Lee Mason who was the man on VAR duty during Arsenal’s draw to Brentford has been stood down by Howard Webb for this weekend’s set of Premier League fixtures.
Arsenal vs. Brentford was filled with controversy. After Leandro Trossard’s first goal for the club, Arsenal had a 1-0 lead in the 66th minute. However, 8 minutes later came a costly mistake, not by Arsenal but by VAR. Brentford’s free kick came into the box and was scored by Ivan Toney. After a lengthy VAR review, it seemed like Arsenal would get a free kick due to Brentford’s Christian Norgaard being offside. This would not be the thought of VAR referee Lee Mason. Mason forgot to draw the offside line, which led to the goal wrongfully being given.
This goal led to a 1-1 draw. Arsenal dropped 2 points, and Man City have now cut the gap at the top of the table to just three points, due to Lee Mason’s error. A significant error which could play a huge factor in the title race.
The two teams still have each other to play twice this season with the first coming tonight in what is arguably the biggest game of the Emirates era so far.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) reached out and sent an apology to Arsenal. However, the damage was already done, and the call was irreversible. Arsenal wanted action, and action has happened.
Lee Mason has already missed two big calls for Arsenal this season. Back in September, Lee Mason called a foul on Martin Ødegaard, leading to a Gabriel Martinelli goal. This was very controversial, and Arsenal lost the match 3-1 against Manchester United. Now, Lee Mason has messed up again and called Brentford’s goal to stand.
PGMOL chief Howard Webb called for a meeting at Stockley Park, which led to the standing down of Lee Mason. Webb has been unhappy with the amount of missed calls. Webb looks to clean up the officiating mistakes in the Premier League.
Arsenal’s boss Mikel Arteta was asked about the mistake during his press conference:
“We ended the game with huge anger and disappointment because that wasn’t a human error. That was a big ‘not conceiving and understanding your job’ and it’s not acceptable. That costs Arsenal two points that aren’t going to be restored. We’re going to have to find those two points somewhere in the league.”
Mikel also commented that the apologies by the PGMOL are appreciated, but it does not restore the two points they missed:
“I appreciate what I think were really sincere, open and genuine apologies and explanations, but it doesn’t change the fact we have two points less.”
Arsenal go into tonight’s game with Lee Mason being taken off VAR duties. If Arsenal produce the same football they’ve shown for the majority of this season & VAR gets the big decisions right, then Arsenal fans should be confident they have what it takes to go six points clear at the top of the Premier League table tonight.