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Angry Liverpool legend wants VAR to investigate Arsenal star

Graeme Souness has suggested that VAR should pay closer attention to one Arsenal player whom he believes is cheating during matches

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Image credit: Getty Images

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has launched scathing criticism against Arsenal, accusing them of “cheating” in set-piece situations, particularly highlighting defender Ben White’s actions. Souness’s remarks come in the aftermath of Arsenal’s thrilling 3-2 victory over Tottenham in the North London derby last Sunday.

During the match, replays showed Arsenal’s right-back, Ben White, involving himself in obstructive tactics against Tottenham goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario. White’s actions included attempts to interfere with Vicario’s gloves during the buildup to two of Arsenal’s goals. Furthermore, White has been observed consistently impeding goalkeepers during corner kicks throughout the season.

Arsenal’s proficiency in set-piece situations has not gone unnoticed, with the team scoring 16 Premier League goals from such scenarios, the highest since West Brom’s 2016-17 campaign.

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Set-piece coach Nicolas Jover has received praise for his contributions since joining Arsenal from Manchester City in 2021. However, Souness has expressed scepticism regarding Arsenal’s tactics, stating that they should face repercussions for what he perceives as “dark arts.”

Arsenal defender Ben White

Arsenal defender Ben White (Image credit: Getty Images)

In his column for the Daily Mail, Souness condemned Arsenal’s approach, stating, “We are witnessing a stealthy, very deliberate strategy from Arsenal – and Ben White in particular – to obstruct goalkeepers in a way which will avoid detection by the referees.”

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He cited football regulations, highlighting Law 12, which defines obstruction as impeding an opponent’s path when the ball is not within playing distance.

Souness called into question the role of referees and VAR officials in addressing such behaviour, pointing out Arsenal’s consistent use of these tactics throughout games, particularly since the arrival of set-piece coach Nicolas Jover.

His remarks follow Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou’s nonchalant response to White’s actions, where he admitted to not being concerned about them but also refrained from endorsing similar behaviour from his players. Postecoglou labelled it as a strategy but emphasised his focus on building winning teams rather than engaging in such tactics.

Souness’s criticism adds fuel to the debate surrounding fair play in football and raises questions about the responsibility of officials in maintaining the integrity of the game amidst evolving tactics.

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