Belfast Telegraph

Paul Lambert calls for video refs after struggling Potters pay the penalty

Arsenal 3 Stoke City 0

By Ed Elliot

Paul Lambert called for the introduction of video assistant referee technology in the Premier League following struggling Stoke's controversial 3-0 defeat at Arsenal.

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 £56m 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.

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.

"In big moments in big games, I think you've got to be 100% right to call them, especially in the magnitude of the game. It was a game-changer."

Stoke remain second bottom, three points from safety with six games to play.

Arsenal produced a below-par performance in front of a sparsely populated Emirates Stadium.

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 it 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.

"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."

ARSENAL: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Chambers, Monreal, Wilshere (Mkhitarayan, 76 mins), Elneny (Xhaka, 76 mins) Ramsey, Ozil, Welbeck (Lacazette, 61 mins), Aubameyang. Unused subs: Macey, Koscielny, Iwobi, Kolasinac.

Stoke: Butland, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Allen, N'Diaye, Bauer, Shaqiri, Sobhi (Crouch, 79 mins), Diouf (Berahino, 61 mins). Unused subs: Ireland, Cameron, Haugaard, Campbell, Sorensen.

Referee: Craig Pawson

Man of the match: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Match rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph

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