VAR was the main talking point in yet another Premier League game as Tottenham scored a late goal to salvage a home draw against Watford. With Spurs desperately seeking an equaliser, Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster made a mess of an 86th-minute cross that allowed Dele Alli to control the ball with his shoulder before turning it into the net. VARreviewed the goal and decided it was correctly awarded by the onfield referee, however, due to a technical issue, the big screen inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium indicated that the decision was ‘no goal’. However, the goal did eventually stand. This came on the back of VAR somehow not giving a penalty for what seemed like an absolute stonewall foul as Jan Vertonghen’s brought down Gerard Deulofeu. In honour of the VAR-centric game at Spurs, we have decided to take a look back at some of VAR’s most controversial moments in football so far…
Sterling's tight offside call
Manchester City breezed past West Ham on the opening day of the season, however, Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t have it all their own way. It was the first time VAR ruled out a goal for the tightest of offside margins, with Raheem Sterling adjudged to be offside before squaring the ball to Gabriel Jesus. Many still don’t think the Englishman was off, but the goal was overturned.
Wolves have opening day win chalked off
Leander Dendoncker’s opening weekend winner for Wolves against Leicester was the first effort to be ruled out under the new handball laws. Willy Boly unintentionally handled the ball as it made its way through to Dendoncker, and after a lengthy delay, the goal was ruled out.
Rodri's controversial penalty call
Manchester City’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham in August was full of controversy. Early on in the encounter, City midfielder Rodri was involved in a tussle in the box with Spurs winger Erik Lamela, which appeared to be a clear penalty. Referee Michael Oliver waved away City’s protests for a spot-kick, with VAR backing Oliver’s call for not making a clear and obvious error.
Tottenham's saviour at the Etihad
Months on from their dramatic Champions League trip to Manchester, Tottenham had VAR to thank once again in stoppage time. Gabriel Jesus thought he won it late on, however, after lengthy delays, the goal was ruled out after officials spotted the ball striking Aymeric Laporte’s arm on the way through.
VAR bites Spurs back eight days later
Eight days after Tottenham rode their luck against the champions, they were again at the heart of a controversial VAR call. Mauricio Pochettino’s side fell to a shock home defeat against Newcastle but were left raging after both Mike Dean and VAR official Anthony Taylor refused to overrule a penalty claim involving Harry Kane. The England captain appeared to be dragged to the ground by Jamaal Lascelles, however, the call wasn’t a ‘clear and obvious error’.
Newcastle get away with one against Watford
Steve Bruce’s Newcastle were again on the right side of some VAR fortune after picking up their first home point of the season against Watford thanks to a first-half equaliser from Fabian Schar. The defender’s effort should have been ruled out despite VAR checking the goal, with Isaac Hayden handling the ball in the build-up to which was missed by VAR officials.
Tielemans avoids red against Bournemouth
Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans avoided an early shower against Bournemouth in August and was at the heart of a heated debate following the match. The Belgian appeared to go over the ball, crashing into Callum Wilson’s leg, however, the tackle went unpunished by both the referee and VAR. Tielemans went on to score shortly before half time to rub salt into the Cherries’ wound.
Villa have late Palace equaliser cruelly ruled out
Henri Lansbury sent the travelling Aston Villa fans into a frenzy when he thought he rescued Dean Smith’s side a point deep into injury time against Crystal Palace. However, referee Kevin Friend already blew the whistle before the ball ended up in the back of the net to wrongly book Jack Grealish for a dive. As a result of Friend’s quick call, VAR couldn’t overrule the controversial decision.
Bournemouth and Villa's similar calls lead to different results
Bournemouth and Aston Villa has different outcomes in similar circumstances at the end of September which led tom more controversy surrounding VAR. Joshua King’s equaliser against West Ham was initially ruled out for offside before being overturned, however, minutes later up in the Midlands, Villa had a similar effort disallowed with players in offside positions penalised.
Liverpool's late penalty
Liverpool were close to dropping their first points of the season against Leicester last weekend before Sadio Mane won a controversial late penalty which James Milner coolly converted. Marc Albrighton was the man who fouled the Reds star, who chose to go to ground at Anfield which then caused a major debate. The call went to VAR, who eventually backed Chris Kavanagh’s decision to award the spot-kick.
Wood's goal controversially ruled out
With Leicester City leading 2-1 against Burnley, the Clarets thought they had scored an equaliser thanks to a strike from Chris Wood eight minutes from time. However, his ‘goal’ was controversially ruled out by the VAR, which ruled the New Zealand international had tripped Jonny Evans before the ball entered the net.