Explained: Why VAR overturned Erling Haaland penalty decision against Arsenal - but should Man City forward have been sent off for elbow on Gabriel Magalhaes?

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Erling Haaland Manchester City 2022-23
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Manchester City's Erling Haaland was brought down by Arsenal's Gabriel Magalhaes inside the box, but could have seen red minutes later.
  • Haaland awarded penalty for Gabriel foul
  • VAR adjudged striker to be offside
  • Avoided red card for elbow on Brazilian

WHAT HAPPENED? The Norwegian was involved in a coming together with the Arsenal centre-back which started outside the box but whose definitive infringement was inside, with Anthony Taylor pointing to the spot and booking Gabriel as a result. Then, just moments later, Haaland challenged for the ball with Gabriel and clattered the Brazilian in the back of the head with his elbow.

WHY WAS NEITHER DECISION GIVEN? A VAR review adjudged that Haaland was in an offside position when he received the ball from Kyle Walker in the initial phase, meaning any contact from the defender would be irrelevant for the penalty, with the yellow card later rescinded. As for Haaland's challenge on Gabriel, referee Taylor deemed that the striker hadn't led with his elbow, therefore it didn't necessarily constitute violent conduct and didn't warrant a red card.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: City were denied the opportunity to pull back in front from the spot after Kevin De Bruyne's bizarre opener was cancelled out by a Bukayo Saka spot kick. Pep Guardiola's side did eventually take the lead through Jack Grealish, before storming into a two-goal advantage thanks to an inevitable Haaland strike barely eight minutes from time.

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Gabriel Arsenal 2022-23

Erling Haaland Manchester City Gabriel Arsenal 2022-23

WHAT NEXT? A 3-1 victory for City means they claim top spot after months of Arsenal dominance at the Premier League summit.