Gameweek 13 of the Premier League was as exciting and controversial as usual, there is a lot to unpack especially from the Southampton- Arsenal game but before we get there was a midweek Gameweek so get set for a bumper edition of this week’s VAR corner.
The incident: Douglaz Luiz headbutts Aleksandr Mitrovic and is sent off
This decision was fairly straightforward, and the referee made the correct decision because the intent was there but I do not believe there was enough force to merit Mitrovic’s actions. He fell down pretty theatrically and if he had stood his ground it would not have been a red card. This is a problematic issue and shows why the need for consistency is so important.
The incident: Joe Gomez barges into Jarrod Bowen’s back, and a penalty is given
Another good decision by the referees here even though they could have given it without VAR. This decision for me highlighted the importance of angles and body positions. The way Gomez clatters into Bowen from the back makes the decision easy but if it had been from the side or the front it would have been more difficult for the referee to judge and Gomez might have escaped punishment.
The incident: The ball strikes Matty Cash’s arm in the box. A penalty is given.
Following the Gabriel incident in the Arsenal – Liverpool game, it is a surprise this penalty was given. Cash was just as close as Gabriel to the ball when it hits his arm but it does not save him. It was clearly a handball as per law 12 his arm was forming a bigger unnatural barrier to paraphrase the law but the distance suggested some nuance should have been applied. The inconsistencies in the handball rules are becoming problematic. There needs to be a clear distance where the offending player cannot be deemed culpable or the referees risk losing the respect of fans, players, and other stakeholders.
The incident: Hugo Lloris and Callum Wilson clash, the keeper is knocked to the ground, and Wilson scores whilst he is off his line.
After a lengthy VAR decision, the goal is given, it was interesting to see this compared to the Michail Antonio incident when Nottingham Forest hosted West Ham earlier in the season. The key difference is Wilson does not raise his arms to push the Frenchman. Lloris’ momentum takes him into Wilson who just stands his ground. It would have been a very harsh foul to give considering Wilson did little more than go toward the ball.
The incident: Duje Ćaleta-Car grapples Gabriel Jesus in the box, no foul is given
This was a very poor decision and after the penalty, in the Chelsea – Manchester United game you would expect this to be given but not only was the penalty not given but the Southampton defender was allowed to do it again. It was horrible officiating and the inconsistency from game to game is a major problem.
The incident: Lyanco tries to headbutt Eddie Nketiah and grabs his neck.
The aggression showed by Lycano is worthy of a red card and it is very surprising he stayed on the pitch. If not for the red card the act of grabbing another player’s neck is very aggressive and considering what happened to Douglas Luiz earlier it would warrant a red card.