Tottenham beat London rivals West Ham but VAR grabs all of the headlines once again

For Jose Mourinho it was relief when the brilliant Harry Kane sealed victory over London rivals West Ham to make it 2-0 on the night near the end of the game. Three points had been achieved, and him and the rest of the team could breathe once more. But threatening to overshadow the game once more was VAR which affected one goal and could have done so with another.

Heung-Min Son for example had thought he had scored the opening goal, and a good one it looked too before replays showed that his toe nail was offside. At the end of the day VAR did its job, but again common sense and VAR do not go hand in hand. Offside surely should only be punished if a player is clearly offside and looking for an advantage. In this case like literally hundreds before it Son was not looking for an advantage, and he was offside due to luck, in his case bad luck.

That incident could have spelled disaster for Tottenham who really needed the win given that Chelsea had gone 9 points clear of them, and Mourinho wants a Champions League finish.

With Tottenham looking like the better side, West Ham still remained a danger with Pablo Fornals given a glorious chance to put the Hammers in front but he miss kicked the ball.

Tottenham eventually opened the scoring but it was an own goal by the Hammers Tomas Soucek just after the hour that provided it. It was unfortunate for the club but perhaps the goal was coming. However after the game West Ham manager David Moyes was enraged as he said replays could show Tottenham player Davison Sanchez had hand balled the cross. He demanded why VAR did not come into play, and by the laws that goal should not have counted. However the incident is not very clear as the ball moves so fast. The end result it looks like sour grapes from Moyes. However if VAR want to give Son’s goal offside, maybe Moyes has a point that it should have stopped the game and looked at the incident.

That goal took the stuffing out of West Ham and then Tottenham went onto win the game. It was an important win and keeps the club in the mix for a European finish.

As for West Ham they are hanging onto survival and are only in 17th place by virtue of goal difference. West Ham’s next game will be against Chelsea whilst Tottenham will play Sheffield United.

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Is suspending VAR ever going to be a realistic option for the Premier League?

When you sat back and thought about the 2019/20 Premier League season during your last summer holidays, you would’ve been at a loss to pinpoint the biggest talking point of the season. All things considered, that is quite remarkable given that Liverpool will most likely smash the 100 point mark, and be crowned champions after putting together the most impressive Premier League campaign ever witnessed.

In fact, Jurgen Klopp’s men should top the table by the biggest winning margin by any
side ever in the history of the Premier League. But, alas, that still won’t be at the
forefront of your mind as you sit on the Costa Smeralda.

Instead, as you sip on something cool whilst the azure waters of the Mediterranean lap
at your feet, you’ll be thinking about VAR and what a catastrophe it has been in its
debut season in the Premier League. Almost no one is happy with VAR at this stage,
and the calls for it to go are growing louder and louder, and are now almost coming
from every corner. Will the Premier League listen and finally suspend VAR?

What is the extent of VAR’s interference this season?

The latest count on VAR, and the goals or incidents that it has affected, comes in at 75
after the controversy in the game between Spurs and Manchester City, where the North
London club claimed victory after benefiting from the Video Assistant Referee. All in
all this season, 38 goals have been disallowed and 19 decisions made that led to goals.
Furthermore, 12 penalties have been awarded and four overturned, with 25 goals
ruled out for offside. Carrying on from there, VAR has seen fit to award five red cards
whilst overturning three.

Needless to say, after having a look at those figures, VAR has stolen the limelight throughout this season. Some decisions are less controversial than others, but some are quite ridiculous, namely Declan Rice’s handball in the build-up to Robert Snodgrass’ goal at Sheffield United, that denied the Hammers a share of the spoils late on at ramall Lane.

There is every chance, should West Ham get relegated, that they look back on that decision as one of the key moments behind their Premier League demise. This controversial situation looks a distinct possibility given that, as of early stages in February, Betway have priced Moyes’ men at 5/4 to go down.

Indeed, VAR is beginning to act as the hand of fate, with its decisions beginning to add
up, which will inevitably have a longer-lasting impact. But it’s not just the basement
clubs that are struggling.

Many have asked if Manchester City are indeed feeling the brunt of VAR. It should be
said that there is a tendency for supporters to feel like there is a conspiracy against
their clubs at the best of times but, when VAR intervenes and disallows goals, fans feel
like they officially have proof. In the cold light of day, and once the emotion dies down,
it’s clear to see that simply isn’t the case.

Does common sense actually go out the window?

The main problem with VAR is that supporters feel like it nit-picks too much, hence
why we all talk about the armpit offside now, after VAR ruled out a Firmino goal on the
barest of margins. So, in essence, what the fans are saying is that we want VAR but
don’t necessarily want it to scrutinize a possible situation too closely. It’s hard not to
shake your head after weighing up that logic.

Sure, VAR is frustrating, but to accuse it of being too accurate, well, anyone can see
how flawed an argument that is, given that its sole purpose is to use all means possible
to make the right decision. Could it be done slightly faster? Absolutely, but these things do take time. In any case, what you’ll probably find if the Premier League does decide to persevere with VAR, is that we were dealing with a raw version of it that had many teething issues.

Will the Premier League stick with VAR?

Everything says that they will so rather than put it on the scrapheap. They are
rumoured to be inviting the 20 Premier League clubs to sit down and debate what the
league is calling ‘radical changes.’ Having said that, the Premier League doesn’t strike
you as an organization that will sit idly by whilst VAR ruins the product that they have
built up over the past 27 years.

It’s unlikely that lead sponsors like the gaming giants EA Sports will stand by and not
make much a noise of this cacophony of disapproval gets any louder. The same can be
said for the soft drink titans Coca-Cola and their affiliation with the Premier League.
These big boys of industry, not to mention the league’s main sponsors, are not going to
let VAR turn people away from the beautiful game.

If the team at Stockley Park don’t streamline VAR in its current form, then you’d have
to say that it is in real danger of getting the boot after the playing of the 2020/21
season.

After West Ham are denied a point are there serious issues with VAR, handball and offside?

VAR has been the main focus point in the Premier League this season and often made controversial choices. The newest one denied West Ham what looked like a last minute equaliser against Sheffield United. But VAR stepped in and denied the goal based on the fact that there had been a handball in the goal’s build up.

The new technology was right, there had been a handball. It was slight and it certainly wasn’t intentional, not in a Thierry Henry way when the French legend deliberately used his hand to control the ball in a World Cup play off with Ireland over a decade ago. This was different, there was no intention, no malice just the pace of the ball, the way it bobbled and the way the player in a natural position had received it. And yet a goal that looked pretty perfect did not exist and West Ham lost the game, incidentally David Moyes’ first loss as Hammers manager.

West Ham’s Declan Rice was the player at fault as he handled the ball and he had this to say to local sports channel Sky Sports after the controversial moment: “We are fuming all the lads are livid. This is a tough place to come, credit to them they ground it out. We created some chances and missed some chances. The goal at the end was a tough one to take because a point on the road would have been good for us.

Rice continued: “ I’ve just watched it back. He has knocked the ball into my hand. If you are running with your arms like that with the rules as they are now it is handball but it is not intentional. It is a kick in the teeth. I think it is the thoughts of every Premier League player, not just me, pretty much every one doesn’t want to have VAR in the game.There have been so many decisions this season that have been absolutely crazy. They were celebrating VAR like it was a goal and football should not be like that. I can’t get over it, he knocked it into my hand. It is not intentional handball. I was buzzing. I ran 20 metres up the pitch, slipped the ball in for Snodgrass.”

It is very understandable to feel Rice’s frustrations and it has happened countless times when VAR has stepped in whether it is a handball clearly not intentional or an offside. The offside’s this season have been almost comical where most of the time a goal has been chalked off because a players knee, nose or little finger has been officially offside. Surely this is not cheating or the attacking player having an advantage? They would in fact have to be incredibly ingenious to place a nose just in front of the defender all the while keeping tags on where the ball is and where the next pass will be coming from.

So is VAR to blame for the chaos? Well in truth the root of the problem are out of date and new laws. The hand ball situation is a farce, it ruined last years Champions League final for example. All VAR is essentially doing is going with the rules, but it is being too precise. That may sound odd but true football fans or at least the ones following for decades will understand there have always been errors, but those errors have led to goals and not a lack of. It seems ingrained in football fans DNA that the way of the game wasn’t to pause it and then take 3 minutes to decide if a goal is a goal. And like Rice said is it normal to cheer like a goal has been scored when a VAR decision has gone against the opposition?

It does feel that VAR should be taking some responsibility, after all that final decision is coming down to another referee, who is not seeing the issue at hand. If pressure is being applied to have these decisions within the new rules at a 100% return then the rules need to be amended. The bottom line is did that player seek to cheat to get an advantage?

The rules are the rules but they can still be overturned by VAR’s decision, a clear and obvious error and all that. For now that point lost could well come back to haunt West Ham who could be in a relegation battle within a few weeks.

For now this case needs to be filed under c for common sense, let’s hope the powers that be use it fully.

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Is VAR and a lack of common sense ruining the game we love?

Yet again the talking point of the weekend is not so much the football but VAR and one wonders if common sense is now ruining the game we love?

There are so many different issues after a few months of VAR and that can be normal when a new service is implemented but it has also been evidently frustrating for fans. Now when your team score, you cheer with uncertainty, you just never know if play will be called back. It is even harder if you are at a game. Take yesterday’s match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace as a huge example. The game was locked at 2-2 but Arsenal had taken the lead, it was a goal, but it wasn’t. Fans in the stadium honestly had no idea what was going on. Replays were not shown, no explanation was given, but there was a long delay. The goal looked legitimate, but VAR had spotted something between two players in the build up something and nothing if truth be told and Arsenal were denied what most probably would have been the win.

The offside rule is another problem. How can a player be deemed to have an advantage or looking for one if their nose, or hair or foot is offside? This isn’t VAR’s fault of course and it is only going by the laws of the game, but they are silly ones at best. The same problem is the hand to ball, ball to hand rule in the penalty area. How can it be a penalty when no obvious cheating is involved? We now have a situation where an opposing player can now fire the ball into a defenders arm and get given a penalty, stone wall in some people’s opinion, this seems almost warped and is ruining the game.

Penalties are given far too easily, but at the end of the day when VAR was supposed to clear up match day controversy it is actually simply adding to it. So what is the solution? First off common sense needs to prevail, it is easy to tell if a player is putting themselves in a position to cheat or take an advantage or handle the ball or mistakenly do so. VAR needs to be quicker in its decisions and perhaps VAR should be less used and let the referee be able to make decisions. One area where VAR is needed is offside because the linesman’s job seems obsolete now, too many are too poor at their job. And what VAR does spectacularly right is when a player is NOT offside and is able to rule that out.

I think it’s fair to say that even if you are for VAR, the system has made too many errors and the judgement really hasn’t been there on a consistent basis. That’s fine it is new, but perhaps this has all been rushed out far too quickly? The football, the players and the goals should be the talking point of the weekend, not VAR and that is the bottom line.

Is VAR ruining football after Cristiano Ronaldo is ruled offside by millimeteres?

VAR is a wonderful invention because it is there to stop unjust goals and award penalties that otherwise wouldn’t be given. But take the case of so many footballers week in and week out now who are having goals ruled out because of offside.

The offside law is another great rule, let’s make no mistake of that, if you are in front of the defence, then you are goal hanging, not really playing the game and just waiting for the ball to appear. Great rule. However VAR has taken everything to a new level, where a goal is ruled offside even if it’s just your nose that is offside.

At the weekend it was the turn of Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored what looked like a fine goal to give Juventus the lead. But after a VAR review it was ruled as a no goal. In every other season Ronaldo would have been given the goal. So the argument is that it was correct to give Ronaldo’s goal offside. But let’s throw this in- Did Ronaldo being millimetres offside bring to fruition that he meant to cheat, by placing himself offside on purpose? Really? Most probably not.

VAR has gone overboard, where every tiny mistake is now taken from the game and anaylised and the result is taking the initial joy out of the game. VAR is welcomed but maybe some other rules need to be changed, and the offside rule is painfully stupid. Now if you are half a yard offside or a yard that makes sense to rule out a goal. If it’s an inch, a nose, a knee, its plain ridiculous, no player is willingly cheating by having his nose offside.

What VAR will do is produce less goals now. We won’t be seeing another generation of Messi’s and Ronaldo’s whacking in 50 goals per season. Not that their goals were offside, but some would have been very close and called on, breaking up play, making the player second guess and so on. VAR has incredibly changed football, not just by a small margin but by a massive one.

Ronaldo’s goal in the book of laws shouldn’t have counted, but in the book of common sense it should have. Offside means that the player has made a grave error or was trying to cheat to get a goal. Ronaldo’s offside wasn’t either, he was just trying to play the game he dearly loves and put his side in the lead.

Some rules need to be changed, we can only hope in the future it will be.

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Euro Fantasy League Podcast – Episode 8 – Is VAR a good thing for football? Plus Philippe Coutinho, Barcelona and Brenda Blethyn

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In the first episode of 2018, the lads discuss the introduction of VAR and ask the question of whether or not Serie A is the only title race still on?

Dave reveals his love for Vera star Brenda Blethyn, and Jamie reveals he was abused after the Christmas XI selections on the previous episode.

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VAR: Serie A’s new scapegoat

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It’s not been a vintage week for refereeing in Serie A. Just days after Piero Giacomelli reportedly prompted Lazio to consider pulling out of the campaign altogether after his decision to send off Ciro Immobile and not award them a penalty during their 3-1 defeat to Torino, Cagliari boss Diego Lopez suggested smaller clubs were being penalised by video assistant referees (VAR) in the wake of his side losing Roma in last-gasp fashion.

VAR had been installed to curb officiating controversies, yet it has only served to raise more questions than answers – through no fault of its own. As it were, why didn’t Giacomelli review the penalty appeal and incident that led to Immobile’s dismissal with the technology? And just why did the Roma-Cagliari ref selectively turn Edin Dzeko’s dive into a penalty and let Federico Fazio’s goal stand, despite the clear suspicions of a handball?

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Bienvenido, VAR

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Ya es oficial. La Liga contará a partir de la próxima temporada con un aliado nuevo, uno tecnológico. Se trata de una petición expresa del comité de árbitros que ha aprobado formalmente la Liga de Fútbol Profesional.

El Video Arbitraje ha sido un tema muy cuestionado en los últimos tiempos y muchas voces relacionadas con el fútbol llevaban tiempo pidiéndolo. Esto puede evitar muchos errores históricos y salir de dudas durante el partido. En otras palabras: brindar más justicia a este deporte. Continue reading