners thought they had taken the lead at Old Trafford when Martin Odegaard stole Christian Eriksen and nudged the ball towards Bukayo Saka.
The Arsenal winger played a perfect through ball, sending Martinelli clear and the Brazilian striker clipped the ball over David de Gea and gave his side what he thought was a 12th advantage.
The United players immediately protested to Tierney and when the official was encouraged to watch the incident between Odegaard and Eriksen on the pitchside monitor, the result was inevitable.
Arteta then revealed the details of his conversation with the referee, saying: “The referee said it was a really soft decision – we just ask for consistency, today we didn’t allow the goal again, unfortunately we can’t do it anymore.”
Odegaard agreed with his manager’s assessment, adding: “In my opinion, it’s never a foul.
“I think the referee sees it too and says play on.
“It’s a gentle challenge and you know VAR has to be clear and obvious to come in. They’ve said it many times and to me it’s very, very soft.
“You can always do it a little worse in front of the camera, but for me it was never a foul. The referee said he saw it on the pitch, it was very frustrating.
On the disappointment of giving up an unbeaten start to the new season, Arteta added: “We had a time of 8-10 minutes, it took us a while to get into the game and after that it was mainly Arsenal the way we dominated and the number of opportunities we created.
“The team reacted and I said the game was winnable, if we played bravely we could have scored two or three more goals – you have to kill the game, we gave away the ball in a dangerous area and against that she puts you around.
“We stepped in and they took advantage of that, it’s really disappointing because when these guys play like they’ve done here it’s a huge credit to them but we need a better result.
“What we have to learn is that you have to have so much discipline in these games, every detail they’re going to materialize because they have world-class players all over the pitch.”
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