Gary Lineker insists Arsenal title win would've caused 'complaints' in Man City defence

Gary Lineker discussed a controversial moment in Arsenal’s win over Everton. (Image: BBC.)

Gary Lineker claimed that Manchester City would have made “complaints” had they failed to get over the line against West Ham and lost the Premier League title on the final day to Arsenal. Pep Guardiola’s side got the required three points at home to the Hammers, while Kai Havertz’s late goal saw Arsenal defeat Everton 2-1 to hold up their end of the bargain.

However, the former Chelsea star’s 89th-minute winner came surrounding a host of controversy as the goal was checked by VAR for a potential handball by Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian intercepted Ashley Young’s loose pass before Martin Odegaard teed up Havertz to spark jubilant scenes inside the Emirates.

But it appeared that Jesus controlled the ball with his arm in the build-up to the goal, as VAR called referee Michael Oliver over to the pitchside monitor to show him a replay and ask whether he felt that the goal should be chalked off.

To much surprise, the official saw no reason to disallow the goal and pointed to the centre-circle, with Arsenal hoping that West Ham could do them a favour at the Etihad. But there was no such comeback in Manchester, with City holding on to lift a fourth title in as many years.

VAR advised Michael Oliver to look at the replay of Gabriel Jesus’ potential handball. (Image: BBC.)

And Lineker believes that the Premier League will be relieved to avoid backlash from City if such a contentious Arsenal goal had decided the fate of the title, with City tipped to have complained if they lost out due to Havertz’s goal.

“Imagine if that had been the goal that had won them the Premier League,” Lineker said on Match of the Day. “There would have been a few complaints, I think.”

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Newcastle legend Alan Shearer was pleased to see a referee stick with their on-field decision and reject VAR’s input, describing the call to award the goal as a “correct decision” from the official.

“He was sent to the screen by VAR, Michael Oliver. You can see (James) Tarkowski goes in with Jesus and it does hit his arm,” Shearer explained. “I wish more referees had done this when they have been sent to the screen, and then had the courage to stick by their original decision.

“He’s not the goalscorer. It’s not a deliberate handball. His arm is tucked right down, so I think it was the correct decision from Michael Oliver to stick with his decision.”

Lineker then blasted the state of the handball rule, adding: “It’s a strange thing, though. If he had been two yards out and that would have been exactly the same and gone in, they disallow it. How can you have a handball for one thing and not for the other? The law is a mess.”