The final Premier League game of 2017 between West Brom and Arsenal ended in controversial fashion.
A tough outing at the Hawthorns for the Gunners nonetheless appeared to have yielded them three points when an Alexis Sanchez free kick deflected off James McClean into the home net in the 83rd minute.
West Brom, who were rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, rallied and applied pressure. Former Gunner Kieran Gibbs made a run into the box on the stroke of normal time, with Gibbs’ attempted pass hitting the arm of Calum Chambers.
Referee Mike Dean awarded Alan Pardew’s side a penalty, a decision which Gary Neville vehemently disagreed with in his commentary for Sky Sports alongside Martin Tyler.
Jay Rodriguez dispatched the resulting penalty to move the Baggies ahead of Swansea into 19th.
“His hands were right in front of his body and he was so close to him,” Neville explained. “That is not a penalty – no chance.”
“Not a penalty for me. He has them in such a natural position there. He has to have them low, he’s setting himself. His arm is in a jockeying position. They’re not spread out sideways or over his head.
There won’t be a defender or manager out there that thinks it’s a penalty. Arsene Wenger is furious there and he has every right to be.”
Petr Cech’s complaints to the referee saw him booked after the final whistle. Arsenal usurp derby rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the table, and will finish the year in fifth, though only by a point instead of the three they might have expected.