Aston Villa can have no complaints over their 3-1 beating from Arsenal on Friday, despite a moment of VAR confusion after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s spot-kick.

The Gunners were already 1-0 ahead thanks to Thomas Partey’s header when Alexandre Lacazette was chopped down by Matt Targett with less than five seconds left in the first-half.

Play continued, Craig Pawson blew his whistle and the 22 men already had eyes on the dressing room – but the referee instead ran to the VAR monitor, before pointing to the spot.

Former Gunners stopper Emi Martinez sharply scrambled to his right and parried Aubameyang’s initial effort, but the Argentine could only watch as the rebound was cooly swept in.

Villa fans had questions though, with @theretroboot writing on Twitter: ‘Hold on….. the ref blew for half-time before the penalty, so how was Aubameyang given the extra time to finish the rebound?’

Unfortunately for Villa fans, Aubameyang’s strike was solid. Despite the players’ confusion, Pawson blew his whistle to check the VAR monitor, not for half-time, according to the Sun.

Emile Smith-Rowe added a third in the second-half to complete a confidence boosting night in north London, though Dean Smith wasn’t satisfied with the referee’s decision post-match.

The Villa boss said: ‘It is a lower contact tackle. Grey areas, does he touch the ball first or his leg first?’

‘I thought they were the ones we were not going to VAR for. I am even wondering why he is allowed to put the rebound in.

‘My understanding was he is walking off the pitch if he does not go to VAR, they cant give me any clarity on that.’

The Gunners made it four victories in six Premier League games on Friday, now speeding away from the scene of their implosion in the opening games.


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