I tell you what, it’s about time there was some consistency around VAR. It cannot go on like this, it’s killing the game. It needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed NOW.
Can all the media bods please get together and decide whether we are calling it VAR like car or V-A-R, please?
The rest of the moans about it can do one, as far as I am concerned. “But he was only a millimetre offside”, they moan. Yes, so he was offside then. Deal with it.
I accept, completely and utterly, that some things that are blatant fouls and clear-and-obvious errors on the field of play are being missed and not reviewed correctly – but it’s not the offsides that are the issue.
Mind you, watching a little bit of the Rugby World Cup this weekend and having also watched a lot of cricket this summer, it would be great if we could have the refs miked up so we could have their decision-making process explained. And fine any player caught dropping the F-bomb on mic £1m instantly.
Anyway, some football was played this weekend – shall we take a look?
Football can be a cruel mistress. I mean, it’s very rare you see one of those cheeky-little-move-the-ball free-kicks come off in a game, let alone two. Liverpool squeezed two moments of invention into the first 45 minutes at Stamford Bridge in a half that could well be remembered for being the half where we all remembered that Tammy Abraham is an excellent striker against Championship level defences.
Abraham raced through 1 v 1 against Adrian, who to be fair is probably a Championship level keeper, only to fail to score. Tammy, a young Harry Kane would have scored that. A young Alan Shearer would have found a way to turn that chance into a hat-trick. I fear even a young Wayne Rooney would have tucked it away, let alone a young Michael Owen who was scoring tougher chances than that in a World Cup several years younger.
Then within the next five minutes, Chelsea thought they’d equalised only for VAR to disagree and then conceded a killer second goal when their entire defence thought it would be fun to experiment with not marking Bobby Firmino.
And if only they had marked him – Liverpool downed tools for large parts of the second half believing Chelsea wouldn’t lay a glove on them before Ngolo Kante’s little slalom and right-side-foot finish made it a nervy old finish.
Mason Mount might finally be in Frank Lampard’s bad books after missing that chance right at the end.
What’s going to be more fun to talk about now – City sticking eight past Watford or United being done 2-0 by West Ham?
Too right, we are off to the Athletics Stadium where West Ham not only started with what looked like a more exciting side – they turned into three points. Being the fickle so-and-so that I am, I’m going to suggest that United missed Paul Pogba – even though I also suggested the reason they beat Leicester last week was due to his absence.
At 1-0 down, Marcus Rashford went off injured which, to be fair, did remind me he was on the pitch – meaning that the only fit striker at Manchester United is now their manager. In other completely unrelated news, Romelu Lukaku scored the winner in the Milan derby. United started Ashley Young, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata and seemed to think that they could get away with that once again. It’s one thing winning a Premier League title when Darren Fletcher can pass it to Rooney, Ronaldo, Giggs or Scholes. It’s another thing entirely when Scott McTominay looks up and has to knock it to Fred or Andreas Perreira.
Jack Wilshere came off the bench to clock up his 250th Premier League appearance. Well done Jack, that’s 11 years dedication finally rewarded.
It’s good to see that managerial change at Watford is getting some kind of bounce. It took City approximately 52 seconds to get Norwich out of their system and if I was Pep, I’d be furious they only scored eight. City managed six different scorers at the Etihad, as if Quique Sanchez Flores’ beard wasn’t grey enough.
Ben Foster clearly hadn’t had enough to do that afternoon as he was then paraded out in front of the post-match cameras to do the press commitments. Surely one of the Watford strikers had been less busy? After all, Deulofeu only touched the ball 13 times and eight of those were, genuinely, kicking off again after City scored.
Tottenham skipper-for-the-day, Harry Kane, called his team out midweek for still making the kind of mistakes they were making four years ago when they were “young”. Kane did manage to score the kind of goal only a true goalscorer sporting a silly beard can get away with, but it was not enough for Spurs to improve their current away Premier League form.
James Maddison is finally proving he is as deadly on the pitch as he is on Twitter – where he recently took down Piers Morgan and the Sun. It was Maddison, until the 84th minute the player who has taken the most Premier League shots without a goal, who arrowed Leicester’s late winner home after a little more VAR controversy in the first half. Look, guys, he was offside. You can’t be a little bit pregnant. Personally, I think we should be questioning the linesman for not spotting it in the first place.
Did anyone actually think Arsenal would follow up a decent Europa League result (result, not performance) on Thursday night by easing past Aston Villa at home? If you did, you are a fool. Arsenal managed to get a win, somehow, probably something to do with Yo-Pierre spotting a flat-track and deciding to do some bullying with a few minutes to go.
Did anyone actually think Norwich would follow up their sensational win over City last week by easing past Burnley away from home? If you did, you are a fool. Burnley showed, again, how to overcome a team that likes to press a passing game by opting not to play a passing game in the slightest. As I read somewhere earlier today, Ashley Barnes would flick a grenade on if it was thrown at him.
Bournemouth have finally lifted their curse against Southampton, winning 3-1 against their local-ish rivals. That curse was passed on to anyone who felt obliged to watch Newcastle and Brighton play out the kind of 0-0 the late Saturday TV slot was designed for.
Wolves completely deny that their Europa League campaign is affecting their start to the Premier League season – they debunked that theory by nicking a draw against Palace at Selhurst Park meaning they are still looking for their first league win of the season.
Finally, some Everton fans have nose-dived so much into a pit of football depression that they are fondly remembering their relationship with Big Sam Allardyce. ‘It wasn’t that bad, we had some good times, didn’t we Sam?’ many a Toffee was slurring out loud whilst drowning their sorrows with a bottle of wine, alone.
Everton lost 2-0 at home to Sheffield United, and when the acceptance of an average start to the season has been based around ‘well, we are hard to beat at home’, then there’s not a lot to be cheery about in the blue half of Merseyside. The fans did get to cheer something though, Phil Jagielka coming on as sub for Sheffield United. It does get easier though – they’ve got City next.