VAR Has Already Cost Teams Goals and Points This Season
Another Premier League weekend, another VAR controversy. Certainly not anyones Football favourites. In fact, this latest round of action brought us two VAR incidents. One allowing a goal that should have been ruled out, another ruling out a goal that should have stood… Before allowing it again. In this inaugural season of VAR being deployed in the Premier League, many teams have already been let down by the assistant referees tucked away in Stockley Park. Here we will take a look at five of the biggest controversies, starting with the latest from Old Trafford on Sunday.
Foul on Divock Origi
Manchester United scored a fine counter-attacking goal against Liverpool in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. The only problem was that the counter-attack came after Divock Origi was fouled. His touch wasn’t the best, but it still took him away from Victor Lindelof, who left his boot on the calf of the Belgian forward. Watching the game closely as it progressed, there were at least five fouls exactly like this one. So, why did VAR allow this? As many have suggested, the video assistants have set an incredibly high bar on what should be deemed as a “clear and obvious” error from the on-field referee. In this case, the video clearly shows Lindelof leaving his boot on the leg of Orgi.
Grealish ‘Dive’ Against Palace
The controversy with the most backlash has to be this one. Aston Villa was pressing for a late goal in their away game at Crystal Palace earlier in the season when Jack Grealish decides to take matters into his own hands. He goes on a mazy run before becoming off balance, due to multiple challenges from both Gary Cahill and Wilfried Zaha. He manages to slide the ball through to a teammate, who converts, before falling to the ground. An act the referee saw as a dive.
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith was furious with the decision to chalk the goal off, and rightly so. This was a clear and obvious error from the on-field referee, who decided that Grealish had tried to simulate a foul to gain an advantage for his side. However, Grealish had gained an advantage for his team, using his desire and skill to force open the Crystal Palace defense. The most baffling part of this controversy was that even after going to VAR, the goal still didn’t stand.
No Red Card for Youri Tielemans
It’s not always that VAR should take things away from teams, but they should get the correct decision no matter the outcome. In Leciester’s 3-1 at home to Bournemouth, Youri Tielememans was lucky to stay on the pitch after a horrible tackle on Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson. As you can see by the image below, this was certainly dangerous play from the Belgian. VAR was consulted and not even a yellow card was shown. Now, how is that possible? Youri Tielmans scored later that game.
Isaac Hayden’s Handball
In a tight game at St.James’ Park at the start of the season, Newcastle drew with Watford. However, the equalizing goals for the Magpies should not have stood, with Isaac Hayden controlling the ball with his hand. The new law states that any handball from the attacking team should be pulled back and the goal chalked off. Interestingly, the team at Stockley Park actually admitted to missing this handball, citing human error as the cause. I wonder how Watford feels about that?
Hawk-Eye’s No Goal for Dele Alli
This final one has an element of comedy to it all. Tottenham is going through a sort of crisis at the moment and on Saturday they were 0-1 at home for the majority of the game. They pressed, pushed forward and tried just about all they could to get an equalizer. In the end, a bit of luck occurred and the ball bounced for Dele Alli after some poor defending. He had scored, or so he thought. Alli had rescued a point for his side, but the wrong graphic was displayed on the big screen at the White Hart Lane Stadium, causing incredible confusion. More confusion than when there’s actually a VAR call in progress, and that takes some doing!
With the introduction of VAR, football games now feel more of a gamble similar to casino online.