Arsenal star labelled a ‘cheat’ as VAR slammed for letting him get away with it | Football | Sport

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Ben White has been brandished a ‘cheat’ for his role in Arsenal’s set-piece success this season. The defender has been crucial to Mikel Arteta’s side, with the Gunners top of the charts for goals from set-piece situations.

It proved to be the difference between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur during last weekend’s north London derby. Kai Havertz’s first-half header from a corner was the goal that eventually separated the two sides, with Arsenal having originally broken the deadlock via a set-piece goal as well.

White came under fire for his antics during the build-up to Arsenal’s opener, with the Englishman spotted trying to undo Guglielmo Vicario’s gloves. What’s more, the ex-Brighton & Hove Albion ace has also been accused of blocking goalkeepers from corner kicks, helping to create space for his Arsenal team-mates to operate in.

But, according to pundit Graeme Souness, White is a cheat. Writing in his Daily Mail column, the Liverpool legend claims White – and any player engaging in similar antics – should be punished by the officials.

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Souness said: “I’ve heard a lot of talk about the ‘genius’ of Arsenal’s so-called set-piece ‘guru’ and the incredible work he’s played in the team’s push for the title.

“Well, forgive me for bursting the bubble here, but amid all the excitement about the goals Tottenham conceded from corners last week, something very significant was somehow missed. Two of those goals should not have counted.”

He added: “We are witnessing a stealthy, very deliberate, strategy from Arsenal – and Ben White in particular – to obstruct goalkeepers in a way which will avoid detection by the referees.”

A whopping 20 of Arsenal’s 85 Premier League goals this season have been scored from set pieces – the highest in the division. Praise has been heaped on set-piece coach Nicolas Jover, who followed in Arteta’s footsteps by moving to the Emirates Stadium from Manchester City.

However, Souness isn’t impressed by Jover’s influence on Arsenal’s fortunes. He continued: “’Set-piece genius’? Call me old-fashioned but what we’re seeing here is cheating. This blocking by players from set-pieces is more prevalent than ever before, which presents a challenge for referees.

“But Arsenal do this every game and it’s always by White, so the penny should have dropped long ago. Arsenal have been using this pattern of offending ever since the set-piece coach, Nicholas Jover, joined Mikel Arteta at Arsenal. That was two seasons ago.

“Don’t even get me started on the fact that we also have the VAR officials, sitting in their warm booth, equipped with the camera capacity that ought to be pulling Arsenal up on this every time.”

Arsenal’s title challenge continues this weekend when the Gunners take on Bournemouth. Arteta and co. will likely need to win their final three matches of the season, while hoping title rivals City slip, if they wish to end a two-decade-long wait for Premier League glory.



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