Norwich City Head Coach Daniel Farke felt hard done by that his side weren’t able to take all three points from Sunday’s game against Arsenal.
“A draw wasn’t a fair result,” he said. “I’m pretty proud of the performance. It was a great day and my players left their hearts on the pitch. A draw against Arsenal in a new start for them is a good result, as is four points out of the last two games. We take that but we deserved three points, so we’re a bit disappointed we didn’t win.
“We knew that Arsenal were flexible and capable of changing within the game. It’s difficult for us to compete on this level but we showed that we are capable to be competitive. We were able to create the better chances, even though Arsenal invested everything.”
Asked for his thoughts on Ibrahim Amadou, who put in an admirable central defensive midfield performance despite having spent much of the past few months at centre-back, Farke was understandably impressed.
“Ibrahim was fantastic and important for our game. Arsenal were highly motivated and much improved over recent weeks, so it was a demanding task for us today. We played fantastic but Arsenal came back through some strange decisions and sadly some missed chances and top class saves from Bernd Leno made a big difference. We can’t avoid the individual quality of their players, but we can take confidence from our team approach.”
VAR and refereeing decisions made the headlines once again, ensuring that City didn’t take all three points against the Gunners. Arsenal were first awarded a penalty for a Christoph Zimmermann handball. Tim Krul saved the spot-kick, but VAR’s decision was that it would be re-taken due to Max Aarons’ knee being inside the 18-yard box.
“The decisions were tough to take,” Farke admitted. “I wasn’t happy with the quality of the refereeing. Each and every 50/50 decision was given against us. The free-kick that led to the first penalty was never a free-kick. It’s proof that not only does VAR have to be correct, but also the quality of the decisions by the referee.
“To replay the penalty was a strange decision because Max Aarons’ foot was outside the line, but part of his body was inside the penalty box. Even if he would have started ten inches later, he would have cleared the ball, so it didn’t affect the game. I’m not happy it was replayed.
“In the second penalty, Lacazette’s head was in the penalty box so then that should be replayed. When we conceded the second goal, there was a second ball on the pitch, which is not within the rules, so VAR should have corrected that.
“Don’t misunderstand me – the ball before the second goal didn’t affect the game so it’s fine to allow it, but Max Aarons knee didn’t affect it either, so that penalty shouldn’t have been replayed.
“For a newly promoted side playing a top-class team with the decisions going against you, it’s not easy to gain points, so compliments to my lads that we were able to get one today.”
Looking ahead, the boss is well aware of the challenge Southampton will pose at St. Mary’s Stadium on Wednesday night.
“If we can go further on with the average of four points every two games, happy days,” he added. “We know that Southampton is a tough place for us to go. I don’t want to hear any excuses that we have one day less to rest or about the travel. It will be tough for us and we have to be at our best again. It will be a different game. We have to deliver on a weekly, or daily basis in this festive period, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”