What is the handball law, and was Arsenal's winning penalty against Liverpool soft?

Arsenal defeated Liverpool 3-2 to maintain their lead in the Premier League, thanks to a controversial penalty won by Gabriel Jesus; Liverpool also felt they should have had a penalty for defender Gabriel's handball. Dermot Gallagher examines the weekend's handball calls.

With an action-packed Super Sunday clash between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium, as well as handball and offside controversy throughout the weekend, Sky Sports' referee expert Dermot Gallagher weighs in.

Liverpool 3-2 Arsenal

INCIDENT: Granit Xhaka crosses the ball into the Liverpool box, and Gabriel Jesus battles Thiago Alcantara for possession. The Arsenal striker is brought down by Thiago's challenge, and Michael Oliver awards the penalty right away. VAR does not intervene to review or reverse the decision.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Wrong decision.

DERMOT: I believe it raises two issues. For starters, it contradicts what has changed this season. The League's threshold has been raised, and there is more physical contact. Thiago, without a doubt, does not get the ball and makes contact with Jesus. Is it, however, sufficient to impose a penalty? I don't think so.

The next issue is that when the ball is thrown to the VAR, Michael Oliver will tell the VAR that he didn't get the ball because he made contact with the player, which he has. Because there is no evidence that he made an incorrect decision, the VAR must recuse himself. It will always default to the decision of the referee.

INCIDENT: Gabriel Martinelli crosses the ball into the Liverpool box, where he is tackled on the ankle by Trent Alexander-Arnold. The Liverpool defender remains on the ground and requires treatment before being replaced at halftime due to injury. Oliver and the VAR decide not to penalize Martinelli for the contact after crossing the line.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Good choice.

DERMOT SAYS: I heard them check it, so it was checked. Martinelli crosses the ball, which is unfortunate. There is unexpected physical contact in football, and this was the case. A total accident.

INCIDENT: Darwin Nunez scores from Luis Diaz's cross, but the Uruguayan was in an offside position at the start of the move due to Alexander-long Arnold's ball forward. Nunez does not go for the ball, and Gabriel plays it into Diaz's path, allowing the Liverpool attacker to cross to Nunez and score. Nunez is not offside in the move, according to Oliver and VAR.

VERDICT OF DERMOT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: They believe Nunez doesn't try to get the ball and has no impact on the play because it goes through to Luis Diaz, who crosses and Nunez scores. Unfortunately, he started in an offside position, but when Gabriel touches the ball, he is in an onside position and can continue playing. That is one of the complexities of the offside rule.

DIOGGO JOTA crosses into the Arsenal box, and the ball strikes Gabriel's arm. Oliver and the linesman on the side decide not to award a penalty, and VAR agrees after reviewing the situation.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Wrong decision.

DERMOT SAYS: All I can think of is that the referee and VAR thought it was too close. This season, we've seen that if the arm is out - in this case, at shoulder height - it is penalized. I expected it to be overturned when I saw it and saw the VAR being used.

They thought it was too close, so it wasn't given. I expected the VAR to recommend a review. All I can think of is that the VAR thought it was too close and would not recommend it. If he does not do so, the referee will be unable to see the screen.

Brentford 5-1 Newcastle
INCIDENT: With Newcastle leading 2-0, Aaron Hickey heads the ball forward onto Dan Burn's arm, with the Magpies defender failing to look at the ball. VAR instructs referee John Brooks to examine the monitor, and a penalty is issued.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Good decision.

DERMOT SAYS: I was surprised Gabriel didn't get one. This did not surprise me. I immediately thought, 'His arm is up that high, and I expect it to be given.' I believe they are very similar, and I was surprised they were not treated similarly.

The directive states that if the arm is at or above shoulder height, it will be penalized. Dan Burn, I never imagined it would not be sanctioned.

INCIDENT: Gianluca Scamacca scores for West Ham to make it 2-1, but Fulham players accuse him of touching the ball twice with his arm in the same move. VAR examines the two handballs closely and concludes that Scamacca did not intend to commit an offense.


DERMOT'S OPINION: The first is handball, while the second is not.

DERMOT SAYS: I believe it touches his hand, and to be fair to the VAR, he studied it thoroughly. He studied it for two minutes and forty seconds. He checked every angle and wasn't convinced it hit the hand. He can't give it if he isn't convinced.

Because of the way the ball travels down, I believe it makes contact with his hand. The VAR had a difficult decision to make. He didn't look at it and then discard it. Nobody can fault the VAR for being thorough.

The second is more speculative, while the first is where the ball strikes the hand as the trajectory of the ball descends.

INCIDENT: Michail Antonio scores West Ham's third goal but is charged with handball in the build-up. The Hammers forward appears to have control of the ball with his hand, but the officials do not pick it up, and Antonio finishes the move with a goal.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: It's handball, but the goal can't be ruled out by VAR.

DERMOT SAYS: I believe it was a handball at first because he swiped at it, but because it was not picked up by the referee, it continues and does not result in a goal because Fulham players touch the ball and the play resets.

Manchester United 1-2 Everton

INCIDENT: Marcus Rashford scores what appears to be Manchester United's third goal, but is penalized for controlling the ball with his hand after Everton defender James Tarkowski challenges him. The goal is ruled out for handball by VAR.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Good choice.

DERMOT SAYS: It hits his hand, but he is the only one involved in the move. He scores and no other player receives credit. You could argue that he still has a chance to score, but there is no other player involved. It makes no difference if an Everton player plays it onto him. It doesn't matter if it hits his hand or his arm. And it does indeed strike his arm.