Andy Murray wades into William Saliba's handball row at Chelsea

Arsenal fan Andy Murray joins Gary Lineker and Gary Neville in dismissing the handball call given against William Saliba at Chelsea… with tennis star insisting Gunners centre back had a ‘totally natural jumping position’

  • Handball was given against William Saliba in Arsenal’s draw away to Chelsea
  • The decision was widely derided afterwards and now Andy Murray had his say
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Coming Up!’ 

Former world No 1 Andy Murray has waded into the handball row during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Saturday. 

The London derby at Stamford Bridge was mired in controversy when, at 0-0, Arsenal centre back William Saliba was adjudged to have deliberately handled the ball. 

Mykhailo Mudryk connected with a header and it was heading towards goal when it hit Saliba’s arm. 

Action continued before VAR intervened and Chelsea were awarded a penalty, which Cole Palmer scored to make it 1-0.

Tennis star Murray, who is a self-confessed Arsenal fan, was left scratching his head with the decision. 

Mykhailo Mudryk’s header would go on to collide with the arm of William Saliba and while play initially carried on it was brought back by VAR, who decided to award Chelsea a penalty

Tennis star Andy Murray defended the Arsenal man and said it was a normal jumping position

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‘If you watch a replay and just look at mudryk arms when he jumps they make exactly the same movement as Saliba… both totally natural jumping positions,’ he posted on X, in response to an image of the incident.

It was a VAR decision that was widely panned, with Gary Neville and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker among those voicing their criticism. 

Neville, who commentated on the match for Sky Sports, said: ‘It hits William Saliba’s arm, there is no doubt about that. I think he could be in a little bit of bother here. 

‘Coming off the back of the Everton game earlier [vs Liverpool], I would say this is going to be given I would say.

‘This is all about whether Saliba’s arm is there because he is trying to win the ball – it’s certainly above, out and away from his body. Is he just using that arm for leverage or to gain an advantage? The fact is it doesn’t matter. 

‘None of us are sure what a penalty is anymore but that is consistent with what we saw in the Merseyside derby today.’

Murray is a self-confessed Arsenal fan – but he was not alone in questioning the VAR decision

Lineker was also dismayed at the call, posting on X: ‘The handball law is utterly ludicrous.’ 

Even former Chelsea captain John Terry was left accepting that it was the wrong call to punish Saliba. 

‘Delighted we got the penalty but I don’t agree with the rules on this,’ he wrote on X. 

‘Very harsh on defenders. I would have been fuming if that was given against me back in the day.’ 

Arsenal would not be deterred and despite going 2-0 down, with David Raya making a misjudgement from Mudryk’s cross, they rallied back to get what may prove to be a very important point. 

Declan Rice got them back in the game by capitalising on a Chelsea mistake, before Leandro Trossard scored from close range to level it up at 2-2. 


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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