Paul Lambert demands VAR in Premier League after Stoke lose at Arsenal
The Potters remain in a perilous position.
The relegation-threatened Potters more than matched their hosts for much of Sunday’s game before the Gunners were awarded a debatable penalty when Bruno Martins Indi appeared to win the ball as he challenged Mesut Ozil.
Referee Craig Pawson gave the 75th-minute spot-kick, which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted to break the deadlock.
Aubameyang, Arsenal’s £56million record signing, soon added a second, before substitute Alexandre Lacazette marked his return from a seven-week injury layoff by completing the scoring with another penalty after he was fouled by Badou Ndiaye.
This is what we ❤️ to see— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 1, 2018
VAR’s use in England has so far been restricted to cup competitions and Potters boss Lambert believes Pawson’s decision shows it is required in the top flight.
“I’ve seen VAR work. I saw it in Germany and it worked seamlessly, absolutely no problem at all,” he said.
“We bring it over here and it seems to be confusing. In those sort of instances (the first penalty), absolutely (it should be used).
“Because the way the game’s going, the referees maybe need a little bit of help as well.
“I just spoke to Craig not long after the game and asked him what he saw.
“In big moments in big games, I think you’ve got to be 100 per cent right to call them, especially in the magnitude of the game. It was a game-changer.
“I know we’ve got the benefit of the replay and Craig doesn’t but I just think big moments you have to be so precise that it is a penalty.”
Stoke remain second bottom, three points from safety with six games to play.
🗣️ 'I've spoken to the referee and asked for his views on it, but definitely Bruno has won the ball'— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) April 1, 2018
Paul Lambert on today's controversial moment at the Emirates Stadium.
📺 https://t.co/swhXHS9zRU#SCFC 🔴⚪️ pic.twitter.com/Cj1A8a8FtL
Despite the latest setback, Lambert is convinced his team will avoid the drop.
Asked if the Potters will stay up, the Scot, who replaced Mark Hughes in January, replied: “100 per cent.
“I thought that when I came in and nothing’s changed my mind that we’re not going to do it.
“The only thing I think is missing is the luck.”
Arsenal, perhaps with one eye on Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final with CSKA Moscow, produced a below-par performance in front of a sparsely populated Emirates Stadium.
There were jeers from the home supporters at half-time before the three late goals spared Arsene Wenger’s blushes.
Gabon international Aubameyang passed up the opportunity to claim his first hat-trick in English football by allowing Lacazette to take the second spot-kick and Gunners manager Wenger feels that decision shows there is a positive relationship between the two big-money signings.
Asked if he was surprised Aubameyang did not take the second penalty, Wenger replied: “No, because I know they have a good understanding.
LACA 😎 pic.twitter.com/403AQpg7Bt— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 1, 2018
“I like that because it can only make the team stronger and Lacazette came back from a long injury and I think it’s great.
“That shows well the state of our society because when people are generous we are surprised.
“When it’s strikers even more.”
Asked if Lacazette, who had been sidelined by a knee problem, and former Borussia Dortmund forward Aubameyang can play in the same team, Wenger added: “Yes, I think they can play together.
“I think Aubameyang played a long part of his career on the left at St Etienne and in the first two years, I think, when (Robert) Lewandowski was at Dortmund, he played on the left.
“And, after when Lewandowski moved to Bayern Munich, he played central.”