Arsenal benefited from a fairly controversial penalty in the North London derby today, and Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou has admitted he is no longer sure what constitutes a handball anymore.

Tottenham visited the Emirates Stadium today for Ange Postecoglou‘s first experience of a North London derby, and came away with their unbeaten league record intact, and a share of the spoils after a 2-2 draw.

Spurs defender Cristian Romero was heavily involved in both Arsenal goals, but will wish he wasn’t. The Argentinian deflected a Bukayo Saka strike past Guglielmo Vicario in the first half to give the Gunners the lead, and was then the victim of a contentious handball decision in the second half.

Lunging to block a Ben White effort on goal, the ball struck Romero’s trailing hand and after a lengthy VAR analysis, referee Robert Jones was sent to the monitor to make up his own mind. Jones pointed to the spot and Saka put away the resulting penalty.

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 24: Ange Postecoglou, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur, looks on during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Postecoglou questions the current handball rule

In his post-match press conference (via Football.London), Postecoglou appeared keen to move on from the decision and accept it for what it is. He did, however, suggest the handball rule needs clarifying.

He said: “It seems like sometimes it hits your hand and it’s a penalty and other times it’s not. It is what it is mate, you hope these things even themselves out. Any clarity would be great. I have no idea what a handball is now.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I don’t know what else Cristian Romero could have done there to avoid the penalty. His body was in an absolutely natural position for the movement he made and there was nowhere else he could put his arm. It’s like defenders are no longer allowed to defend their goal at all.

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