Stale Solbakken admits it was a “big blow” to lose Erling Haaland for Sunday’s dead-rubber Euro 2024 qualifier against Scotland at Hampden – but the Norway manager is confident the Manchester City striker’s injury is not a serious one.

The free-scoring forward withdrew from the squad on Saturday morning after damaging his ankle in the second-half of Thursday’s 2-0 friendly win over Faroe Islands.

“It’s a big blow for any team but we have played without him before, sometimes with success, sometimes without,” said Solbakken, speaking at Hampden on Saturday evening.

“We started the qualification when he was not ready for the first two games, but after that he has played every single game so it was unfortunate for us that he got the small knock on Thursday.

“It’s the movement in his foot that is the problem but it’s not a serious injury. Had it been a final, I don’t know (if he would have been fit to play).

“All parties agree it is probably a little too early (for him to play) but it is not a career-threatening injury.”

When asked why Haaland – a talisman for club and country – was risked in such a low-key match, Solbakken said: “It was his choice. He wanted to play 45 minutes to keep the momentum in a week where we were maybe not training as much. It was his decision.

“There were three players who have played many games and we had conversations with all three of them and Erling’s much preferred choice was to play 45 minutes.”

Many anticipated Sunday’s match being a qualification decider but Scotland’s 2-1 win in Oslo in June, when they scored two goals in the closing minutes to overturn Haaland’s penalty, has proved pivotal.

The Scots are already assured of a place in the finals in Germany and are six points ahead of third-placed Norway, who have only a slim chance of landing a play-off if results elsewhere go their way.

“It was probably the sorest defeat you will ever feel,” said Solbakken, recalling Scotland’s late turnaround in the summer. “I still wake up at night thinking about those last five minutes but that is life.

“If you look back now, those five minutes were very, very damaging. Otherwise the game tomorrow would have been a final. That speaks volumes.

“But we must congratulate Scotland on a great campaign. They have done really, really well, not only in this campaign but also in the years before that.

“They’ve played at a very high level and have also been good at bringing the margins on their side in tight games, which is very important in national football when there are so few games.”

Unless they manage to salvage a Euro 2024 place via a play-off, Norway’s run without major tournament football will extend to 26 years. The Scots ended a 23-year wait when they qualified for the Euros in 2021 and Solbakken feels his nation can draw inspiration from Steve Clarke’s resurgent side.

“Of course we can,” he said. “I think we are quite even. We always play very tight games against each other but they have been better than us with the small margins lately. We need to see if we can find that way too.”

Erling Haaland is to sit out Norway’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Scotland on Sunday at Hampden Park due to a foot problem.

The Manchester City striker took a blow to his foot on Thursday when Norway beat the Faroe Islands 2-0 in a friendly in Oslo.

In a statement on the Norwegian Football Federation’s official website on Saturday, team doctor Ola Sand said: “The injury is not serious, but he is in so much pain and somewhat restricted function that the Scotland game unfortunately comes a little too early.”

Norway boss Stale Solbakken said: “It is of course a shame that Erling will not be ready for the match on Sunday, but we will not be bringing in a replacement.

“This is a great opportunity for the offensive players in the squad to show off.”

Premier League leaders City return to action after the international break by hosting Liverpool – a point behind in second place – on November 25.

Haaland, scorer of 52 goals for City in their treble-winning campaign last season, has netted 17 times in all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s men so far this term.

The Premier League has "opened Pandora's box" after Everton were deducted 10 points for breaching financial regulations.

That is the view of John Blain, the vice-chairman of the Everton Shareholders' Association and of Toffee TV.

Everton were hit with the largest points deduction in Premier League history on Friday, after being found guilty by an independent commission of breaching the competition's Profit and Sustainability rules.

The commission found that Everton had lost £124.5million over a three-year period, which is £19.5m over the £105m threshold.

Everton's punishment comes amid the backdrop of Manchester City facing 115 charges, while Chelsea are under investigation after reports detailed a series of payments, worth tens of millions, were made during the tenure of former owner Roman Abramovich. The deduction has taken Everton from 14th to 19th in the Premier League.

The Toffees have confirmed they will appeal the decision, and Blain believes the Premier League wanted a "show trial" in a bid to put off the installation of a government-backed independent regulator.

"A fair amount of this document is like a subjective VAR decision. In every place where it can't be proven, because the onus of proof is on Everton, then it's come down as bad for Everton," Blain told Stats Perform.

"The commission says: 'We agree with the Premier League that the requirement of punishment, deterrents, a vindication of complying clubs, and the protection of the integrity of the sport demand a sporting sample'. I think it's quite hilarious that it thinks it is protecting sporting integrity by doing this to this football club at this time, and the report itself says that Everton did not breach the rules deliberately.

"Yet we have other clubs, notably Manchester City, where there's no sign of the integrity being protected by bringing them to the courtroom. I think the Premier League has opened Pandora's Box – other clubs are in the tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel, you meet one of these commissions.

"It is interesting that when Everton were referred to an independent commission, the Premier League did not have any method whatsoever for calculating what the punishment would be, yet they sought to influence the commission by creating one as recently as August.

"The commission chose to ignore that guidance, but those rules that were put in place in August, should – and I suspect they won't – apply to clubs who have made huge losses.

"They appear to have opened Pandora's Box and they can't close it now. The next league game for Everton is at Goodison Park, and is against Manchester United, and I think people around the world will see what Everton fans think of this.

"We as fans are talking about the policy and process of the Premier League that we're objecting to – a fit-for-purpose sanction would not be 10 points. This will hang over Everton for a good chunk of the season, but also those clubs that think Everton getting deducted 10 points will stop them getting relegated. Those clubs won't know how many points they'll need to be safe until the end of the appeal process. It's crazy."

While Everton feel hard done by, Blain pointed out that Farhad Moshiri's leadership has left much to be desired.

He said: "Moshiri's legacy will be one of mismanagement and not making the board more effective. He has the good fortune that a new stadium, which will be seen across Europe when the Euros are here, will probably be the legacy that he quite likes.

"But the rest of it is not going to cover him in glory at all. The sad thing is the people who are culpable, who were running the business at the time of the transgressions, most notably the former chief executive [Denise Barrett-Baxendale] and chief financial officer [Grant Ingles], chose not to submit a witness statement to this commission.

"The chief executive of the Premier League made a witness statement, and the CFO of the Premier League made a statement – there was only one side of the story; that in itself is quite damning.

"If Everton were to be relegated because of this 10-point deduction, then clearly it would be the most damning of legacies. That the complete and utter failure to run the business probably resulted in the ultimate sanction of a founding member of the Premier League falling out of it for the first time ever."

Blain does, though, feel Sean Dyche's side are well-equipped to stay up despite the sanction.

"The team, and the management on the sporting side is in a far better place than it has been in many years," he said. "We will be "safe" from relegation and probably miss it by more points than in the last few years.

"We've been to the well as Everton fans and really suffered due to the ineptness of our sporting side, but it's getting sorted out. So perversely, this points deduction is not as emotive as it might have been if the policies and procedures of the Premier League were in place and they'd been able to take the club to court quicker.

"That's the thing that might upset other clubs, who all believe they would not have been relegated had this happened sooner. We will never know, and there's a fair amount of precedent inside the document that these are just normal business hurdles that you have to overcome."

Everton have been deducted 10 points with immediate affect after being found to have breached Premier League financial rules.

The Toffees have confirmed their intention to appeal against the sanction, which relates to the period ending in the 2021-22 season.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look back at the two other Premier League clubs to be handed a points deduction.

Portsmouth (March 2010)

Portsmouth were deducted nine points in 2010 after the south-coast club went into administration.
The sanction all but rubber-stamped Pompey’s relegation, as they were left 17 points from safety with nine league games remaining.
Despite the off-field issues, with the club reportedly having debts of £65million, Avram Grant took Portsmouth to the FA Cup final that season, where they were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea before facing up to life in the Championship.

Middlesbrough (January 1997)

Middlesbrough were given a three-point deduction after postponing a Premier League match at short notice for not having enough fit players to put out a team.
Ahead of the game against Blackburn at Ewood Park, scheduled for Saturday, December 21 1996, Bryan Robson’s already injury-hit squad was further depleted by a virus.
On the Friday morning, Boro were left with only 17 players available – three of them being goalkeepers while five were without a first-team appearance for the club, and so informed the Premier League they would have to call off the game.
Boro were eventually ordered to appear before a Premier League commission, which ruled a three-point deduction would be imposed and the Blackburn match to be replayed.
Robson’s side went on to reach the finals of both the League Cup and FA Cup, losing both, but were relegated from the Premier League by two points.

Tottenham got the "deal of the century" when they signed James Maddison from Leicester City in the summer.

That is the view of their former striker Bobby Zamora, who has been impressed by the start Ange Postecoglou has made as manager after joining from Celtic.

It was a dramatic transfer window for Spurs as they sold talismanic striker Harry Kane to Bayern Munich, with England international Maddison, goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, defender Micky van de Ven and winger Brennan Johnson among the players brought in.

England international Maddison has been ruled out until January with an ankle injury after making a stunning start for Spurs, scoring three goals and five assists in 11 Premier League matches after joining for around £40million.

His form has helped Tottenham fourth in the table, just two points behind leaders Manchester City, with Zamora – who played for the club in the 2003-04 season – liking what he sees.

"They are very impressive," Zamora said to Stats Perform, speaking on the Pro Am Padel Tour.

"The manager, I really like him as well. They have made a couple of good signings and when you see Maddison, he has certainly been on fire.

"I can't believe the price they paid for him and it's the deal of the century to be honest. 

"They're looking in a really good place and it'll be interesting to see if they can continue that form for the whole year or not."

After the international break, Spurs are back in action with a crunch home match against in-form Aston Villa on November 26.

Kane, meanwhile, has made a sensational start with Bayern. He has scored 17 goals in just 11 Bundesliga appearances, the highest total in Europe’s top five leagues, adding five assists as well.

He has scored another four goals in the Champions League too and Zamora understands the England captain's move given his desire to play at the highest level and desire to finally win some silverware.

Zamora added: "He has gone out there to win something, which I don't blame him for. 

"He spent a lot of time at Tottenham and has done fantastically well for them.

"If he wants a bit of silverware, I think he's moved there to Bayern and he's going to get some silverware.

"Plus [it helps] that he has not gone to any rival clubs in and around Spurs."

What the papers say

Striker Ivan Toney will demand a transfer release clause if he is to sign a new contract with Brentford, according to The Sun.

Kylian Mbappe has agreed on a deal with Paris St Germain to forgo significant bonuses, according to the Daily Mail. But the France striker, 24, is still to sign a new contract.

Manchester City will compete with Liverpool to re-sign Bayern Munich forward Leroy Sane, 27, reports The Sun.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Finley Gorman: Manchester City have agreed on a £1.2million deal to sign the 15-year-old Leeds attacking midfielder, says Football Insider.

Jakub Kiwior: Arsenal are open to letting the Polish 23-year-old leave the club on loan as he is keen on more first-team football, according to 90min.

Liverpool’s Jarell Quansah insists he has achieved nothing yet because he is not classed as one of the world’s greats.

The defender has made his Anfield breakthrough this season and earned the faith of boss Jurgen Klopp.

The manager said this month he was surprised about his rapid rise, with Liverpool having considered sending Quansah out on loan again after he spent the second half of last season with Bristol Rovers in League One.

But the England Under-21 international, who made his Young Lions debut last month, has now made nine appearances for the Reds this season.

However, it is not enough for the ambitious 20-year-old, who wants to make a lasting mark on the game.

He said: “No (his season has not exceeded expectations), because no-one has said ‘Jarell Quansah is one of the best players in the world’ yet.

“No-one’s said ‘he’s a top centre-back’. No-one’s said ‘he’s all this’, so until I’m regarded as at least one of the best players in the Premier League, then there is no reason for me to sit on what I’ve got and go ‘Oh yeah, I’ve played nine games for Liverpool’. That’s never been the end goal.

“I’ve always just wanted to be a winner. I’ve hated losing since I was young. I used to cry when I lost. When I lose, it still ruins my weekend and stuff like that.

“There is no point in setting goals that you think you could reach. You might as well just set a goal that maybe looks out of reach but you never know what you can get to.

“Surprised could be deemed an interesting word but I think he (Klopp) means I wasn’t expected to be there yet.

“I don’t think it was ‘It’s a surprise, I’ve trained with him before and he’s not a good player’. It was about how soon it’s come and how I’ve dealt with the adversity I have been thrown into.


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“It’s not expected from being on loan at Bristol Rovers to going straight into the first team, and to do as well as I did. That’s where the surprise came from.”


Quansah made his debut in Liverpool’s late 2-1 win at Newcastle in August, coming on as a substitute for the injured Joel Matip after Virgil Van Dijk was sent off.

He also had a goal disallowed in the Reds’ 3-2 Europa League defeat in Toulouse last week, while Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Trent Alexander-Arnold have all offered words of wisdom.

He said: “They just say enjoy it. It sounds so simple and cliche but it is easy for young centre-halves to not play their game, play safe and not do what they do at other levels just because it is a step up.

“Them saying that relaxes you a bit, so when I get told to enjoy it I can be free and just play. I don’t have to worry about making mistakes because they’re going to happen.

“I can’t remember the last player who had a perfect career and never made a mistake, that is going to happen and that is the way you learn best so just enjoy myself and do the best I can.”

Now, Quansah is preparing to travel to Serbia on Friday for Saturday’s Euro 2025 qualifier in Backa Topola, before returning to face Northern Ireland at Goodison Park on Tuesday in Group F.

Lee Carsley’s side are second in the group following last month’s late 3-2 defeat to Ukraine, having smashed Serbia 9-1 at the City Ground.

The loss to Ukraine in Poland, after levelling at 2-2 having been 2-0 down, was just England’s third in qualifying since 2011 but Quansah is happy to learn the lessons.

He said: “We didn’t lock the game down as the way we should have and their goal was a sucker punch.

“Things are definitely going to be different (in Serbia), it’s always tough going away from home as we found out against Ukraine.”

What the papers say

Newcastle are considering a January move for Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah, according to The Sun. Manchester United and West Ham are also keen on the German international, 27.

RB Leipzig have opened the door for Timo Werner to exit the club, according to the Evening Standard. The former Chelsea forward, 27, has started only two games this season.

The Standard also reports that Chelsea are the latest club to take an interest in 18-year-old South American midfielder Gabriel Moscardo. The Corinthians teenager has already attracted interest from Arsenal and Liverpool.

Jadon Sancho is unlikely to be allowed to leave Manchester United on the cheap. The Daily Mirror says the club will not sanction a cut-price January deal for the England winger, 23.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Ferran Torres: Newcastle are interested in the Spanish forward, with Barcelona keen to sell the 23-year-old.

Evan Ferguson: Manchester United are keeping an eye on the 19-year-old striker, despite him signing a new deal with Brighton.

The Premier League has arguably never been more competitive than it is this season, with just three points separating the division’s top five teams.

Manchester City sit top of the table on 28 points, with Liverpool and Arsenal one behind on 27, Tottenham on 26 and Aston Villa on 25.

It is the first time in Premier League history that five teams have amassed 25 points or more in their first 12 matches.

However, the level of competition extends beyond the top few sides, as demonstrated by several of the weekend’s results including City’s thrilling 4-4 draw at Chelsea and Spurs’ injury-time loss at Wolves.

Just 12 matches into the 2023-24 campaign, it is already possible to create a continuous ‘victory loop’ from English top flight results.

A victory loop is made by arranging results so that Team 1 beats Team 2, Team 2 defeats Team 3, and so on until Team 20 beats Team 1.

Sheff Utd 2 Wolves 1 (Nov 4)
Wolves 2 Tottenham 1 (Nov 11)
Tottenham 2 Liverpool 1 (Sep 30)
Liverpool 3 West Ham 1 (Sep 24)
Brighton 1 West Ham 3 (Aug 26)
Brighton 3 Bournemouth 1 (Sep 24)
Bournemouth 2 Newcastle 0 (Nov 11)
Newcastle 1 Arsenal 0 (Nov 4)
Arsenal 1 Man City 0 (Oct 8)
Man City 2 Nottingham Forest 0 (Sep 23)
Nottingham Forest 2 Aston Villa 0 (Nov 5)
Aston Villa 3 Crystal Palace 1 (Sep 16)
Man Utd 0 Crystal Palace 1 (Sep 30)
Burnley 0 Man Utd 1 (Sep 23)
Luton 1 Burnley 2 (Oct 3)
Everton 1 Luton 2 (Sep 30)
Brentford 1 Everton 3 (Sep 23)
Chelsea 0 Brentford 2 (Oct 28)
Fulham 0 Chelsea 2 (Oct 2)
Fulham 3 Sheff Utd 1 (Oct 7)

Richard Arnold is stepping down as Manchester United chief executive after less than two years in the job, with Patrick Stewart taking interim control as a permanent successor is sought.

Arnold has been with the Premier League club since 2007, working as commercial director before becoming group managing director in 2013.

The departure of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward saw him take up the role of chief executive in February 2022, but United have confirmed he is leaving his post.

Stewart, the club’s legal officer and general counsel, is stepping up as interim CEO at Old Trafford.

United said in a statement: “Richard Arnold has decided to step down as Chief Executive of Manchester United after 16 years with the club.

“Patrick Stewart will take over as interim CEO, in addition to his existing role as General Counsel, with Richard continuing to provide transitional support until the end of December.

“A search process will be carried out for a new permanent CEO.”

The development comes as Sir Jim Ratcliffe edges closer to becoming minority shareholder of United.

Ratcliffe’s Ineos group is expected to pay in the region of £1.25billion for a 25 per cent stake in the Old Trafford club, while also acquiring significant control over footballing operations.

PA understands no announcement about that deal is expected on Wednesday.

Sources close to Ineos indicated they were not involved in Arnold’s departure, but it seems likely that further change will be afoot once the deal is signed.

Outgoing chief executive Arnold said: “It has been an incredible privilege to serve this great football club for the past 16 years.

“Through highs and lows, the constant has been the dedication of our employees and fans.

“I would like to thank all of them for their loyalty and commitment, and wish everyone associated with the club the very best for the future.”

Arnold has had a lot to deal with during his short time in the post and was criticised for his handling of the Mason Greenwood situation.

United executive co-chairman Joel Glazer said: “I would like to thank Richard for his outstanding service to Manchester United over the past 16 years, and wish him all the best for his future endeavours.

“We are fortunate to be able to call on the deep knowledge and experience of Patrick Stewart to provide interim stability and continuity as we embark on a search for a new permanent CEO.”

Stewart has worked for United since 2006 and is seen as a safe pair of hands as the ownership identify Arnold’s long-term successor.

The interim chief executive said: “Together with my leadership team colleagues, my job will be to ensure that the club’s foundations remain stable while we embrace changes that can make us stronger over the long term, on and off the pitch, and to support the search for a new permanent CEO.”

United sit sixth in the Premier League under Erik ten Hag, whose side are out of the Carabao Cup and facing a fight to make the Champions League knockout phase with two group matches remaining.

Andre Villas-Boas has spoken of the challenge faced by managers due to the increased use of data analysis, recalling it led to “massive, massive arguments” over the potential signing of Joao Moutinho when he was Tottenham head coach.

The Portuguese wanted to sign compatriot Moutinho from Porto in the summer of 2012, but the midfielder was only sixth on the list compiled using data and statistical analysis by then sporting director Franco Baldini.

Spurs pushed ahead with other targets, including Mousa Dembele, and only returned for Moutinho at the end of the summer transfer window, missing out on his signature by a minute.

With more and more clubs using data and artificial intelligence to identify targets, Villas-Boas knows the conundrum that managers will now begin to face.

“The most evident case I had when I was at Tottenham and I wanted to sign Joao Moutinho and he was sitting sixth on the list compiled by data people,” he said at Web Summit in Lisbon.

“The first on the list was Dembele, we ended up signing him and we almost ended up signing Moutinho as well, but we lost it against the clock on the last day of the transfer window.

“But it drained me emotionally to the point where, here was a guy that the data was not showing all that he represented from the coach’s perspective, which is a player that knows your leadership, a player that knows your style, adaptability to your style.


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“This can be quantified, but it must be done in the view of a coach and not a single view.

“This was the problem in the beginning and we mad massive, massive arguments in the beginning because of this with Moutinho.

“We signed Dembele but missed out on Moutinho and it was unfortunate because we were going to build up a very strong midfield.

“This is precisely where you have to have that balance to understand, what is your coaching philosophy and how it should be integrated into the data that has been provided to you.”

Villas-Boas has not been in work since leaving Marseille in 2021 and has forged a career as a rally driver while also spending time with his family.

The 46-year-old says he expects to remain out of the game until next year, when he could run for election as Porto’s president.

“Now is not the right moment to talk about going back,” he told the PA news agency. “At this time I am dedicating my time to my family.

“I have managed to find a break where I can dedicate myself to them 100 per cent and this is likely to be until June 2024. They deserve my presence.

“I have this objective of serving FC Porto as a president and at the moment it is going to go up for election in April or June 2024, so I always have the idea the present myself.”

What the papers say

Casemiro could be on the verge of leaving Old Trafford. The Sun, via talkSPORT, says Manchester United are willing to hear offers for the 31-year-old midfielder, with the Saudi Pro League said to be targeting a big money move for the Brazilian. Incoming minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be open to letting Casemiro leave in a bid to freshen up the squad.

Staying with United, the Daily Mail reports Juventus plan to offer Jadon Sancho an escape route from Old Trafford. According to the paper, the Italian giant recently reached out to United over a potential loan move for the 23-year-old winger, who has not appeared for the Red Devils since August. However, it is unlikely Juventus would be able to afford a transfer fee for a player United paid £73million for in 2021.

And The Standard says Chelsea are confident Victor Osimhen is open to a move to Stamford Bridge, but any move for the Napoli striker is unlikely to come before next summer.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Ruben Neves: The Al-Hilal midfielder may become available for a move to Arsenal in January, according to the website 90min.

Emil Forsberg: Journalist Fabrizio Romano says the 32-year-old has verbally agreed to join New York Red Bulls from RB Leipzig.

Manchester City have acknowledged the Premier League charges facing them risk having a “material impact” on the club, as they posted a league-record revenue figure of over £700million.

City earned £712.8m in the year ending June 30, an increase of almost £100m compared to the previous year and far outstripping the £648.4m Premier League record set by Manchester United when their most recent results were announced last month.

City’s run to the Champions League final – where they beat Inter Milan 1-0 in June – contributed to total broadcast revenue of £341.4m, including £113.85m just from UEFA.

However, the club’s annual report mentioned the 115 charges issued against them by the Premier League in February under the ‘Risks and Uncertainties’ section.

“The board acknowledges that there are a number of risks and uncertainties which could have a material impact on the club’s performance,” the report stated.

As well as the Premier League charges, the performance of the first team and any future regulatory changes introduced by the Premier League, the Football Association, UEFA and FIFA were also cited as risks and uncertainties facing the club.

Introductory statements in the annual report from chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and chief executive Ferran Soriano made no reference to the charges.

Khaldoon said: “In the aftermath of the UEFA Champions League win in Turkey and the completion of ‘The Treble’ the question I was asked most often, was ‘How do you top that?’

“The answer is by doubling down on the proven philosophies and practices that have brought us this success and to challenge ourselves to continue to constantly innovate in order to achieve new levels of performance both on and off the field.

“We will continue to question all the industry norms, we will evaluate our successes and learn from any failures. We will not be afraid to set new goals and develop new strategies that deliver for our club, its communities and stakeholders and especially for the fans.”

Matchday revenue was recorded at £71.9m, while profit from player trading was up to over £120m.

However, the club’s total payroll costs were just under £423m, up from just under £354m in 2022. That was despite head count dropping from 549 to 520.

Referees’ chief Howard Webb believes the VAR came to the correct decision to allow Anthony Gordon’s controversial goal for Newcastle which enraged Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

The Spaniard labelled the decision a “disgrace” following his side’s 1-0 defeat last Saturday.

On-field referee Stuart Attwell awarded the goal but it took a four-minute, triple VAR check to determine whether the ball had gone out of play before Joe Willock’s cross, whether Joelinton had fouled Arsenal defender Gabriel, and whether Gordon had been offside.

The recording of the conversation between Attwell, VAR Andy Madley and assistant VAR Stuart Burt was aired on Sky Sports’ Match Officials Mic’d Up.

Madley said he had no conclusive evidence that the ball was out, and he added: “I don’t see a specific foul on Gabriel. I see two hands on his back, but I don’t see anything of a push that warrants him flying forward like that.

“It’s not the goalscorer and it’s not deliberate from him.”

Madley and Burt then checked whether Gordon was offside but they were unable to ascertain whether he was ahead of the ball after it came off Joelinton, so the goal was given.

Webb admitted it “might” have been a foul, but the subjective nature of the decision meant the VAR was correct not to overturn it.

The PGMOL boss said: “An unusual situation with three aspects for the VAR to check whether or not the on-field decision of goal should be overturned.

“We see the ball getting very close to the goal line. Don’t forget we have an assistant referee who is right in line. The ball hasn’t got a lot of pace as it goes to the goal line, so he’s looking right down the line better than any of our cameras.

“And we know the ball is curved, so it can be overhanging the line and we need evidence it’s out, and we don’t have that.

“The ball then comes over and Joelinton challenges Gabriel, and it could be a foul, might be a foul. (But) the VAR decides that the evidence from the footage isn’t clear enough to intervene with a recommendation for a review for a clear error.

“With the talk we’ve seen after, that the opinion is split across a lot of analysis, would suggest that was a correct non-intervention because of the subjectivity.

“And then one of those unusual situations where the ball goes between two players, and trying to identify exactly when the ball leaves Joelinton, is really difficult to establish because of the players being so close together.

“So again, no conclusive evidence that Gordon was offside when the ball was last touched. The VAR went through that diligently and identified no clear evidence to intervene to overturn the goal. The process was actually correct.”

Arteta said he felt embarrassed about the decision in his post-match tirade.

“You have to talk about how the hell did this goal stand up? Incredible. I feel embarrassed,” the 41-year-old Spaniard said.

“I have to now come in here and try to defend the club and please ask for help because it’s an absolute disgrace that this goal is allowed. An absolute disgrace.

“For many reasons, it’s not a goal. More than one reason, it’s not a goal. And there’s too much at stake here. We put so much effort (in).

“It’s so difficult to compete at this level and it’s an absolute disgrace. Again, I feel embarrassed.

“I’ve been more than 20 years in this country and this is nowhere near the level to describe this as the best league in the world, I’m sorry.”

Eric Dier believes it is still possible for Tottenham to win the Premier League this season.

Spurs made a great start to life under Ange Postecoglou, going unbeaten in their opening 10 games and topping the table.

But the wheels have come off in the last two games as they were beaten 4-1 by Chelsea with nine men and then lost 2-1 at Wolves in a game where they were leading going into stoppage time.


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Dier, who found himself out of the team at the start of the season, says Spurs can still be in the mix along with Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal.


“We’re still at the start of the season, there is still a long way to go,” he said at Web Summit in Lisbon.

“I am experienced enough to know anything is possible.”

Dier’s own future remains in doubt as he is out of contract in the summer and he will be able to talk to foreign clubs at the end of next month.

While the 29-year-old, who grew up in Portugal and played for Sporting Lisbon, is insistent he would like to return to his childhood home once he has retired, he could not promise he will play for Sporting again.

“One day I am sure I will be back. I think it is inevitable, if my wife wants to, we’ll come back one day to live when I have finished my career,” he added.

“To come back and play here, you never know, I can’t say.

“Sporting is my club, it will always be my club, it’s where I spent 12 years. Portugal as well for me is my home.

“I’m 29 so I hope I have a lot of years left to play. I’m still young. Football is my priority.”

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