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Laurent Koscielny.

Arsenal's controversial goal against Burnley divides opinion

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Arsenal go into the international break with five straight wins in the Premier League, sitting just two points behind leaders Manchester City.

They have also sealed four consecutive clean sheets across all competitions and appear to have found a new long-term solution to their striker problems in Alexis Sanchez.

Needless to say, everything is looking rather rosy for the Gunners. But it could have been so different in Sunday's game against Burnley. The Clarets thought they had earned themselves a point until Laurent Koscielny bundled the ball into the back of the net with the last action of the game.

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However, replays show that the goal should never have stood. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the man seen celebrating the goal, but his toe-poke from three-yards met the arm of Koscielny, who was also standing in an offside position at the point of contact.

So Burnley fans were offered the rare opportunity to choose how they believed the goal should have been disallowed. Was it handball or was it offside? Officially, it was neither but how did the players, managers and pundits see it?

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The goal

The players

Speaking to reporters after the game, The Ox said: "You will know better than us whose goal it was. It has hit both of us at some point but it doesn’t matter and we managed to squeeze it in."

In response, Koscielny said: "I don’t know if it was handball. I tried to smash the ball with my right foot and after I didn’t see where the ball was going and I don’t know if I touched the ball with my hand.

"The ref gave us the goal and you have to respect the referee’s decision."

Burnley's Michael Keane described it as a "dodgy decision", which could see him land in hot water with the FA before too long.

"Yeah obviously, I've not seen it back but I'm hearing it was offside and a handball," he said.

FBL-ENG-PR-BURNLEY-ARSENAL

The managers

Burnley manager Sean Dyche even questioned whether the ball should have been allowed to come into the box. Injury time had already expired when Mesut Ozil played the ball short to Alexis Sanchez, giving the referee the perfect opportunity to blow for full time.

He told Sky Sports: "You have to question the added time, the corner and whether it should have come in, the handball and question whether we should have dealt with it.

"It's a poor way to end a game. We are disappointed in that but encouraged by the performance."

Arsene Wenger was prepared to admit his team had been lucky to leave with three points, saying: "We are a bit fortunate today because we are a bit jaded physically and made some technical mistakes.

"I have not seen the winner but I have been told that we were a little fortunate."

The pundits

Thierry Henry believes that Koscielny's goal was not a handball offence because the defender was standing too close to the shot to do anything about it. He didn't, however, address the issue of offside.

He said: "Yes it hits his (Koscielny's) hand... but he didn't mean it."

Former referee Mark Halsey believes there was no excuse for the referee and his assistants not to see the infringement.

"The referee has to disallow that goal," he wrote in The Sun. "Craig Pawson has a good view and the assistant referee is looking straight at it. Between them they should have seen it and disallowed the goal."

Burnley v Arsenal - Premier League

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Alexis Sanchez
Football
Premier League
Arsene Wenger
Theo Walcott
Arsenal
Laurent Koscielny

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