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Pundits, managers and players lash out at number of Premier League VAR controversies

Pundits, managers and players lash out at a number of Premier League VAR controversies which marred most of this weekend’s matches.

Saturday saw managers disagreeing over the correct use of the video assistant referee as several saw some awful decisions made, some described to being the worst they’ve ever seen in top flight football.

West Ham were denied a 90th-minute equaliser when Maxwel Cornet’s effort was ruled out after Jarrod Bowen was judged to have fouled Edouard Mendy in the build-up – a call David Moyes called “scandalous”.

Elsewhere, Newcastle saw what Eddie Howe called a “perfectly good goal” ruled out and a furious Leeds manager Jesse Marsch was sent off for his reaction to two penalty decisions that went against his side’s way in a 5-2 defeat by Brentford.

“Players and managers have been let down today, it’s been a terrible day – they have been let down by decisions like that,” said Alan Shearer on Match of the Day.

Tony Pulis said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s not VAR – let me get this correct. VAR just records the TV footage, it’s the people who are running VAR.

“It’s those human beings who are making the decisions. It’s the referees stuck in that office, wherever they are, making the decisions.”

There was one example, however, of a referee being told to consult the pitchside monitor and sticking with their on-field decision. A sign of things to come? That’s what everyone’s hoping for anyway.

This moment came at Nottingham Forest, with Michael Oliver awarding a penalty for handball and – five minutes later – it was scored by Brennan Johnson.

“Well done Michael Oliver, at last a referee has had the guts to say ‘I am sticking with my decision’,” said Shearer. “Don’t be surprised to see more of that in the coming weeks because he is the first to do it.”

Newcastle and Crystal Palace played out a 0-0 draw at St James’ Park but only after the hosts had a goal disallowed.

Tyrick Mitchell turned the ball into his own net and inexperienced top flight referee Michael Salisbury ruled it out for a foul by Joe Willock on goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, though Newcastle deemed the midfielder was himself pushed by Mitchell.

“I didn’t think it should have been disallowed, personally, I thought it was a foul or a push on Joe Willock in the build-up to the ball coming in,” said Howe.

“Joe’s momentum is fixed at that point from his opponent, it then carries him into the goalkeeper. But without that push, there’s no way that Joe would have gone in with that force.

“If anything, it’s a penalty if it’s not a goal, so I was very surprised with the outcome.”

Palace boss Patrick Vieira disagreed: “It was a clear foul and if it wasn’t the keeper gets the ball in his hands. The referee makes the right decision.”

Shearer said: “It is shocking, abysmal, disgraceful – Willock is going to head that ball, so Mitchell shoves him – Michael Salisbury gets it right, it is Lee Mason [VAR official] who somehow bizarrely tells him ‘you have made a howler’.”

Shearer added that the referee was then not shown the best angle of the incident.

“Lee Mason is the one to blame because it is an inexperienced referee,” added Shearer. “At this level you have got to get that decision right, he has had no help from VAR. Far too many errors, VAR is not the problem, it is the people who are running it.”

It was a tale of two penalties in Brentford’s 5-2 win over Leeds – one given, and one not, and Leeds fans would argue the scoreline would be completely different if penalty calls weren’t denied.

Ivan Toney opened the scoring with a penalty, awarded after a foul by Luis Sinisterra – who was deemed by VAR to have got the ball but taken the player first – then Leeds were denied a spot-kick of their own when Crysencio Summerville was taken down by Aaron Hickey.

“I’ve got to figure out how to have discussions with the league or with referees to help understand how some decisions get made,” said Leeds boss Marsch, who was frustrated the officials chose not to review the challenge on Summerville.

“I was speaking with the fourth official, trying to be as respectful as I possibly could, even when a penalty was given that I probably didn’t think was a penalty.

“And then you don’t see it reciprocated, the respect. That’s what I would call it. That lack of VAR visit, in the end to me, is a lack of respect.”

“I understand his frustration,” said Danny Murphy on Match of the Day. “It was an awful decision, enhanced by the fact Brentford had got one – you are expecting VAR to tell him to go and look and they don’t.”

Brentford boss Thomas Frank, meanwhile, had a different view: “I trust VAR and the refs to take a decision on that one. I saw our own one back after the game and it’s a clear penalty.”

It was a dramatic finale at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea fighting back to win 2-1 against West Ham, though the Hammers were denied a late leveller.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he thought there was a foul on his keeper before Michail Antonio put West Ham ahead but agreed with the decision to disallow Cornet’s late strike for the visitors.

“We were lucky today to get the VAR decision in our favour, which was for me the correct decision,” he told Match of the Day.

Cornet reacted after Mendy parried the ball in his direction, but after being told to look at the monitor, referee Andrew Madley decided there was a foul on the goalkeeper by Bowen.

“The goalkeeper comes to take it, and actually fumbles it out of his hands five or six yards, so he could never recover it,” said Moyes, who added he was “embarrassed” for VAR official Jarred Gillett. “Then he acted as if he had a shoulder injury. I’m amazed that VAR sent the referee to see it.

“It was a ridiculously bad decision. I’d question VAR as much as the referee, but the referee should have stuck to his own guns – there is no excuse for that not to be a goal, none whatsoever. The sad thing is this is the level of the weak refereeing at the moment.

“Jarrod said he never touched the goalkeeper at all. And if you look at it, he jumps him. There might have been a trailing foot if there was anything at all.”

Chris Sutton said on Final Score: “I am with David Moyes on that, the goal should have stood, it wasn’t a foul on Edouard Mendy. This is what infuriates fans up and down the country when they see decisions like that. An absolute shocker.”

Glenn Murray added on 5 Live: “Those are the decisions that make managers go grey. I feel as though Edouard Mendy has bought that from the referee.”

And Murphy agreed: “I don’t think I have any words that I can say out loud. It was a ridiculous decision – I can’t find any logic in it.”

Shearer said it was “never, ever a foul” and not why VAR was implemented.

“Minimum interference, maximum benefit was what we were told when VAR was brought in,” he said. “It is a terrible, disgraceful decision – beyond terrible.”

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