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Ian Wright and Gary O’Neil slams ‘worst VAR decision ever seen’ as Wolves lose at Man City

Ian Wright and Gary O’Neil slams what the former described as the ‘worst VAR decision I’ve ever seen’ as Wolves lose 5-1 at Man City.

Ian Wright expressed his dissatisfaction with the referee’s decision to award Manchester City their initial penalty against Wolves, with BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker then bursting into laughter.

City’s win narrows the gap to league toppers Arsenal by just one point and with a game in hand.

Erling Haaland scored four goals in the game against Wolves, with Haaland’s first goal was a penalty kick, as referee Craig Pawson judged Rayan Ait-Nouri to have committed a foul against Josko Gvardiol.

However, there was plenty of controversy over the decision, with Wolves boss Gary O’Neil branding it a “terrible” call.

“The first penalty was a really poor decision,” he said after the game, having watched on from the directors’ box due to a touchline ban for his previous comments about officials.

“I can sit there and say how poor my team were in certain moments with some errors, not in application or determination, or effort – just some really poor errors. But I thought the awarding of the first penalty was terrible.

“Gvardiol probably plays as big a part in the contact with Rayan, as Rayan does. He has his shot and his leg is still moving through, and his motion probably creates the contact with Rayan as much as Rayan.

“I don’t know what Rayan is meant to do in that instance, he can’t vanish. You don’t see them given very often when the shot has been hit over the bar and there’s a coming together. It was a strange one.”

 Lineker agreed with O’Neil, saying on Match of the Day: “Well as he mentions that first penalty decision, I know it was very comfortable win in the end wasn’t it for City but he might have a point. That did just look like a genuine coming together.”

Wright then interjected, leaving both Lineker and fellow pundit Jermaine Jenas in stitches as Wright added: “Absolutely. This could be one of the worst penalties I’ve ever seen given in the game.

“It’s getting more and more ridiculous. You got Ait-Nouri he’s turning and not looking, he makes contact with the ball and I don’t think he’s actually kicked him here at all Ait-Nouri.

“He’s actually already had his shot and he’s blasted into him, how can they look at that in there and say this is a penalty and he’s impeding him? Look, he’s had his shot, I’m bewildered.”

O’Neil was made to watch the game from the stands after recent comments he made regarding referee decisions saw him handed a one-match ban from the FA.

While he acknowledged that his side’s mistakes had cost them, he adds that he was surprised by the officiating in certain moments.

“I have to take responsibility for the way the game unfolds. I think we made a lot of errors for the goals, unforced ones as well, which gave Manchester City some really good chances,” O’Neil said in his post-match press conference.

“Mistakes against this team can be punished, and they were. They punished us ruthlessly. I’ll talk about the decisions, but I’m keen to state the officials have no real part in the way the game ended up today,” he added.

O’Neil then expressed how he was disappointed over the second penalty of the game, given after Nelson Semedo tripped Erling Haaland, with a pitchside review needed to decided the spot-kick to be awarded.

“I thought the second penalty was a penalty but I’m surprised how they reached it. I thought on-field they would give that, but then I’m surprised that it’s overturned because there was contact from Nels but not much.

“I was surprised it was deemed clear and obvious, but they do reach the right conclusion on that one.”

O’Neil felt his side could have been given a penalty themselves after an innocuous moment when the ball hit the arm of Manuel Akanji in the box, with Akanji laying on the deck at the time.

“Potential check for Akanji handball, there was not much made about that. I heard the fans appeal for it and when I saw the replay, he was on the floor and seems to punch the ball away with his hand.

“But as I say, so much for me to focus on with my own group, our mistakes and sloppy turnovers, needed to be close to perfect to get anything today and we fell short on numerous occasions.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola to BBC’s Match of the Day: “I would say a better result than the performance, we lost a lot of simple balls in the first half. We created a lot of chances, we have to score more and Wolves have a really good base with Cunha, Hwang and they have a lot of quality there and the physicality that they have. But a good result happy for them.

On whether City sent a message with their performance: “The message is not about that, Arsenal also send a message. He (Arteta) wins the games and they win the games comfortably. But yes, one week left, two for the FA Cup, but the Premier League is one week left and three games. We have to take nine points, otherwise Arsenal will win the title and hopefully, we can come back here in a few days and have the chance against West Ham to come here and win the title.

On taking off Erling Haaland when chasing a fifth goal: “We had the chances. One day he will do it. He could’ve played until the end but Julian has been so important, his minutes have been decisive. Julian (Alvarez) has done [well] and I’d like to give him minutes. Rico (Lewis) has done well but again, I can’t give him minutes. In a game playing against Crystal Palace, he was the best player on the pitch. Everyone is ready and fit and ready for what we have left.”

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland to BBC’s Match of the Day: “Thank you mate. Important and focus on the next one.”

Were you frustrated to come off after scoring four?: “It was nothing about that. I was happy and Julian scored so that was really nice.”

Would you rather be playing before Arsenal on a weekend or after?: “It’s a bit of a difficult question. I don’t care, we just have to win our games and now, relax tonight and focus on Fulham.”

On scoring 201 goals in five seasons of club football since leaving Molde: “Yeah it’s not bad, that and as I have been saying many times before, it would not be possible without all of my teammates in Dortmund, in Salzburg and [here], look today, it was because of them.”

On former RB Salzburg teammate Hwang Hee-Chan scoring: “Hee-Chan scored, always good to see him. He’s a fantastic guy. He also gave me a couple of assists as well, so a great guy.”

Player ratings (as per Sky Sports)

Manchester City: Ederson (5), Walker (7), Akanji (7), Ake (7), Gvardiol (8), Rodri (8), Kovacic (7), Silva (7), De Bruyne (7), Foden (8), Haaland (10).

Subs: Stones (6), Nunes (6), Grealish (6), Doku (6).

Wolves: Sa (6), Semedo (5), Kilman (5), Toti (5), Ait-Nouri (5), Gomes (6), Lemina (6), Traore (6), H. Bueno (6), Hwang (7), Cunha (5).

Subs: Bellegarde (5), S. Bueno (6), Sarabia (6), Chirewa (n/a).

Player of the Match: Erling Haaland

Twitter users reacted as Ian Wright and Gary O’Neil slams ‘worst VAR decision ever seen’ as Wolves lose at Man City…

@Holte121971: Not even a Wolves fan but that is a shocking decision. Corruption is rife

@JohnnnnyH: Such a biased call, no team outside the big six is EVER given that as a pen.

@southbank1877: They have to keep the title race interesting, wolves dont matter to them..

@WWFCJoel: What’s even the point in playing anymore… this isn’t football

@Reggie61823972: The standard of refereeing in the Premiership is the absolute worst in the world!!

@Bren____77: 12 mins in already been fucking robbed

@TweetRy4n: Ref favouring the big clubs again. No way was that a penalty.

@stoneeeeeh96: Ait nouri looking completely at the ball, couldn’t have been more of a blatant 50/50

@charlie_bish93: Never a pen, Man City players protests made the ref give that. If anything the city player clattered into ait nouri

@Richard17589111: A disgraceful decision. It was a coming together of two players going for the ball not a foul. Premier league is corrupt. Would Wolves have been awarded a penalty in such circumstances at the other end of the pitch? Answer ‘no’.

@ccount5775: Another title gift-wrapped for the financial dopers by this corrupt organisation

@craigaradford: Never ever a pen. What is it with us (nffc) and you getting screwed by officials week after week? Surely the big 6 favouritism needs investigating.

Plan working by @FA_PGMOL for City
Touch line ban for GON✅
Early penalty ✅
Wolves tackle City player = foul✅
Book Wolves players✅
Penalty whenever for City✅
VAR check club badge = City decision✅
Fuck Pawson
Fuck VAR
Destroyed game we used to love

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