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Arsenal vs Monaco: Gunners fume over rescinded penalty that could've seen them reclaim the Emirates Cup

Chuba Akpom was brought down inside the area but referee Martin Atkinson overturned his decision due to the linesman interfering incorrectly

The fans celebrated, the players high-fived each other and Monaco looked dejected as Arsenal had the chance to reclaim the Emirates Cup. Only that’s what all 60,000-plus in the Emirates Stadium on Sunday thought.

As Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic brought down substitute striker Chuba Akpom, referee Martin Atkinson had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Yet as the players readied themselves for the spot-kick, the Japanese linesman Akane Yagi intervened and told Atkinson that the contact was outside the area and that he should award a free-kick. Only it wasn’t.

The Gunners should’ve had a penalty, which had they converted would’ve been enough to secure the Emirates Cup that they have not won since 2010 as all they required was a draw or better to beat Valencia to the pre-season trophy.

A number of Arsenal players vented their anger towards Atkinson, but he stuck by his colleague in awarding a free-kick that Aaron Ramsey could only find the wall with, and Arsene Wenger’s side went on to lose 1-0 to Monaco courtesy of a Radamel Falcao header.


Given that a number of Premier League referees came under fire last season for their debatable decisions, Atkinson will not look back too fondly on the decision as Akpom was a good three-yards inside the penalty box when the foul occurred.

But Wenger wasn’t too concerned with the mistake, although he is unlikely to be as relaxed should the same happen next weekend when Arsenal face Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley.

“What was strange about the penalty was that the guy closest to the action made the decision, and he was contradicted by the guy furthest away – and the man further away got his opinion respected,” said Wenger after the match.

“It doesn’t matter too much. I won’t make a fuss about a decision that was not completely right in pre-season.”

While the result was disappointing, Arsenal fans at least got a taste of what new signings Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers will offer this season, with the trio putting in impressive outings to suggest they will enjoy life at the Emirates.