With just minutes left Cardiff were beating Chelsea on Sunday in what would have been a massive result for the Bluebirds, and a result they would have deserved after a toothless display by Chelsea. But when the final whistle was blown Cardiff had lost the game 2-1 and manager Neil Warnock was left shocked.
Chelsea grabbed their equaliser through Cesar Azpilicueta but the goal was painfully offside and wasn’t even close. It was a beyond poor decision from the officials and something that could end up costing Cardiff their Premier League status. To add salt to the wounds a returning Ruben Loftus-Cheek got a winner for the Londoners which silenced the city of Cardiff on Sunday night.
At the final whistle Warnock calmly walked up to the officials by the centre circle and just stared at them. Face like red stone, they did what they know best and walked past him as if he wasn’t there. Warnock said that his team play in the best league in the world but he couldn’t say the same thing about the officials, and that he was ‘sickened’ by the match.
It’s easy to have sympathy with Warnock and why VAR has been delayed for a season in the Premier League is the real shocker. There have been many decisions where the officials have got it wrong. True human error will happen, but at these critical moments they can punish a team who have done little wrong at precisely the wrong time. Had VAR been in use it would have flagged up an offside- or at least so we hope, and the score would have remained 1-0. Indeed one could fathom that Chelsea got a new wind after the equaliser and a wrong decision is why they went on to win the game.
VAR will be implemented next season in the Premier League but at the same time one has to question the current rule that we must live by. If everyone in the ground knows a goal to be offside therefore it should never have counted why can’t the FA act after the game. If so Cardiff would have at least got a point yesterday.
As it stands Cardiff look like the favourites to be relegated alongside Huddersfield and Fulham. They are 5 points from safety and their next game is away to Manchester City- yikes! After that they face a massive game away to Burnley, the team directly above them, and lose the City game and the Burnley one and Cardiff could be virtually down. Warnock’s side still have to face Liverpool and Manchester United before the season ends and it does look increasingly like they will be playing Championship football again, was this Chelsea loss the defining moment? It seems so.