VAR explanation behind Kai Havertz’s overturned penalty against Man Utd revealed

The Premier League and PGMOL have released audio from the VAR decision to overturn a penalty during Arsenal’s 3-1 win at home to Manchester United on Sunday.

With the game level at 1-1 following first-half goals from Marcus Rashford and Martin Odegaard, the Gunners thought they had earned a great chance to go ahead when Kai Havertz fell under pressure from Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the penalty area, with referee Anthony Taylor initially awarding a spot kick.

However, Taylor would overturn this decision after being advised to review the incident at the pitch-side monitor by VAR Jarred Gillett.

This incident was showcased on the first episode of the Premier League’s new ‘Match Officials: Mic’d Up’ series, where PGMOL chief Howard Webb reviews contentious issues.

Footage revealed the conversation between the VAR and referee, with Gillett informing Taylor as he made his way to the monitor: “What you’re going to see is Wan-Bissaka will step across, when there’s no contact with the right foot.

“There’s minimal contact then from Havertz’s left foot as he runs through.”

Taylor ultimately agreed with Gillett’s assessment and overturned his decision to hand Arsenal a penalty, commenting: “Havertz kicks the leg and Wan-Bissaka doesn’t make a challenge. OK perfect, so restart, drop-ball to the keeper. Thank you.”


Webb praised this intervention by the VAR, complimenting Gillett’s explanations and decision to step in.

“It was a good use of VAR. The referee believed that Wan-Bissaka had tripped Havertz, but the video shows something quite different that there’s no actual contact initially,” Webb said.

“Another step by Havertz, his leg goes into Wan-Bissaka. The VAR, really calm and concise, recognises all of that, thinks it’s a clear and obvious error. I agree. Recommends a review. We get to the right decision.”

Arsenal would go on to win the game 3-1 after Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus scored in stoppage time. Man Utd had a late last-minute winner of their own ruled out after Alejandro Garnacho was deemed offside by VAR.


On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Graeme Bailey to discuss Al Ittihad’s attempts to sign Mohamed Salah, Jadon Sancho’s Man Utd future, the players that could still leave the Premier League and more! If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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