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Unai Emery and Chris Wilder call out VAR controversy as Aston Villa draw with Sheffield United

Unai Emery and Chris Wilder call out VAR controversy as Aston Villa play out a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United on Friday night.

Nicolo Zaniola’s 97th minute equaliser cancelled out Cameron Archer who put Sheffield United ahead on the 87th minute opener, with the result meaning that Villa miss the chance to move to the top of the Premier League table for Christmas. The Blades meanwhile are off the bottom, ahead of Saturday’s fixtures.

As mentioned, there was some controversy, with Villa looking for early penalty shout for a push on Ollie Watkins while Leon Bailey had a goal disallowed when Jacob Ramsey was adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper following a VAR check.

“I watched a good game. Two teams trying to play with their idea, not dramatic but we drew,” Emery said to Sky Sports.

“We’ve been here, winning a lot of matches. Sometimes we know that can change and today [Friday] it did. But I’m very happy, I’m proud of the players who were here when we were winning and today we drew. We have to accept it and I am happy.”

When questioned if Villa deserved more, Emery said: “Yes. We scored one goal, had control of the game in the first half, like we prepared. We tried as well to get the ball, we got it.

“We didn’t have clear chances because they were defending very well and very deep. We lost control after VAR refused our goal and it upset things, not controlling the game like we were doing and they score.”

On Bailey’s disallowed goal, one of a number of VAR interruptions, when asked whether that should have been ruled out, Emery said: “No, but I always accept VAR.”

He added: “Today, VAR was too much. It was not necessary. To review the action that they reviewed and as well the goal. The goal was the second action and for me, there’s no foul. VAR is very important to help the referees, but it’s not necessary always.”

“We’re delighted with the result and delighted with the structure of the team. We can’t go toe to toe with these clubs at the moment, we’ve had very little time on the training ground,” Wilder said on Sky Sports.

“I give the players a lot of credit for taking in the amount of information… we hung in there and felt if there were about a thousand VAR decisions tonight.

“We grew into the game a little bit, we were better in the second half. Hamer and McAtee coming on gave us a little bit more in possession and there you go.

“When you go 1-0 up that deep into the game, you wonder if it’s going to be your night, but it isn’t. We have to quickly move on.”

Player ratings (as per Sky Sports)

Aston Villa: Martinez (6), Cash (5), Konsa (6), Lenglet (6), Digne (6), Douglas Luiz (7), McGinn (6), Bailey (7), Ramsey (7), Diaby (7), Watkins (6).

Subs: Duran (6), Moreno (7), Zaniolo (7).

Sheffield United: Foderingham (6), Bogle (7), Robinson (7), Trusty (7), Larouci (6), Ben Slimane (6), Baldock (6), Vinicius Souza (6), Norwood (6), Brooks (6), Archer (7).

Subs: Lowe (7), Hamer (7), McAtee (6), McBurnie (n/a).

Player of the match: Jack Robinson.

This is what fans are saying as Unai Emery and Chris Wilder call out VAR controversy as Aston Villa draw with Sheffield United…

@reel_villan: How this was ruled out I will never know. Utterly bizarre and completely changed the game… #AVFC

@JPAvfc_: Foul on the keeper 100%, but they touched the ball SEVEN times after the corner was taken. How on gods green earth is that not a new phase of play?

@JayVtid: Of all the decisions this one annoys me most. Surely a new phase of play began when they were in possession and about to break on counter. How it was brought back to a foul on the keeper, I don’t know.

@pearcyyy: Wilder has a fair point. Referees start off and work their way up leagues with no VAR, making mostly correct decisions, just like linesman, to then get to the pinnacle, the EPL and have all of your decisions reviewed. Talk about micro managing #AVLSHU

@DaveAV96: VAR is an absolute disgrace! Not in a million years was that a foul. Feel like we’ve been shafted that game, VAR and the Ref were against us all 90 minutes! They can’t stand us near the top of the league!! #avfc

@Gidge25: That is a howler, what ever happened to a ‘different phase of play’ and imagine my shock when I see it’s that muppet Anthony Taylor going to look at VAR, Villa fans have been robbed of their Christmas present of being top

@Jordwalker19: That’s a disgusting decision, they had 3 attempts to clear it hahahahsh that’s the worst of the lot that

1. Watkins pushed in back – NO PEN.
2. VAR bending the rules to strike a goal off – NO GOAL.
3. Deliberate move of arm towards the ball, hits below his shoulder – NO PEN.
Royally fucked by VAR in a crucial game.

@lewisjordan98: New phase of play surely. Goal should stand

@ejs1111: #AVFC have THREE penalty shouts. All discarded in less than a minute. Villa score a goal and VAR spend FOUR minutes to find a foul in a different phase of play. Tell me the #EPL is not corrupt

@theavfcfaithful: Boyle fouls Ramsey more than ramsey fouls the keeper? Why was that not checked…

Ramsey is getting his shirt pulled too in the same moment – deemed okay.
Konsa getting his shirt pulled in the penalty area – deemed okay.
Sheffield United had two chances to clear the ball and didn’t.
There’s zero consistency whatsoever. Just make it up as they go along.

@MikeJefferson3: I really hope @FA_PGMOL come to their senses and get rid of VAR. It’s killed the game. No longer can you celebrate a goal in the moment for fear it will be ruled out. It’s not solved a single problem, referees are in the spotlight more than ever. Things were better before #VAR

@dannyjbradders: This is very very soft & Sheffield Utd have numerous chances to keep possession/clear and mess it up, completely different phase of play as well, is this really a clear and obvious error??

@Christo70411310: Wolves fan here. Villa robbed… should of had a penalty in the 1st half and no way should this goal of been ruled out

@georgeknight99: Is it a foul on the keeper? Not for me personally but keepers get that extra protection these days. However, they clear the ball and try to play it out, that’s clearly a new phase, it’s not our fault that their player makes a terrible pass… @FA_PGMOL a shambles again.

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