Arsenal 0:2 West Ham: Why VAR Failed to Intervene in Soucek’s Controversial Goal

Arsenal 0:2 West Ham: Why VAR Failed to Intervene in Soucek’s Controversial Goal

Elijah Odetokun
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
Jarrod Bowen logo
J. Bowen
West Ham United logoFEngland logo
Blansko logo--
English Premier League logo
ENG Premier League
  • Arsenal lost 2-0 to London rivals West Ham at the Emirates Stadium
  • The first-half goal by Tomas Soucek has sparked controversy
  • Fans are confused why VAR allowed the goal to stand after checks

Arsenal will feel cheated once again after conceding a controversial opening in their 2-0 loss against West Ham and are furious that the video assistant referee did not intervene.

The Gunners needed a win to return to the top of the Premier League table, but they failed to break down a defensively disciplined West Ham team, and David Moyes claimed his first win at the Emirates Stadium.

Tomas Soucek controversially opened the scoring for the Hammers from Jarod Bowen’s cross where the ball appeared to have crossed the line, but the goal stood after a VAR check.

Michael Oliver, Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek, Gabriel Magalhaes, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Jesus, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal, West Ham, Emirates Stadium.
Referee Michael Oliver addressing the players after Tomas Soucek's controversial goal. Photo by Catherine Ivill.
Source: Getty Images

Former Gunner Konstantinos Mavropanos doubled the lead with a powerful header from a corner. The Irons could have walked out with three goals but Said Benrahma missed a penalty which Declan Rice gave away against his former club.

Why VAR allowed Soucek's goal to stand

The goal was subjected to VAR checks but was allowed to stand, much to the dismay of Arsenal fans who felt they had been ‘robbed’ again or there was an agenda against them.

Per Metro UK, VAR will keep the on-field decision if there is no conclusive evidence to act against it. In this case, Bowen’s body covered all angles of the ball, making it difficult to ascertain.

Former PL referee Mark Clattenburg also shed light on the incident:

“The on-field decision is a goal, so they have to find conclusive evidence that the ball has gone out of play. From the angles I have seen, the ball looks to be slightly in play…. When you look at all the evidence, we cannot be 100 percent certain that the ball has gone out.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta refused to blame the VAR despite being on the receiving end of such decisions for the second time this season, having lost to Newcastle United with a goal that appeared to have gone out of play.

He expressed disappointment with the result but praised his players. Per Squawka, the North London side had 77 touches in the opposition box and took 30 shots but failed to score.

Exciting news! We have a WhatsApp channel 🤩

➡️ Click to join our channel for all your favourite sports news.

Five controversial decisions against Arsenal

Sports Brief analysed five controversial decisions against Arsenal after Arteta went on a rant following the decision against his team in the 1-0 loss to Newcastle.

The Gunners were also on the wrong side of poor officiating after Manchester City star Mateo Kovacic escaped a red card for two offences, though a win compensated the Londoners.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.
Emirates Stadium