Hackett: This is how many referees would have given Arsenal a penalty in Tottenham clash

Keith Hackett has defended Michael Oliver’s contentious penalty decision in Tottenham v Arsenal but admitted 40 per cent of top-flight referees would not have given it.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former FIFA and Premier League referee insisted VAR did not intervene because Oliver’s decision was not a clear and obvious error.

The 36-year-old awarded Arsenal a penalty when Davinson Sanchez and Alexander Lacazette came together in the Spurs box.

Sanchez attempted a late block but when Lacazette fluffed his shot, his foot collided with the Arsenal striker.

The Frenchman converted from the spot as the Gunners ran out 2-1 winners over their bitter rivals.

“I think it’s interesting,” Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

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“First of all when you look at a penalty kick being awarded, the first thing I do, through the eyes of a referee, is look at where the referee is positioned.

“Oliver, who is our most experienced referee and our top referee at the moment, was in a good view to make a judgement.

“He’d obviously judged that a careless challenge had taken place and given a penalty kick. The first thing is, is the VAR going to come in? And that one I went with it not coming in on the basis it’s not a clear and obvious error.

“This is a subjective decision made by the referee and in his judgement, the player who has committed a challenge has committed a careless challenge which means the words are in law ‘he’s failed to take precaution’ when he challenged for the ball.

“This is a massively tight decision. I could argue on both sides on whether it is or it isn’t.

“This is why VAR operated well because it wasn’t a clear and obvious error.

“If you put PL referees in the room it would’ve been a 60/40 split in favour of a penalty.”

In other news, Tottenham have been told by a top pundit to make a U-turn on a key transfer decision.