Mikel Arteta demands further explanation as Premier League clarifies Arsenal penalty controversy

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The Premier League have confirmed that VAR Kevin Friend believed that the decision to not award Arsenal a penalty against Burnley was not a clear error.

Mikel Arteta was left incensed after Erik Pieters appeared to deflect a Nicolas Pepe touch with his arm.

Replays showed it clearly hit the Clarets defender on the arm, but after Andre Marriner waved away the initial protests, Friend backed up his decision.

It was a hugely contentious moment on a frustrating afternoon for the Gunners, as they were held 1-1 at Turf Moor.

Mikel Arteta was furious Arsenal were not awarded a penalty for an apparent handball
(Image: BT Sport)

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener was cancelled out when a horrific Granit Xhaka error allowed the hosts to equalise.

Arteta felt his side should have been awarded a penalty in the second half and asked for Premier League clarification.

”It's a really tough place to come on a difficult pitch, but I have to say we should have scored the big chances we had,” he told BT Sport.

“When you miss the chances we had, and you do not get decisions, it is complicated to win football games. If that is not a penalty, then someone needs to explain what one is.

The Premier League have confirmed that the proximity of Pieters meant it wasn't an obvious error by the referee

"From what we produced, you have to come here and win. When you do not, you have to look at yourself. We completely dominated the first half but they make it difficult with a lot of long ball.

“If the first one is not a penalty honestly someone has to come to the training ground and explain what a handball is. It cannot be any clearer.”

And soon after the full-time whistle, Premier League bosses released the following statement suggesting proximity played a key role in the decision making process.

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The statement read: "The ball has hit him from close proximity and he’s had no time to react.

"It wasn’t given on-field and the VAR didn’t think it was a clear error."

Arsenal legend Martin Keown was on Arteta’s side, claiming the decision to not award a penalty was ‘beyond him’.

He said: “I know the rules are going to be changed, but this is definitely handball. This is very definite, out comes the arm and how have VAR looked at that – someone in the VAR hub has looked at that and said ‘no’ – it’s beyond me.”

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