'It was a goal' – Sokratis hits out at Premier League over VAR after Arsenal winner disallowed

The Gunners defender thought he had scored a crucial winner against Crystal Palace – only for the goal to be ruled out after review

Sokratis has blasted the Premier League’s use of VAR after complaining it has robbed Arsenal of four precious points in the past week.

Unai Emery’s side saw a two-goal lead slip as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Crystal Palace on Sunday, but Sokratis thought he had snatched a dramatic late winner when he slammed an effort past Wayne Hennessy after the visitors had failed to deal with a corner.

But, despite referee Martin Atkinson giving the goal, it was eventually ruled out after VAR official Jarred Gillett deemed Calum Chambers had committed a foul in the build-up.

Replays showed it was an incredibly tough decision and it came less than a week after Arsenal had been denied what appeared to be a clear penalty during their 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United.

Again, Sokratis was at the heart of the incident, with the defender having his shirt pulled as he attacked a corner at Bramall Lane.

On this occasion, however, there was no VAR check, and Arsenal went on to lose the game. It’s a situation which the centre-back insists is not acceptable.

“In a league like the Premier League, the best league in the world, the VAR has to be used in a better way,” said the 31-year-old.

“Last week it was a clear penalty, they didn’t use VAR and we lose the game. This week, it was a goal. I watch again and Calum did nothing. We lose three points.

“Of course, we also made mistakes, we can speak about those mistakes, why we conceded and why we didn’t score. We can discuss about a lot of things, but last week and this week, if the VAR is used better we have four points more.

“And if we had 19 points today it’s a different thing. Of course, we have to improve, we have to work and do better things. But we have also to watch what happened.

“VAR for me is a good solution, but the referees have to use it every time. I believe the Premier League is the best league in the world so everything has to be perfect.”

Sunday’s draw means Arsenal have now won just two of their last eight league games and they sit four points adrift of the Champions League places.

Goals from Sokratis and David Luiz had put them in a commanding position inside 10 minutes, but Palace reduced the deficit when VAR awarded them a penalty for a foul by Chambers on Wilfried Zaha.

Jordan Ayew then levelled with a back-post header early in the second half and the visitors held on for a point, despite some late pressure from Arsenal which saw Alexandre Lacazette go close twice.

“We had a lot of chances to close the game, but we didn’t close it,” bemoaned Sokratis. “The first goal they scored was a penalty, until then they didn’t have a chance.

“The second half we had one unlucky moment, after that we had enough chances. We had to score more. I think we were unlucky.”

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