Euro 2020 Special

VAR in the Dock Again in Yet Another Premier League Game Week


The Premier League leaders Arsenal dropped two valuable points at home in what was a frustrating afternoon for the Gunners. In truth, they can have few complaints about the scoreline with Brentford having the better of the chances in the first half, even if they were left with a deep feeling of injustice after the game.

Arsenal finally made the breakthrough when Bukayo Saka for once slipped his markers and fired across his cross for substitute Leandro Trossard to score his first goal for his new club at the back post.

Brentford equalised from a free-kick which the home side argued should never have been awarded in the first place. In the subsequent action, at least two Brentford places were offside but the goal stood because it was adjudged they were not interfering with play, a call that most commentators judged VAR had got wrong.

It subsequently transpired that the VAR official had failed to draw the lines on the pitch to decide whether the goal was offside or not, a failing attributed to human error.

The head of the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) Howard Webb has since contacted both Arsenal and Brighton to acknowledge that there were significant errors in how VAR was administered in their respective matches. But if it costs them the title, that will be scant consolation.


Manchester City

Arsenal’s slip enabled Manchester City to close the gap at the top to just three points with a routine win over Aston Villa. City went into the half-time break with a huge lead courtesy of goals from Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, and a penalty from Riyad Mahrez. Villa did pull a goal back in the second half for Ollie Watkins, but never seriously threatened a comeback.

One concern for City, who were playing their first game since they were charged with systemic financial misconduct by the Premier League, though, was losing striker Erling Haaland to a thigh injury before half-time, and he is now a doubt for their clash with the Gunners later this week.


Manchester United

United continue their rise towards the top with a win away at managerless Leeds. In a fervent atmosphere they left it late, but it was in-form striker Marcus Rashford who headed then ahead with his 21st goal of the season. Substitute Alejandro Garnacho then added a second, outpacing a tired Leeds defence.



Despite Chelsea fielding nearly £300 million of new talent, they failed to win their 8th successive away game under Graham Potter, having to settle for a draw against West Ham at the East London Stadium.

They started well, having two goals ruled out for offside, before Joāo Felix fired them ahead with his first goal for the club. But slack marking enabled West Ham to equalise through a Chelsea old boy, Emerson.

Chelsea thought they should have had a penalty in stoppage time when Tomas Soucek charged down a shot with his hand. For some inexplicable reason, the referee declined to give the spot kick and VAR did not overturn his decision.



Whatever feel good factor was engendered among Tottenham fans after they beat Manchester City last weekend soon disappeared as they suffered a heavy defeat at Leicester City.

Spurs actually took the lead through Rodrigo Bentancur, but found themselves 3 -1 down at half-time, with the Foxes adding a fourth after the break. By that time, the travelling support was calling for the Board to be sacked.



Another egregious VAR decision robbed Brighton of all three points in the so-called A23 derby against Crystal Palace.

Pervis Estupinan thought he had given Brighton the lead only for it to be chalked off for offside. It subsequently transpired that the VAR official had drawn the offside lines using the wrong player.

Solly March did put them ahead, only for Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez to gift the home side an equaliser when he dropped a simple cross allowing James Tompkins to head home from close range.



Eddie Howe returned with his Newcastle side to Bournemouth, the club where he established his managerial reputation, but had to be content with a point. Marcos Senesi gave the home side the lead, and, although Miguel Almíron equalised on the stroke of half-time, his side could not find a winner.



Bottom side Southampton are now looking for their third manager of the season after sacking Nathan Jones, He was dismissed after his side lost 2 – 1 at home to Wolves, despite taking the lead and playing with a man advantage for more than half the match.




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