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Unai Emery said: "This is a big team, with great players. We think we need change, little things, a few players. I want to speak individually with all the players face to face."
Premier League: Manager Unai Emery issues warning for underperforming stars, promises 'new future' for Arsenal
Unai Emery said: "This is a big team, with great players. We think we need change, little things, a few players. I want to speak individually with all the players face to face."
Stressing that they needed one of the top four batsmen to stay at the crease till the end, skipper Ajinkya Rahane said with so many wickets in hand, Rajasthan Royals should have won against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Eliminator here.
RR Needed Someone to Bat Through Chase: Ajinkya Rahane
Stressing that they needed one of the top four batsmen to stay at the crease till the end, skipper Ajinkya Rahane said with so many wickets in hand, Rajasthan Royals should have won against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Eliminator here.
The Indian Premier League match between Chennai and Hyderabad on Tuesday set a new global benchmark with 8.26 million concurrent viewers logging onto Hotstar, the chief executive of the video streaming platform told Reuters.
IPL Sets New Benchmark with Hotstar Streaming Record in CSK-SRH Tie
The Indian Premier League match between Chennai and Hyderabad on Tuesday set a new global benchmark with 8.26 million concurrent viewers logging onto Hotstar, the chief executive of the video streaming platform told Reuters.
The Indian Premier League match between Chennai and Hyderabad on Tuesday set a new global benchmark with 8.26 million concurrent viewers logging onto Hotstar
Hotstar establishes a new streaming record with IPL 2018 getting 8.26 mn concurrent viewers
The Indian Premier League match between Chennai and Hyderabad on Tuesday set a new global benchmark with 8.26 million concurrent viewers logging onto Hotstar
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017 file photo, Liverpool fans at the Kop sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, Liverpool, England. The famous tune will be sung Saturday by 16,000-plus Liverpool fans at Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017 file photo, Liverpool fans at the Kop sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, Liverpool, England. The famous tune will be sung Saturday by 16,000-plus Liverpool fans at Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017 file photo, Liverpool fans at the Kop sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, Liverpool, England. The famous tune will be sung Saturday by 16,000-plus Liverpool fans at Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)
Rondon scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, almost a quarter of the 104 produced by the Baggies.
Rondon wanted by Atleti, Inter Milan, and West Ham
Rondon scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, almost a quarter of the 104 produced by the Baggies.
Rondon scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, almost a quarter of the 104 produced by the Baggies.
Rondon wanted by Atleti, Inter Milan, and West Ham
Rondon scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, almost a quarter of the 104 produced by the Baggies.
The latest gossip from around the Premier League.
Transfer Rumors: Seri to Arsenal; Vagnoman to Chelsea
The latest gossip from around the Premier League.
The latest gossip from around the Premier League.
Transfer Rumors: Seri to Arsenal; Vagnoman to Chelsea
The latest gossip from around the Premier League.
Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond
Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Man City near £60m Mahrez deal
Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond
Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea vs Liverpool - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - May 6, 2018 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
Premier League - Chelsea vs Liverpool
Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea vs Liverpool - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - May 6, 2018 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
Unai Emery has promised that his Arsenal team will be fearless in their pursuit of restoring the club to the top of English football, despite chief executive Ivan Gazidis warning fans to be patient. Arsenal have handed Emery a three-year contract to succeed Arsene Wenger and the Spaniard will have to work with a strict £50 million transfer budget. Emery has admitted there is unlikely to be an overhaul of the squad which finished 37 points and five places behind Premier League champions Manchester City, but he is confident he can turn them into trophy hunters again. Asked whether Arsenal could catch City next season, Emery said: “That is our objective. Arsenal is a club with fantastic personality and identity, and I believe and the club has shown me that they believe. It is about showing that personality and showing the stature of this football club. “What we want to do is not fear any team, neither here in the Premier League nor in Europe, and our objective is to be among the best and to beat the best. “The target is to be a candidate and to challenge for the title. It is important for the club after two years outside of the Champions League to work this way. We need to be in the best club in the Premier League and in the world.” Gazidis is confident he has the right man to reunite the club and bring success but is aware progress may be slow. “I think we need to understand that success isn’t instant,” said Gazidis. “So, this is going to be a process. As Unai said, day after day you try to improve a little bit, you try to move forward. That’s what we have to do. “We have to work hard, we have to work well together and take this step by step. There are so many stories in sport of people who achieve things that were not believed possible at the beginning of the journey, because they focused on that process of just getting a little better every day. “It’s not going to be instant. So, this kind of significant change in a club doesn’t deliver instant success, nobody is naive enough to think that. But I do think the new way of working, the new energy, stimulates the environment and I think it’s going to be very positive. I could not possibly feel better about this appointment.” Emery with Ivan Gazidis at the Emirates Credit: Getty images Handed the title of head coach, rather than manager, Emery will have to work closely with head of recruitment Sven Mislintat over transfers, but he is not expecting to make big changes to the squad. “We think we need change, very little, a little bit with the players,” said Emery. “I know all the players, I think they are very important and I want to be with them. But I want to speak to them individually and to speak with them face to face. “I think it is about having belief in the players. We will have time to speak about where we need to improve, we have already touched on that a little bit. We do need to go into more detail but we have got that strong nucleus, if you like. “I’m the type of coach who has always worked really hard, not because I do it better than anyone else but because that is what I believe the most important thing is. “I’m very demanding of myself, I’m passionate and I really want to transmit that to the people around me – that we can and must improve in the future.” Unai Emery: what style can Arsenal expect from their new manager? Emery wasted no time in conveying his message within the club, as he addressed his new staff for the first time over a conference call. Ahead of his first press conference, Emery, together with Gazidis, told members of staff that he wanted to create a new history and a great future for Arsenal. Expanding on that point in front of the media, Emery said: “I think the most important thing is to connect with people and have those personal relationships. Heart to heart, head to head. The heart transmits emotion, the head transmits the intelligence. “So, it’s really important to have that connection both on a personal and collective level. What you are looking for is a shared experience. I’m a coach that has come from the second division, gone through to the first division, coached at Paris Saint-Germain and now at Arsenal. And, really, the essence of it all is people.”
Unai Emery says he will get 'fearless' Arsenal back on top
Unai Emery has promised that his Arsenal team will be fearless in their pursuit of restoring the club to the top of English football, despite chief executive Ivan Gazidis warning fans to be patient. Arsenal have handed Emery a three-year contract to succeed Arsene Wenger and the Spaniard will have to work with a strict £50 million transfer budget. Emery has admitted there is unlikely to be an overhaul of the squad which finished 37 points and five places behind Premier League champions Manchester City, but he is confident he can turn them into trophy hunters again. Asked whether Arsenal could catch City next season, Emery said: “That is our objective. Arsenal is a club with fantastic personality and identity, and I believe and the club has shown me that they believe. It is about showing that personality and showing the stature of this football club. “What we want to do is not fear any team, neither here in the Premier League nor in Europe, and our objective is to be among the best and to beat the best. “The target is to be a candidate and to challenge for the title. It is important for the club after two years outside of the Champions League to work this way. We need to be in the best club in the Premier League and in the world.” Gazidis is confident he has the right man to reunite the club and bring success but is aware progress may be slow. “I think we need to understand that success isn’t instant,” said Gazidis. “So, this is going to be a process. As Unai said, day after day you try to improve a little bit, you try to move forward. That’s what we have to do. “We have to work hard, we have to work well together and take this step by step. There are so many stories in sport of people who achieve things that were not believed possible at the beginning of the journey, because they focused on that process of just getting a little better every day. “It’s not going to be instant. So, this kind of significant change in a club doesn’t deliver instant success, nobody is naive enough to think that. But I do think the new way of working, the new energy, stimulates the environment and I think it’s going to be very positive. I could not possibly feel better about this appointment.” Emery with Ivan Gazidis at the Emirates Credit: Getty images Handed the title of head coach, rather than manager, Emery will have to work closely with head of recruitment Sven Mislintat over transfers, but he is not expecting to make big changes to the squad. “We think we need change, very little, a little bit with the players,” said Emery. “I know all the players, I think they are very important and I want to be with them. But I want to speak to them individually and to speak with them face to face. “I think it is about having belief in the players. We will have time to speak about where we need to improve, we have already touched on that a little bit. We do need to go into more detail but we have got that strong nucleus, if you like. “I’m the type of coach who has always worked really hard, not because I do it better than anyone else but because that is what I believe the most important thing is. “I’m very demanding of myself, I’m passionate and I really want to transmit that to the people around me – that we can and must improve in the future.” Unai Emery: what style can Arsenal expect from their new manager? Emery wasted no time in conveying his message within the club, as he addressed his new staff for the first time over a conference call. Ahead of his first press conference, Emery, together with Gazidis, told members of staff that he wanted to create a new history and a great future for Arsenal. Expanding on that point in front of the media, Emery said: “I think the most important thing is to connect with people and have those personal relationships. Heart to heart, head to head. The heart transmits emotion, the head transmits the intelligence. “So, it’s really important to have that connection both on a personal and collective level. What you are looking for is a shared experience. I’m a coach that has come from the second division, gone through to the first division, coached at Paris Saint-Germain and now at Arsenal. And, really, the essence of it all is people.”
Unai Emery has promised that his Arsenal team will be fearless in their pursuit of restoring the club to the top of English football, despite chief executive Ivan Gazidis warning fans to be patient. Arsenal have handed Emery a three-year contract to succeed Arsene Wenger and the Spaniard will have to work with a strict £50 million transfer budget. Emery has admitted there is unlikely to be an overhaul of the squad which finished 37 points and five places behind Premier League champions Manchester City, but he is confident he can turn them into trophy hunters again. Asked whether Arsenal could catch City next season, Emery said: “That is our objective. Arsenal is a club with fantastic personality and identity, and I believe and the club has shown me that they believe. It is about showing that personality and showing the stature of this football club. “What we want to do is not fear any team, neither here in the Premier League nor in Europe, and our objective is to be among the best and to beat the best. “The target is to be a candidate and to challenge for the title. It is important for the club after two years outside of the Champions League to work this way. We need to be in the best club in the Premier League and in the world.” Gazidis is confident he has the right man to reunite the club and bring success but is aware progress may be slow. “I think we need to understand that success isn’t instant,” said Gazidis. “So, this is going to be a process. As Unai said, day after day you try to improve a little bit, you try to move forward. That’s what we have to do. “We have to work hard, we have to work well together and take this step by step. There are so many stories in sport of people who achieve things that were not believed possible at the beginning of the journey, because they focused on that process of just getting a little better every day. “It’s not going to be instant. So, this kind of significant change in a club doesn’t deliver instant success, nobody is naive enough to think that. But I do think the new way of working, the new energy, stimulates the environment and I think it’s going to be very positive. I could not possibly feel better about this appointment.” Emery with Ivan Gazidis at the Emirates Credit: Getty images Handed the title of head coach, rather than manager, Emery will have to work closely with head of recruitment Sven Mislintat over transfers, but he is not expecting to make big changes to the squad. “We think we need change, very little, a little bit with the players,” said Emery. “I know all the players, I think they are very important and I want to be with them. But I want to speak to them individually and to speak with them face to face. “I think it is about having belief in the players. We will have time to speak about where we need to improve, we have already touched on that a little bit. We do need to go into more detail but we have got that strong nucleus, if you like. “I’m the type of coach who has always worked really hard, not because I do it better than anyone else but because that is what I believe the most important thing is. “I’m very demanding of myself, I’m passionate and I really want to transmit that to the people around me – that we can and must improve in the future.” Unai Emery: what style can Arsenal expect from their new manager? Emery wasted no time in conveying his message within the club, as he addressed his new staff for the first time over a conference call. Ahead of his first press conference, Emery, together with Gazidis, told members of staff that he wanted to create a new history and a great future for Arsenal. Expanding on that point in front of the media, Emery said: “I think the most important thing is to connect with people and have those personal relationships. Heart to heart, head to head. The heart transmits emotion, the head transmits the intelligence. “So, it’s really important to have that connection both on a personal and collective level. What you are looking for is a shared experience. I’m a coach that has come from the second division, gone through to the first division, coached at Paris Saint-Germain and now at Arsenal. And, really, the essence of it all is people.”
Unai Emery says he will get 'fearless' Arsenal back on top
Unai Emery has promised that his Arsenal team will be fearless in their pursuit of restoring the club to the top of English football, despite chief executive Ivan Gazidis warning fans to be patient. Arsenal have handed Emery a three-year contract to succeed Arsene Wenger and the Spaniard will have to work with a strict £50 million transfer budget. Emery has admitted there is unlikely to be an overhaul of the squad which finished 37 points and five places behind Premier League champions Manchester City, but he is confident he can turn them into trophy hunters again. Asked whether Arsenal could catch City next season, Emery said: “That is our objective. Arsenal is a club with fantastic personality and identity, and I believe and the club has shown me that they believe. It is about showing that personality and showing the stature of this football club. “What we want to do is not fear any team, neither here in the Premier League nor in Europe, and our objective is to be among the best and to beat the best. “The target is to be a candidate and to challenge for the title. It is important for the club after two years outside of the Champions League to work this way. We need to be in the best club in the Premier League and in the world.” Gazidis is confident he has the right man to reunite the club and bring success but is aware progress may be slow. “I think we need to understand that success isn’t instant,” said Gazidis. “So, this is going to be a process. As Unai said, day after day you try to improve a little bit, you try to move forward. That’s what we have to do. “We have to work hard, we have to work well together and take this step by step. There are so many stories in sport of people who achieve things that were not believed possible at the beginning of the journey, because they focused on that process of just getting a little better every day. “It’s not going to be instant. So, this kind of significant change in a club doesn’t deliver instant success, nobody is naive enough to think that. But I do think the new way of working, the new energy, stimulates the environment and I think it’s going to be very positive. I could not possibly feel better about this appointment.” Emery with Ivan Gazidis at the Emirates Credit: Getty images Handed the title of head coach, rather than manager, Emery will have to work closely with head of recruitment Sven Mislintat over transfers, but he is not expecting to make big changes to the squad. “We think we need change, very little, a little bit with the players,” said Emery. “I know all the players, I think they are very important and I want to be with them. But I want to speak to them individually and to speak with them face to face. “I think it is about having belief in the players. We will have time to speak about where we need to improve, we have already touched on that a little bit. We do need to go into more detail but we have got that strong nucleus, if you like. “I’m the type of coach who has always worked really hard, not because I do it better than anyone else but because that is what I believe the most important thing is. “I’m very demanding of myself, I’m passionate and I really want to transmit that to the people around me – that we can and must improve in the future.” Unai Emery: what style can Arsenal expect from their new manager? Emery wasted no time in conveying his message within the club, as he addressed his new staff for the first time over a conference call. Ahead of his first press conference, Emery, together with Gazidis, told members of staff that he wanted to create a new history and a great future for Arsenal. Expanding on that point in front of the media, Emery said: “I think the most important thing is to connect with people and have those personal relationships. Heart to heart, head to head. The heart transmits emotion, the head transmits the intelligence. “So, it’s really important to have that connection both on a personal and collective level. What you are looking for is a shared experience. I’m a coach that has come from the second division, gone through to the first division, coached at Paris Saint-Germain and now at Arsenal. And, really, the essence of it all is people.”
Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager, has insisted he has not thought about his future beyond Saturday’s Championship play-off final, despite speculation that a string of key figures will leave the club if they cannot seal promotion to the Premier League. Jokanovic, who has turned Fulham into one of the Championship’s most attractive sides, has been linked with a move and is likely to be in demand this summer. Speaking ahead of the match against Aston Villa at Wembley, Jokanovic refused to discuss either his future or the prospect of key players leaving. Tom Cairney, Fulham’s captain, warned this month that the club needed to be in the Premier League next season if they wanted to keep the team together. Cairney has been linked with a move to West Ham United, while Ryan Sessegnon and Ryan Fredericks have also been targeted by top-flight clubs. Jokanovic, who has one year remaining on his deal, said: “I have a contract and that’s it. I am not thinking about the future. This game is so huge that I do not know what I am going to do on Sunday morning. “To be honest, I do not care. I am not thinking about this. I am only thinking about the job ahead of us. We want to fight to bring Fulham to the place we believe they belong.” The 49-year-old added that he believed Fulham could “dominate” Steve Bruce’s Villa with their high-intensity, possession-based style of football. Tom Cairney wants to be playing in the Premier League Credit: pa Fulham were defeated 2-1 at Villa Park in October, but won 2-0 when the sides met again in February. Jokanovic said his players would attempt to target Villa’s John Terry, the 37-year-old centre-back who played alongside Jokanovic at Chelsea from 2000 to 2002. “We are going to try to put against him some fast and some stronger players,” said Jokanovic. “I hope he will make some mistakes. This is the kind of impact I expect from his side. All of us can make mistakes. I expect some mistakes from his side and that’s it.” In Terry and James Chester, his defensive partner, Villa boast an experienced back-line, as well as former Premier League players Mile Jedinak, Glenn Whelan, Robert Snodgrass and Alan Hutton. Jokanovic, however, believes his younger side, who enjoyed a 23-game unbeaten run during the regular season, will have the required energy to overcome the more wily Villa, who finished fourth in the Championship, one place behind Fulham. “When you talk about experience, you are talking about the past,” Jokanovic said. “Terry is a fantastic player, Chester is a fantastic player. They have experience playing in this stadium. But probably they cannot be in their best level right now. “We are the youngest team, the team with more energy. We believe in our style. We believe we can dominate the situation. Experience in life is important but it is not everything.”
Slavisa Jokanovic unfazed by talk of Fulham players leaving if they do not get promoted
Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager, has insisted he has not thought about his future beyond Saturday’s Championship play-off final, despite speculation that a string of key figures will leave the club if they cannot seal promotion to the Premier League. Jokanovic, who has turned Fulham into one of the Championship’s most attractive sides, has been linked with a move and is likely to be in demand this summer. Speaking ahead of the match against Aston Villa at Wembley, Jokanovic refused to discuss either his future or the prospect of key players leaving. Tom Cairney, Fulham’s captain, warned this month that the club needed to be in the Premier League next season if they wanted to keep the team together. Cairney has been linked with a move to West Ham United, while Ryan Sessegnon and Ryan Fredericks have also been targeted by top-flight clubs. Jokanovic, who has one year remaining on his deal, said: “I have a contract and that’s it. I am not thinking about the future. This game is so huge that I do not know what I am going to do on Sunday morning. “To be honest, I do not care. I am not thinking about this. I am only thinking about the job ahead of us. We want to fight to bring Fulham to the place we believe they belong.” The 49-year-old added that he believed Fulham could “dominate” Steve Bruce’s Villa with their high-intensity, possession-based style of football. Tom Cairney wants to be playing in the Premier League Credit: pa Fulham were defeated 2-1 at Villa Park in October, but won 2-0 when the sides met again in February. Jokanovic said his players would attempt to target Villa’s John Terry, the 37-year-old centre-back who played alongside Jokanovic at Chelsea from 2000 to 2002. “We are going to try to put against him some fast and some stronger players,” said Jokanovic. “I hope he will make some mistakes. This is the kind of impact I expect from his side. All of us can make mistakes. I expect some mistakes from his side and that’s it.” In Terry and James Chester, his defensive partner, Villa boast an experienced back-line, as well as former Premier League players Mile Jedinak, Glenn Whelan, Robert Snodgrass and Alan Hutton. Jokanovic, however, believes his younger side, who enjoyed a 23-game unbeaten run during the regular season, will have the required energy to overcome the more wily Villa, who finished fourth in the Championship, one place behind Fulham. “When you talk about experience, you are talking about the past,” Jokanovic said. “Terry is a fantastic player, Chester is a fantastic player. They have experience playing in this stadium. But probably they cannot be in their best level right now. “We are the youngest team, the team with more energy. We believe in our style. We believe we can dominate the situation. Experience in life is important but it is not everything.”
Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager, has insisted he has not thought about his future beyond Saturday’s Championship play-off final, despite speculation that a string of key figures will leave the club if they cannot seal promotion to the Premier League. Jokanovic, who has turned Fulham into one of the Championship’s most attractive sides, has been linked with a move and is likely to be in demand this summer. Speaking ahead of the match against Aston Villa at Wembley, Jokanovic refused to discuss either his future or the prospect of key players leaving. Tom Cairney, Fulham’s captain, warned this month that the club needed to be in the Premier League next season if they wanted to keep the team together. Cairney has been linked with a move to West Ham United, while Ryan Sessegnon and Ryan Fredericks have also been targeted by top-flight clubs. Jokanovic, who has one year remaining on his deal, said: “I have a contract and that’s it. I am not thinking about the future. This game is so huge that I do not know what I am going to do on Sunday morning. “To be honest, I do not care. I am not thinking about this. I am only thinking about the job ahead of us. We want to fight to bring Fulham to the place we believe they belong.” The 49-year-old added that he believed Fulham could “dominate” Steve Bruce’s Villa with their high-intensity, possession-based style of football. Tom Cairney wants to be playing in the Premier League Credit: pa Fulham were defeated 2-1 at Villa Park in October, but won 2-0 when the sides met again in February. Jokanovic said his players would attempt to target Villa’s John Terry, the 37-year-old centre-back who played alongside Jokanovic at Chelsea from 2000 to 2002. “We are going to try to put against him some fast and some stronger players,” said Jokanovic. “I hope he will make some mistakes. This is the kind of impact I expect from his side. All of us can make mistakes. I expect some mistakes from his side and that’s it.” In Terry and James Chester, his defensive partner, Villa boast an experienced back-line, as well as former Premier League players Mile Jedinak, Glenn Whelan, Robert Snodgrass and Alan Hutton. Jokanovic, however, believes his younger side, who enjoyed a 23-game unbeaten run during the regular season, will have the required energy to overcome the more wily Villa, who finished fourth in the Championship, one place behind Fulham. “When you talk about experience, you are talking about the past,” Jokanovic said. “Terry is a fantastic player, Chester is a fantastic player. They have experience playing in this stadium. But probably they cannot be in their best level right now. “We are the youngest team, the team with more energy. We believe in our style. We believe we can dominate the situation. Experience in life is important but it is not everything.”
Slavisa Jokanovic unfazed by talk of Fulham players leaving if they do not get promoted
Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager, has insisted he has not thought about his future beyond Saturday’s Championship play-off final, despite speculation that a string of key figures will leave the club if they cannot seal promotion to the Premier League. Jokanovic, who has turned Fulham into one of the Championship’s most attractive sides, has been linked with a move and is likely to be in demand this summer. Speaking ahead of the match against Aston Villa at Wembley, Jokanovic refused to discuss either his future or the prospect of key players leaving. Tom Cairney, Fulham’s captain, warned this month that the club needed to be in the Premier League next season if they wanted to keep the team together. Cairney has been linked with a move to West Ham United, while Ryan Sessegnon and Ryan Fredericks have also been targeted by top-flight clubs. Jokanovic, who has one year remaining on his deal, said: “I have a contract and that’s it. I am not thinking about the future. This game is so huge that I do not know what I am going to do on Sunday morning. “To be honest, I do not care. I am not thinking about this. I am only thinking about the job ahead of us. We want to fight to bring Fulham to the place we believe they belong.” The 49-year-old added that he believed Fulham could “dominate” Steve Bruce’s Villa with their high-intensity, possession-based style of football. Tom Cairney wants to be playing in the Premier League Credit: pa Fulham were defeated 2-1 at Villa Park in October, but won 2-0 when the sides met again in February. Jokanovic said his players would attempt to target Villa’s John Terry, the 37-year-old centre-back who played alongside Jokanovic at Chelsea from 2000 to 2002. “We are going to try to put against him some fast and some stronger players,” said Jokanovic. “I hope he will make some mistakes. This is the kind of impact I expect from his side. All of us can make mistakes. I expect some mistakes from his side and that’s it.” In Terry and James Chester, his defensive partner, Villa boast an experienced back-line, as well as former Premier League players Mile Jedinak, Glenn Whelan, Robert Snodgrass and Alan Hutton. Jokanovic, however, believes his younger side, who enjoyed a 23-game unbeaten run during the regular season, will have the required energy to overcome the more wily Villa, who finished fourth in the Championship, one place behind Fulham. “When you talk about experience, you are talking about the past,” Jokanovic said. “Terry is a fantastic player, Chester is a fantastic player. They have experience playing in this stadium. But probably they cannot be in their best level right now. “We are the youngest team, the team with more energy. We believe in our style. We believe we can dominate the situation. Experience in life is important but it is not everything.”
Cricketer Andre Russell plays a shot during an Indian Premier League game in West Bengal (AFP Photo/Dibyangshu SARKAR)
Swing
Cricketer Andre Russell plays a shot during an Indian Premier League game in West Bengal (AFP Photo/Dibyangshu SARKAR)
Liverpool and Real Madrid put on a Premier League versus La Liga showdown in Ukraine this weekend.
Three key battles for Champions League Final
Liverpool and Real Madrid put on a Premier League versus La Liga showdown in Ukraine this weekend.
Liverpool and Real Madrid put on a Premier League versus La Liga showdown in Ukraine this weekend.
Three key battles for Champions League Final
Liverpool and Real Madrid put on a Premier League versus La Liga showdown in Ukraine this weekend.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Dinesh Karthik said they were under pressure in the Eliminator against Rajasthan Royals but eventually came up trumps to win by 25 runs and make Qualifier 2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Wednesday.
IPL 2018: Bowlers, Fielders Picked Up Their Game, Says Karthik
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Dinesh Karthik said they were under pressure in the Eliminator against Rajasthan Royals but eventually came up trumps to win by 25 runs and make Qualifier 2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Wednesday.
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis welcomed Unai Emery as his club's manager and claimed the Gunners' job is the most attractive in world football.
Premier League: Arsenal manager's job most attractive in football, says CEO Ivan Gazidis
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis welcomed Unai Emery as his club's manager and claimed the Gunners' job is the most attractive in world football.
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Yaya Toure open to moving to Man Utd where he could 'teach Paul Pogba some things'
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Yaya Toure open to moving to Man Utd where he could 'teach Paul Pogba some things'
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Yaya Toure open to moving to Man Utd where he could 'teach Paul Pogba some things'
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Kolkata Knight Riders snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as they came out on top against Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Eliminator by 25 runs at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.
IPL 2018: Kolkata Register Convincing Win Over Rajasthan, To Meet Hyderabad for a Place in Final
Kolkata Knight Riders snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as they came out on top against Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Eliminator by 25 runs at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Goal fait le tour des dernières infos transferts et rumeurs de mercato en Ligue 1, Serie A, Premier League, Liga et Bundesliga.
Infos mercato et rumeurs de transfert en direct : Lucas Perez de retour à Arsenal ?
Goal fait le tour des dernières infos transferts et rumeurs de mercato en Ligue 1, Serie A, Premier League, Liga et Bundesliga.
<p>Arsenal announces former Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery as their new boss, handing him the daunting task of revitalising a club that has slipped well behind their Premier League rivals. Emery took the opportunity to thank English club&#39;s former coach Arsene Wenger.</p>
Arsenal appoint former PSG coach Unai Emery as Wenger successor

Arsenal announces former Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery as their new boss, handing him the daunting task of revitalising a club that has slipped well behind their Premier League rivals. Emery took the opportunity to thank English club's former coach Arsene Wenger.

<p>Arsenal announces former Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery as their new boss, handing him the daunting task of revitalising a club that has slipped well behind their Premier League rivals. Emery took the opportunity to thank English club&#39;s former coach Arsene Wenger.</p>
Arsenal appoint former PSG coach Unai Emery as Wenger successor

Arsenal announces former Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery as their new boss, handing him the daunting task of revitalising a club that has slipped well behind their Premier League rivals. Emery took the opportunity to thank English club's former coach Arsene Wenger.

<p>Arsenal announces former Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery as their new boss, handing him the daunting task of revitalising a club that has slipped well behind their Premier League rivals. Emery took the opportunity to thank English club&#39;s former coach Arsene Wenger.</p>
Arsenal appoint former PSG coach Unai Emery as Wenger successor

Arsenal announces former Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery as their new boss, handing him the daunting task of revitalising a club that has slipped well behind their Premier League rivals. Emery took the opportunity to thank English club's former coach Arsene Wenger.

Manuel Pellegrini was confirmed as Hammers boss on Tuesday and immediately targeted &quot;four or five&quot; new signings.
Premier League: West Ham United promise new manager Manuel Pellegrini 'major funds' to rebuild side
Manuel Pellegrini was confirmed as Hammers boss on Tuesday and immediately targeted "four or five" new signings.
The Porcupine Warriors claimed full points on Wednesday as the league leaders suffered a setback in Berekum
Matchday 13 wrap: Kotoko win as Medeama fall on Ghana Premier League return
The Porcupine Warriors claimed full points on Wednesday as the league leaders suffered a setback in Berekum
Everton’s new director of football Marcel Brands has vowed to appoint a ‘modern’ manager as the club closes in on Marco Silva. Setting out his vision for Goodison Park, Brands says confirming the replacement to Sam Allardyce is his priority, and he wants a manager who ‘wants to work with young players’. “The priority in the first month is the first team and to be ready for the start of the next Premier League season,” said Brands. “The first thing is a new manager. I think it is important that he wants to work in the new philosophy, the new strategy of how we want to work with a director of football. I think it is important that he creates the environment for the long-term, and I think it is important that he is a modern coach. If you think about what Everton’s plans are, I think a modern coach will fit into that profile. “Then his philosophy and how he wants to play is important. I think it has to be a coach who wants to work with young players.” Premier League club-by-club review Brands will be holding talks with Ademola Lookman&#39;s representatives in an effort to convince the exciting forward his future is at Goodison Park rather than RB Leipzig, where he enjoyed a successful loan period. “I have watched several Everton games and I have looked at the players. I also saw some who were on loan to other clubs but if we are going to take decisions about players it is important the manager is involved because he is going to work with them every day,” said Brands. “I will take care of the long-term strategy but the first job now is to find a manager as soon as possible and straight away go to work with the squad.”
New Everton chief vows to appoint 'modern' manager as club closes in on Marco Silva
Everton’s new director of football Marcel Brands has vowed to appoint a ‘modern’ manager as the club closes in on Marco Silva. Setting out his vision for Goodison Park, Brands says confirming the replacement to Sam Allardyce is his priority, and he wants a manager who ‘wants to work with young players’. “The priority in the first month is the first team and to be ready for the start of the next Premier League season,” said Brands. “The first thing is a new manager. I think it is important that he wants to work in the new philosophy, the new strategy of how we want to work with a director of football. I think it is important that he creates the environment for the long-term, and I think it is important that he is a modern coach. If you think about what Everton’s plans are, I think a modern coach will fit into that profile. “Then his philosophy and how he wants to play is important. I think it has to be a coach who wants to work with young players.” Premier League club-by-club review Brands will be holding talks with Ademola Lookman's representatives in an effort to convince the exciting forward his future is at Goodison Park rather than RB Leipzig, where he enjoyed a successful loan period. “I have watched several Everton games and I have looked at the players. I also saw some who were on loan to other clubs but if we are going to take decisions about players it is important the manager is involved because he is going to work with them every day,” said Brands. “I will take care of the long-term strategy but the first job now is to find a manager as soon as possible and straight away go to work with the squad.”
VIDEO PREMIER LEAGUE - Unai Emery, nommé à la tête d?Arsenal, a été présenté ce mercredi à la presse. L&#39;ancien entraineur du Paris-SG a partagé son bonheur de succéder à Arsène Wenger.
Foot - ANG - Arsenal : Emery «Ce challenge est un rêve»
VIDEO PREMIER LEAGUE - Unai Emery, nommé à la tête d?Arsenal, a été présenté ce mercredi à la presse. L'ancien entraineur du Paris-SG a partagé son bonheur de succéder à Arsène Wenger.
VIDEO PREMIER LEAGUE - Unai Emery, nommé à la tête d?Arsenal, a été présenté ce mercredi à la presse. L&#39;ancien entraineur du Paris-SG a partagé son bonheur de succéder à Arsène Wenger.
Foot - ANG - Arsenal : Emery «Ce challenge est un rêve»
VIDEO PREMIER LEAGUE - Unai Emery, nommé à la tête d?Arsenal, a été présenté ce mercredi à la presse. L'ancien entraineur du Paris-SG a partagé son bonheur de succéder à Arsène Wenger.
VIDEO PREMIER LEAGUE - Unai Emery, nommé à la tête d?Arsenal, a été présenté ce mercredi à la presse. L'ancien entraineur du Paris-SG a partagé son bonheur de succéder à Arsène Wenger.
Foot - ANG - Arsenal : Emery «Ce challenge est un rêve»
VIDEO PREMIER LEAGUE - Unai Emery, nommé à la tête d?Arsenal, a été présenté ce mercredi à la presse. L'ancien entraineur du Paris-SG a partagé son bonheur de succéder à Arsène Wenger.
VIDEO PREMIER LEAGUE - Unai Emery, nommé à la tête d?Arsenal, a été présenté ce mercredi à la presse. L&#39;ancien entraineur du Paris-SG a partagé son bonheur de succéder à Arsène Wenger.
Foot - ANG - Arsenal : Emery «Ce challenge est un rêve»
VIDEO PREMIER LEAGUE - Unai Emery, nommé à la tête d?Arsenal, a été présenté ce mercredi à la presse. L'ancien entraineur du Paris-SG a partagé son bonheur de succéder à Arsène Wenger.
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are all set to play the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata which has been the fortress for KKR Captain Dinesh Karthik and team. This is the last chance for both the sides to get a step closer to the finale. The Knights comparatively look strong on-paper while the Royals have been extremely lucky as far as their entry into the playoffs is concerned. While the losing team will be ousted from the tournament, the winner will later face the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on May 25 in the qualifier 2.
IPL 2018 Eliminator: A do-or-die game for KKR and RR
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are all set to play the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata which has been the fortress for KKR Captain Dinesh Karthik and team. This is the last chance for both the sides to get a step closer to the finale. The Knights comparatively look strong on-paper while the Royals have been extremely lucky as far as their entry into the playoffs is concerned. While the losing team will be ousted from the tournament, the winner will later face the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on May 25 in the qualifier 2.
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are all set to play the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata which has been the fortress for KKR Captain Dinesh Karthik and team. This is the last chance for both the sides to get a step closer to the finale. The Knights comparatively look strong on-paper while the Royals have been extremely lucky as far as their entry into the playoffs is concerned. While the losing team will be ousted from the tournament, the winner will later face the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on May 25 in the qualifier 2.
IPL 2018 Eliminator: A do-or-die game for KKR and RR
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are all set to play the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata which has been the fortress for KKR Captain Dinesh Karthik and team. This is the last chance for both the sides to get a step closer to the finale. The Knights comparatively look strong on-paper while the Royals have been extremely lucky as far as their entry into the playoffs is concerned. While the losing team will be ousted from the tournament, the winner will later face the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on May 25 in the qualifier 2.
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are all set to play the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata which has been the fortress for KKR Captain Dinesh Karthik and team. This is the last chance for both the sides to get a step closer to the finale. The Knights comparatively look strong on-paper while the Royals have been extremely lucky as far as their entry into the playoffs is concerned. While the losing team will be ousted from the tournament, the winner will later face the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on May 25 in the qualifier 2.
IPL 2018 Eliminator: A do-or-die game for KKR and RR
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are all set to play the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata which has been the fortress for KKR Captain Dinesh Karthik and team. This is the last chance for both the sides to get a step closer to the finale. The Knights comparatively look strong on-paper while the Royals have been extremely lucky as far as their entry into the playoffs is concerned. While the losing team will be ousted from the tournament, the winner will later face the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on May 25 in the qualifier 2.
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are all set to play the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata which has been the fortress for KKR Captain Dinesh Karthik and team. This is the last chance for both the sides to get a step closer to the finale. The Knights comparatively look strong on-paper while the Royals have been extremely lucky as far as their entry into the playoffs is concerned. While the losing team will be ousted from the tournament, the winner will later face the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on May 25 in the qualifier 2.
IPL 2018 Eliminator: A do-or-die game for KKR and RR
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are all set to play the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata which has been the fortress for KKR Captain Dinesh Karthik and team. This is the last chance for both the sides to get a step closer to the finale. The Knights comparatively look strong on-paper while the Royals have been extremely lucky as far as their entry into the playoffs is concerned. While the losing team will be ousted from the tournament, the winner will later face the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on May 25 in the qualifier 2.
DC United coach Ben Olsen confirmed earlier this month that the club were interested in bringing Rooney to America but said the deal is not done.
Premier League: Everton's Wayne Rooney in talks to join MLS side DC United, confirms club
DC United coach Ben Olsen confirmed earlier this month that the club were interested in bringing Rooney to America but said the deal is not done.
<p>Il destino del centrocampista dovrebbe essere in Premier League. Il Manchester City è in netto vantaggio, ma anche il Liverpool ci ha fatto un pensiero (REUTERS/Alberto Lingria). </p>
Jorginho

Il destino del centrocampista dovrebbe essere in Premier League. Il Manchester City è in netto vantaggio, ma anche il Liverpool ci ha fatto un pensiero (REUTERS/Alberto Lingria).

Manchester United are hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to wrap up their transfer business early in their pursuit of Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Jose Mourinho, who is also pursuing a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred, wants to sign a centre-half this summer as the United manager bids to strengthen his defence and believes Alderweireld would be a good fit. Negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, has long proven a taxing experience for United and a formal move for the £50 million plus rated Alderweireld could still be fraught with complications. But Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in talks with the Spurs chairman, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist any approach for Alderweireld. Spurs have traditionally left business late but, with a shortened transfer window compounded by the World Cup finals, which will further limit time to do deals, Pochettino hopes the club do not drag their heels and wants the go-ahead to sell anybody he believes he can replace. Levy is eager for Pochettino to sign a new contract and knows he may have to bow to some of the manager’s wishes. Pochettino wants Spurs to wrap up their transfer business early on this summer Credit: Getty Images It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell Alderweireld to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld would be available for £25m next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. There have even been reports that Levy could hold out for a fee closer to the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk in January, although such a price seems excessive given Alderweireld’s age and contractual situation. Still, it remains to be seen if Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value and likely be bought with immediate success in mind. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49m asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Woodward was also conscious that United – who have also been linked with Spurs left back Danny Rose - paid Chelsea a projected £40m fee for the 29-year-old Serbia midfielder, Nemanja Matic, that summer. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could easily break down and force United to pursue other central defensive targets. The sale of Martial to any club, let alone an English rival, would be dimly received by United supporters, though. He has endured an up and down season in which he has struggled to hold down a regular starting place, failing to make France’s World Cup squad in the process, and he is one of several players who has a difficult relationship with Mourinho. But his talent is considerable and there are plenty of people within Old Trafford who feel the club would be making a huge mistake that could come back to haunt them if Martial was sold. With Michael Carrick retiring, a midfielder remains Mourinho&#39;s first priority and the Portuguese is hoping to land Fred, whom Manchester City have also pursued previously, before the start of the World Cup finals next month.
Man Utd look to take advantage of Spurs' stance on transfers with early Toby Alderweireld approach
Manchester United are hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to wrap up their transfer business early in their pursuit of Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Jose Mourinho, who is also pursuing a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred, wants to sign a centre-half this summer as the United manager bids to strengthen his defence and believes Alderweireld would be a good fit. Negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, has long proven a taxing experience for United and a formal move for the £50 million plus rated Alderweireld could still be fraught with complications. But Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in talks with the Spurs chairman, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist any approach for Alderweireld. Spurs have traditionally left business late but, with a shortened transfer window compounded by the World Cup finals, which will further limit time to do deals, Pochettino hopes the club do not drag their heels and wants the go-ahead to sell anybody he believes he can replace. Levy is eager for Pochettino to sign a new contract and knows he may have to bow to some of the manager’s wishes. Pochettino wants Spurs to wrap up their transfer business early on this summer Credit: Getty Images It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell Alderweireld to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld would be available for £25m next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. There have even been reports that Levy could hold out for a fee closer to the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk in January, although such a price seems excessive given Alderweireld’s age and contractual situation. Still, it remains to be seen if Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value and likely be bought with immediate success in mind. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49m asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Woodward was also conscious that United – who have also been linked with Spurs left back Danny Rose - paid Chelsea a projected £40m fee for the 29-year-old Serbia midfielder, Nemanja Matic, that summer. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could easily break down and force United to pursue other central defensive targets. The sale of Martial to any club, let alone an English rival, would be dimly received by United supporters, though. He has endured an up and down season in which he has struggled to hold down a regular starting place, failing to make France’s World Cup squad in the process, and he is one of several players who has a difficult relationship with Mourinho. But his talent is considerable and there are plenty of people within Old Trafford who feel the club would be making a huge mistake that could come back to haunt them if Martial was sold. With Michael Carrick retiring, a midfielder remains Mourinho's first priority and the Portuguese is hoping to land Fred, whom Manchester City have also pursued previously, before the start of the World Cup finals next month.
Manchester United are hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to wrap up their transfer business early in their pursuit of Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Jose Mourinho, who is also pursuing a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred, wants to sign a centre-half this summer as the United manager bids to strengthen his defence and believes Alderweireld would be a good fit. Negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, has long proven a taxing experience for United and a formal move for the £50 million plus rated Alderweireld could still be fraught with complications. But Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in talks with the Spurs chairman, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist any approach for Alderweireld. Spurs have traditionally left business late but, with a shortened transfer window compounded by the World Cup finals, which will further limit time to do deals, Pochettino hopes the club do not drag their heels and wants the go-ahead to sell anybody he believes he can replace. Levy is eager for Pochettino to sign a new contract and knows he may have to bow to some of the manager’s wishes. Pochettino wants Spurs to wrap up their transfer business early on this summer Credit: Getty Images It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell Alderweireld to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld would be available for £25m next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. There have even been reports that Levy could hold out for a fee closer to the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk in January, although such a price seems excessive given Alderweireld’s age and contractual situation. Still, it remains to be seen if Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value and likely be bought with immediate success in mind. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49m asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Woodward was also conscious that United – who have also been linked with Spurs left back Danny Rose - paid Chelsea a projected £40m fee for the 29-year-old Serbia midfielder, Nemanja Matic, that summer. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could easily break down and force United to pursue other central defensive targets. The sale of Martial to any club, let alone an English rival, would be dimly received by United supporters, though. He has endured an up and down season in which he has struggled to hold down a regular starting place, failing to make France’s World Cup squad in the process, and he is one of several players who has a difficult relationship with Mourinho. But his talent is considerable and there are plenty of people within Old Trafford who feel the club would be making a huge mistake that could come back to haunt them if Martial was sold. With Michael Carrick retiring, a midfielder remains Mourinho&#39;s first priority and the Portuguese is hoping to land Fred, whom Manchester City have also pursued previously, before the start of the World Cup finals next month.
Man Utd look to take advantage of Spurs' stance on transfers with early Toby Alderweireld approach
Manchester United are hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to wrap up their transfer business early in their pursuit of Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Jose Mourinho, who is also pursuing a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred, wants to sign a centre-half this summer as the United manager bids to strengthen his defence and believes Alderweireld would be a good fit. Negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, has long proven a taxing experience for United and a formal move for the £50 million plus rated Alderweireld could still be fraught with complications. But Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in talks with the Spurs chairman, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist any approach for Alderweireld. Spurs have traditionally left business late but, with a shortened transfer window compounded by the World Cup finals, which will further limit time to do deals, Pochettino hopes the club do not drag their heels and wants the go-ahead to sell anybody he believes he can replace. Levy is eager for Pochettino to sign a new contract and knows he may have to bow to some of the manager’s wishes. Pochettino wants Spurs to wrap up their transfer business early on this summer Credit: Getty Images It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell Alderweireld to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld would be available for £25m next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. There have even been reports that Levy could hold out for a fee closer to the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk in January, although such a price seems excessive given Alderweireld’s age and contractual situation. Still, it remains to be seen if Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value and likely be bought with immediate success in mind. The 50 best players in the Premier League 2017/18 Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49m asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Woodward was also conscious that United – who have also been linked with Spurs left back Danny Rose - paid Chelsea a projected £40m fee for the 29-year-old Serbia midfielder, Nemanja Matic, that summer. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could easily break down and force United to pursue other central defensive targets. The sale of Martial to any club, let alone an English rival, would be dimly received by United supporters, though. He has endured an up and down season in which he has struggled to hold down a regular starting place, failing to make France’s World Cup squad in the process, and he is one of several players who has a difficult relationship with Mourinho. But his talent is considerable and there are plenty of people within Old Trafford who feel the club would be making a huge mistake that could come back to haunt them if Martial was sold. With Michael Carrick retiring, a midfielder remains Mourinho's first priority and the Portuguese is hoping to land Fred, whom Manchester City have also pursued previously, before the start of the World Cup finals next month.
<p>Le milieu de terrain turc du Borussia Dortmund a fait des passages éclairs au Real (4 apparitions en Liga) et à Liverpool (7 matches en Premier League), entre 2011 et 2013. </p>
Nuri Sahin

Le milieu de terrain turc du Borussia Dortmund a fait des passages éclairs au Real (4 apparitions en Liga) et à Liverpool (7 matches en Premier League), entre 2011 et 2013.

Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
English football's 21 biggest VAR decisions and how they panned out
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a 'clear and obvious error' in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a 'clear and obvious' error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora's Box . Glenn Murray's goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray's late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season's second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City's Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi's first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea's Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles' appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester's lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray's pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho's 'offside' goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho's goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee's original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez's through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman's flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian's 'Dive' Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no 'clear and obvious' error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian's went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom's disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson's head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool's penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an 'on-field review', as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom's relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom's third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom's third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata's disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata's right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd's lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata's knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport's live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a 'mistake'. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura's penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale's Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he 'feinted' just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea's defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy's late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski's challenge was a foul Credit: AP England's concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy's player's appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the 'box' signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa's foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a 'clear and obvious' error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho's decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton's disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee's whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: "We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct." VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez's goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young's arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses' chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young's arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of 'injustice' is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football's essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.
Depending on your perspective, the 2017-18 season was the first step to a more just footballing future or a worrying lurch towards a joyless dystopia. We are talking of course about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee System, which English football got its first taste of in the FA Cup third round. Though goal-line technology has been utilised successfully in the Premier League since 2013-14, VAR is the first attempt to use technology to correct more subjective decisions. VAR intervenes when the officials have made a &#39;clear and obvious error&#39; in one of four key areas: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. Teething problems have included: failing to communicate decisions to match-going fans, ambiguity about what is a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error, lengthy delays, wavy lines, faulty technology and thwarted celebrations. Here is a blow-by-blow account of what unfolded when we decided to open Pandora&#39;s Box . Glenn Murray&#39;s goal Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace, FA Cup 3rd round, January 8 Glenn Murray&#39;s late goal was allowed to stand after the referee consulted the VAR The season&#39;s second A13 derby between Brighton and Crystal Palace was a historic occasion, as the Video Assistant Referee system made its debut in English football. A drab game passed without much incident, until Glenn Murray bundled home the winner against his former club in the 87th minute. Palace claimed the ball had struck his hand, but replays confirmed it had in fact gone in off his knee. Video referee Neil Swarbrick informed on-field official Andre Marriner there was no need for an on-field review and the goal stood. VAR verdict: Correct decision. Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Ainsley Maitland Niles carried on his run rather than going down Bristol City&#39;s Ashton Gate did not have the technology to support VAR, so the next time we saw the system was in the other Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea. Alex Iwobi&#39;s first-half attempt was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois but the fleet-footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the rebound first ahead of Chelsea&#39;s Victor Moses. He nicked the ball past Moses, who caught him lightly on his right boot. The Arsenal youngster stumbled but stayed upright and referee Martin Atkinson waved away shouts for a penalty. Granit Xhaka led the appeals, and Atkinson put his hand to his earpiece to consult Neil Swarbrick. He advised there was no obvious error, and the original decision stood. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Cesc Fabregas penalty appeal Chelsea vs Arsenal, Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, January 10 Replays showed Danny Welbeck got his foot to the ball Much like Maitland-Niles&#39; appeal earlier in the match, this was a case of two players going for the ball and there being a split second between a foul and a clean tackle. Atkinson gave a corner - because he thought Danny Welbeck had got his foot to the ball - and replays showed his first instinct was correct. There was a delay before the corner was taken as Atkinson again pressed his hand to his ear-piece and the penalty was not given. Antonio Conte was unhappy post-match that the five minutes stoppage time did not account for the use of technology. VAR verdict: Contentious, but probably correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s disallowed goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Demarai Gray could not get his cross in before the ball had gone out Kelechi Iheanacho thought he had doubles Leicester&#39;s lead against Fleetwood when he converted Demarai Gray&#39;s pull-back, but linesman Lee Betts judged the ball had gone for a goal-kick. Referee John Moss checked the decision with VAR Mike Jones, who confirmed the linesman was right to raise his flag. No goal. VAR verdict: Correct. Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s &#39;offside&#39; goal Leicester City vs Fleetwood Town, FA Cup third round replay, January 16 Kelechi Iheanacho&#39;s goal against Fleetwood stood The first case of the video assistant refereeing overturning the referee&#39;s original decision. Kelechi Iheanacho latched onto Riyad Mahrez&#39;s through ball and tucked it away, before the linesman&#39;s flag cut his celebrations short. Jon Moss blew his whistle to disallow the goal, then put his finger to his ear to ask Mike Jones, the VAR, to check. Using the replays which feature a series of lines across the pitch, Jones told Moss the Nigerian was onside and the goal was good to stand. Moss made a rectangular TV signal, blew his whistle and pointed back to the centre circle to signal a goal. The celebrations at the King Power recommenced. VAR verdict: Correct. Willian&#39;s &#39;Dive&#39; Chelsea vs Norwich City, FA Cup third round replay, January 17 The VAR decided there was no &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error The most controversial incident since the system the was introduced. Willian&#39;s went down under the challenge of Timm Klose, but Graham Scott waved away his penalty appeal and booked the Brazilian for diving. The video referee Mike Jones did not intervene despite the fact contact replays showed between Willian and Klose. Whether that contact was sufficient for a penalty continued to be debated post-match, but there was complete consensus that Scott was wrong to book Willian for simulation. The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd admitted as much the next day. VAR verdict: Failed. West Brom&#39;s disallowed goal at Anfield Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Gareth Barry was in an offside position West Brom fans were delirious in the Anfield Road end thinking their team had a 3-1 lead inside 20 minutes, only to see the goal (correctly) ruled out two minutes later. Replays showed Gareth Barry was in an offside flick-on when Craig Dawson&#39;s head met a West Brom corner, but there was widespread confusion at Anfield. Referee Craig Pawson stood with his hand to his ear as VAR Andre Marriner looked at the replays before judging there was a clear and obvious. To add to the sense of the bizarre, Liverpool 2 West Brom 2 then flashed up on the scoreboard. VAR verdict: A farce but the correct decision. Liverpool&#39;s penalty against West Brom Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Mo Salah went down under the challenge of Jake Livermore A rare case of an &#39;on-field review&#39;, as Pawson walked over to the side of the pitch to watch a replay on a TV screen. Mo Salah was felled in the West Brom penalty area after Jake Livermore pulled his shirt. The forward pleaded with Pawson to consult the technology available, but it took four minutes for the penalty to finally be awarded. To West Brom&#39;s relief, Roberto Firmino hit the bar from the spot. VAR verdict: Contentious call and took too long. West Brom&#39;s third allowed to stand Liverpool vs West Brom, FA Cup fourth round, January 26 Pawson checked if Craig Dawson was offside West Brom&#39;s third came on the stroke of half-time and again Pawson spoke to VAR Marriner via his earpiece to check if Craig Dawson was offside. He was not, and after Joel Matip turned his low cross into the Liverpool net the goal was allowed to stand. VAR verdict: Correct. Juan Mata&#39;s disallowed goal for offside at Huddersfield Huddersfield vs Man Utd, FA Cup fifth round, February 17 Mata&#39;s right knee was adjudged to be offside Credit: BT Sport Juan Mata looked to have doubled Man Utd&#39;s lead in the FA Cup fifth round at Huddersfield, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into an empty net. Referee Kevin Friend consulted with VAR for what look a marginal offside decision, and after a two or three minute wait eventually disallowed the goal when replays showed Mata&#39;s knee was offside. That was not the end of the controversy, however. During BT Sport&#39;s live coverage, a replay appeared with lines that looked as if they had been drawn by a four-year-old with crayon. Graphics provider Hawk Eye later issued an apology for a technical problem. VAR verdict: Farce. A technical issue led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawk-Eye to @btsportfootball last night. To confirm, the #VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologise. pic.twitter.com/QqbAWVfbi1— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) February 18, 2018 Erik Lamela disallowed goal for a foul by Fernando Llorente Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Fernando Llorente was penalised for a foul Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs in front in their FA Cup replay against League One Rochdale, tapping into an empty net after Fernando Llorente held off Harrison McGahey. Referee Pal Tierney spent about a minute consulting VAR however, before chalking the goal off when it was decided the Spanish striker had committed a foul. It was just the start of a chaotic 50-minute halve at Wembley. FA chief executive Martin Glenn later admitted this decision was a &#39;mistake&#39;. VAR verdict: A mess. Lucas Moura penalty appeal Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Lucas Moura&#39;s penalty appeal was turned down Credit: Reuters McGahey was once again at the centre of the action after 22 minutes when Lucas Moura went to ground under his challenge. Tierney reviewed the decision - resulting in another stoppage of a minute or so - and concluded that the contact was insufficient to give a penalty. VAR verdict: Correct. Tottenham penalty fiasco Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale, FA Cup fifth-round replay, February 28 Spurs were awarded a free-kick before VAR judged the foul took place inside the area Credit: AFP Kieran Trippier is fouled by Rochdale&#39;s Matt Done and Spurs are awarded a free-kick. However, VAR judged that the foul had happened inside the penalty area and the decision was changed to a penalty kick. Heung-min Son stepped up and tucked it away, before events took another bizarre turn. Son was penalised for stuttering his run up Credit: BBC Sport Referee Tierney blew his whistle to address VAR, before showing Son a yellow card and disallowing the goal before he &#39;feinted&#39; just before striking the penalty. The Laws of the Game indicate that a player deemed to have feinted at the end of his run should be shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior, though stuttering mid-run is permitted. VAR verdict: Strange, but technically correct. Heung-min Son disallowed goal Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup quarter-final, March 16 Spurs in FA Cup action again, as a Heung-min Son goal was disallowed for offside in their comfortable 3-0 quarter-final victory at Swansea. The Tottenham forward was flagged for offside, but crashed a shot in off the crossbar. It was a marginal call and referee Kevin Friend decided to consult VAR, which upheld the original decision by the finest of margins. Potential controversy was averted, because the referee had already blown his whistle when Son shot and Swansea&#39;s defenders could have claimed they stopped playing. VAR verdict: Successful. Italy&#39;s late penalty against England England vs Italy, international friendly, March 27 Debate raged as to whether James Tarkowski&#39;s challenge was a foul Credit: AP England&#39;s concession of a late penalty was the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for Gareth Southgate, and it proved controversial. Federico Chiesa skipped into the England penalty area with a few minutes to play, and took a tumble in the middle of a crowded England defence as the ball ran out of play. Initially, Italy&#39;s player&#39;s appealed vociferously for a corner. But on the advice of the video assistant, referee Deniz Aytekin reviewed the incident at the side of the pitch giving the &#39;box&#39; signal that indicates a review. England were on the wrong end of VAR Replays showed Tarkwoski stood on Chiesa&#39;s foot, although the Italian was already on his way down and had lost control of the ball. The referee changed his original decision and awarded the penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted. Even after several slow-motion replays, opinion was divided about the call, with Gareth Southgate feeling the original decision did not constitute a &#39;clear and obvious&#39; error. VAR verdict: Contentious. Appeal for Antonio Valencia to be sent off Manchester United vs Tottenham, FA Cup semi-final, April 21 Antonio Valencia was substituted immediatley after the incident Credit: BBC Sports Spurs were unhappy that Manchester United right-back escaped a second yellow card after dragging Dele Alli to the ground. The Tottenham attacker had pinched the ball from Valencia as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a throw, and in a panic he dragged Dele down as he drove towards the penalty area. Despite VAR being in use in both FA Cup semi-finals, the decision was not reviewed. Jose Mourinho&#39;s decision to immediately substitute Valencia was perhaps an admission of guilt. VAR verdict: Should have intervened, unsuccessful. Southampton&#39;s disallowed goal Chelsea vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final, April 22 Mark Hughes was furious that VAR was not consulted Credit: BBC Sport Southampton were denied an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea when Charlie Austin was judged to have fouled Willy Caballero. The Chelsea goalkeeper looked to spill a high ball over the line but the referee&#39;s whistle spared his blushed. Mark Hughes vented his anger post-match, saying: &quot;We had no luck, the keeper made a glaring mistake and miscontrolled it. I assumed VAR was in operation and it was a clear opportunity or situation to review and get it correct.&quot; VAR verdict: Contentious. Alexis Sanchez disallowed goal Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Alexis Sanchez was rightly flagged for offside and Man Utd were denied an equaliser Credit: BTSport Manchester United thought they had found an equaliser as they pushed forward in the second half of the cup final, but Alexis Sanchez&#39;s goal was ruled out for offside. Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved a Phil Jones header that was creeping in the bottom corner before Sanchez turned home the rebound. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR confirmed with referee Michael Oliver that the decision was correct. VAR verdict: Successful. Chelsea penalty appeal for Ashley Young handball Chelsea vs Manchester United. FA Cup final, May 19 Ashley Young&#39;s arm was not deemed to be in an unnatural position The final use of VAR in the domestic season. After David de Gea saved from Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses&#39; chipped cross struck Ashley Young on the arm. Chelsea appealed vociferously but once again VAR ruled that Michael Oliver was correct to wave away their protests. That the ball struck Young&#39;s arm is not in doubt, but it was from point-blank range and his arm was deemed to be in a natural position. No penalty. VAR verdict: Contentious. Conclusion Despite the practical difficulties of introducing VAR, the fundamental problem with the system could turn out to be a philosophical one. VAR will undoubtedly lead to more correct decisions, the question is whether it is worth altering the very fabric of the game for the sake of a few percent accuracy. For players and managers with reputations on the line, the desire to rid football of &#39;injustice&#39; is an understandable one. What about fans, however? The spontaneous eruption of joy that spreads through a stadium when the ball hits the net is football&#39;s essence. To curtail and sterilise that moment could threaten football as a source of entertainment. The only certainty is that now technology has been introduced, there is little chance of turning back - the toothpaste is out of the tube. There may be trouble ahead.