Arsenal

Liverpool fans rage as Martin Odegaard gets away with ‘playing basketball’ in penalty area

Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard was extremely lucky not to give away a penalty as Liverpool trailed the Gunners at Anfield, with some comparing the Norwegian’s offence to “playing basketball”
Martin Odegaard forgot which sport he was playing after Arsenal took an early lead at Anfield.

The Gunners powered into an early lead against Liverpool on Saturday thanks to the head of Gabriel. But Odegaard was fortunate not to gift the hosts a chance from 12 yards after “playing basketball” in his own box with what appeared to be a blatant handling of the ball.
The Norwegian was caught on his heels when Mohamed Salah took an awkward touch towards David Raya’s goal in the 19th minute. And Arsenal captain Odegaard appeared to stumble before palming the ball out of harm’s way.
Liverpool players instantly protested for a spot-kick, and it was difficult not to agree after watching replays of the incident. Viewers at home couldn’t believe what they’d seen, either, with some suggesting the intervention belonged on the hardwood.
There’s no way that’s not a penalty,” wrote one fan in disbelief. “Odegaard pushed the ball.” Another spectator joked the Premier League title was being fixed for Arsenal after their skipper “gets away with basketball within the penalty area.”
Another critic of the officials commented: “Odegaard clawed the ball back into his possession and VAR is like ‘cool’. Remember kids, you too can complain so much that refs become afraid to give decisions against you!”
That was in reference to Mikel Arteta’s outrage after Newcastle beat Arsenal via a controversial Anthony Gordon goal in November. The Spanish tactician was heavily critical of the officials after the result and received public backing from his club for those comments.
Sky Sports commentator Gary Neville agreed Odegaard had gotten away with one after no penalty was given. And Jamie Carragher unsurprisingly agreed as his former club sought to pull level.

Salah ended up doing things the hard way and fired in the equaliser 10 minutes later, leaving Oleksandr Zinchenko in his dust before flashing the ball past Raya at the near post. Jurgen Klopp was overjoyed on the sidelines, though he could be forgiven feeling aggrieved the hosts weren’t ahead at the interval.

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