The ball is headed into the box – Furious Mikel Arteta calls Brentford equaliser against Arsenal a ‘change of rules’

Brentford’s controversial equaliser at Arsenal was only allowed to stand because the Var operators failed to draw the correct lines on an offside decision, it was claimed.

The alleged error could have a significant impact on the title race, with Manchester City now able to close the gap to Arsenal to just three points if they defeat Aston Villa on Sunday.

Chris Foy, a former Premier League referee, was in the Premier League’s Match Centre at Stockley Park on Saturday afternoon and said that “human error” had resulted in Ivan Toney’s goal being allowed to stand.

After the match, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had accused the officials of “changing the rules” as he claimed the goal should have been disallowed due to Brentford’s Ethan Pinnock being in an offside position in the build-up.

Brentford defender Ethan Pinnock grapples with Gabriel

Brentford defender Ethan Pinnock grapples with Gabriel

It later emerged there was a second possible offence, though, as midfielder Christian Norgaard received the ball in an offside position before he crossed for Toney to score.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Foy claimed that Var official Lee Mason seemingly failed to “fully investigate” the positioning of Norgaard, having instead been focused on the collision between Pinnock and Arsenal defender Gabriel.

“Var was looking to see if there was an offside and whether Ethan Pinnock had blocked off Gabriel in the build-up,” said Foy. “He looked at the possible foul and decided there hadn’t been one and therefore referee Peter Bankes hadn’t made a clear and obvious error.

“However, in the build-up to the goal, Christian Norgaard – whose cross it is that Toney heads in – is in an offside position.

“However, the truth is that Var didn’t fully investigate with the lines. The lines, simply, didn’t go down. And that counts as human error. Had the lines gone down the goal would have been disallowed for offside.”

Arteta had complained after the match about the offside a few seconds earlier in the move, involving Pinnock, and said the decision not to penalise the Brentford defender effectively resembled a “change of rules”.

Mikel Arteta approaches the officials at the final whistle - John Walton/PA

Mikel Arteta approaches the officials at the final whistle – John Walton/PA

“I just looked back and it is offside,” said Arteta. “They will probably give an explanation later in the week but today we have not got one. You have to apply certain principles in defending and you do that by sticking to the rules. Suddenly you change the rules, and then you have to change your principles.

“So, tell us before. Then you don’t hold the line that high, because you are always going to have a disadvantage if you get blocked.”

Arteta added: “If we apply what the referee tells us every single week, that if you are the blocker then you are offside, then it is offside.”

Thomas Frank, the Brentford head coach, said he agreed with the decision – which was closely studied by the Var officials – as he did not believe Pinnock had interfered with play.

“Every week there are Var decisions that go marginally one way or the other,” said Frank. “I agree that when they kicked the ball, Ethan is in an offside position. Then, as far as I know the football laws, the next question is did he influence the cross? They decided it was not enough and I agree.”

Telegraph Sport have approached PGMOL for comment.

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