Mikel Arteta Calls for VAR in the Europa League Group Stage

Jamie Spencer
Mikel Arteta wants UEFA to implement VAR earlier
Mikel Arteta wants UEFA to implement VAR earlier / Julian Finney/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has called for VAR to be used in the Europa League group stage after seeing his team have a legal goal ruled out in their victory over Molde on Thursday night.

Eddie Nketiah was wrongly flagged offside when he netted what should have been an Arsenal equaliser at a time when Molde were actually leading 1-0.

Eddie Nketiah had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside
Eddie Nketiah had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Currently, VAR is only used in the Europa League from the knockout stages onwards, despite it how generally being a common feature of major competitions around the world.

“I don't understand it,” Arteta said on UEFA’s decision not to implement it earlier, via Arsenal.com.

“I don't think it makes any sense when we have the technology and we all believe it's the right call for everybody to do it. So, I don't understand.

“We were complaining with the ref because we were told that [Nketiah] was clearly onside and obviously it's a situation that can change the game. I think it's something that they have to look at and, if possible, change it.”

Having fallen behind midway through the first half, Arsenal eventually did get back on level terms in first-half stoppage time thanks to an own goal. Another own goal just after the hour mark then put Arteta’s side ahead, before Nicolas Pepe and Joe Willock secured the 4-1 win.

Willock in particular has now impressed in back-to-back Europa League games, previously getting a goal and assist in last week’s win over Dundalk. Arteta has been impressed with what he has seen from the 21-year-old, both on and off the pitch.

“I think the way he's approaching every opportunity, also how mature he is. I saw his press conference and I was impressed by the way he's communicating as well,” Arteta commented.

Joe Willock has impressed Mikel Arteta
Joe Willock has impressed Mikel Arteta / Julian Finney/Getty Images

“He is developing the right way, he is a player that I really like, he has some very special qualities. He deserves every minute he's been playing and he's showing it with performances, with goals and with his attitude.”

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