'What a joke': Aussie at centre of Premier League 'disgrace'

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·Sports Editor
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Jarred Gillett, pictured here in the Premier League.
Jarred Gillett came under fire after Arsenal's loss to Manchester City. Image: Getty/Optus Sport

Australian official Jarred Gillett is at the centre of controversy in the UK after Manchester City's 2-1 win over Arsenal in the Premier League.

Arsenal fans hurled plastic bottles and toilet rolls at City's celebrating players after Rodri scored a stoppage-time winner at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

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City's comeback to win 2-1 and secure an 11th-straight Premier League victory was completed in the third minute of stoppage time, prompting Rodri to rip off his jersey and slide across the field right in front of the home supporters.

Arsenal fans were left incensed by Rodri's actions, but not as much as they were fuming at Gillett - the video assistant referee (VAR).

The first Premier League match of the year turned into a suffocating affair for referee Stuart Attwell, the principal target of the wrath of Gunners' supporters at a seething Emirates Stadium.

Yet it was Australian official Gillett, tucked some 20 miles away in a quiet office in the Premier League's west London VAR hub, who was also at the heart of the New Year's Day drama as he was accused of inconsistency in his video monitoring role.

Arsenal, who had produced one of their most impressive displays of the season, were left aggrieved by the performance of both Attwell and Gillett after they saw their 1-0 lead eventually overturned by Rodri's last-gasp winner.

In the opening 10 minutes, Arsenal thought they had a penalty when City keeper Ederson went in foot-first and brought down Martin Odegaard inside the box - but Attwell didn't want to know and Gillett agreed.

However Gillett did decide to intervene in the crucial second-half incident when Bernardo Silva went down theatrically in the box after a shirt tug by Granit Xhaka. 

Attwell initially waved away City's claims, but Gillett told Attwell to review the incident and Man City were awarded the spot kick that Riyad Mahrez converted to get them back into a game.

Down to 10 men after Brazilian defender Gabriel was sent off for two yellow card offences, Arsenal were left holding on before Rodri poked home in the dying seconds and celebrated bare-chested in front of the Gunners fans.

Manchester City players, pictured here celebrating after their last-gasp win over Arsenal.
Manchester City players celebrate after their last-gasp win over Arsenal. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Jarred Gillett under fire over VAR controversy

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale hit out at Gillett after the game, saying: "Both penalties, I don't know why the ref is told to see one and not the other. It is there for a reason, go and use it. It is the inconsistency.

"The whole point is to help the game out. In real time, it didn't look like one and slow it down on a screen and it is given."

Arsenal assistant manager Albert Stuivenberg, standing in for Mikel Arteta who was absent after a positive Covid-19 test, said: "The moment with Odegaard, I think it is a clear penalty but at least a moment for the referee to check (on the monitor).

"It happened in the second half with their penalty which is not really consistent."

Arsenal fans were also seething on social media.

City boss Pep Guardiola admitted Arsenal were the better team.

"Now we find time to rest - 11 wins in a row, that is great in this period. Just take a look at our bench today - there were four guys from the academy," said the Spaniard.

"We had many cases of Covid and injuries. This period we were incredibly tired. Arsenal was better today. Sometimes it can happen."

The 35-year-old Gillett became the first non-British or Irish official to referee a Premier League game in September when he took charge of a 1-1 draw between Watford and Newcastle.

He has also spent plenty of time on duty at the Premier League's Stockley Park VAR hub, which oversees the video replays at the top-flight matches.

with AAP

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