It seems no matter what country it is being used in, VAR is causing a lot of havoc. The technology was used twice in the match between Liverpool and West Brom. First it was used to rule out an early West Brom goal from Craig Dwason for offside.
It was then used on the pitch-side monitor by referee Craig Pawson – the first time the on-field review has occurred in English football – to change his decision and award a penalty to Liverpool, after Jake Livermore fouled Mohamed Salah. Fortunately for West Brom, Roberto Firmino missed his spot kick.
After the game Baggies manager Alan Pardew said the first goal would not have been disallowed without VAR’s intervention.
Pardew also complained that nobody watching in the stadium knew what was happening.
“In the stadium it was bizarre,” Pardew told the BBC. “There’s no screen for us. It’s not like tennis, we were completely in the dark.”
Sooky Pep cries foul
For a man on top of the league, Pep Guardiola sure does complain a lot. The Manchester City manager has urged the referees to protect the players more after it was reported Leroy Sane will be out for two to four weeks with an ankle injury, following a physical tackle from Cardiff full-back Joe Bennett.
“It’s his ankle. I have said many times – the only thing they [the officials] have to do is protect the players,” Guardiola told the BBC.
“But please protect the players. Not the Manchester City players, [all] the players. The only thing they can do is that: protect the players. Or it will happen again. The players are the artists and you have to take care of them. That’s why you are here and why I’m here. For them, the players.”
It’s not the only topic Guardiola has complained about this week. The Spaniard said he has been restrained from making big money purchases by Manchester City’s budget.
“Their salaries we cannot pay. There are budgets for the transfers and we cannot pay. In the future, it may change but we haven’t paid more than £80m-£100m for one player. We cannot pay that right now, it is the truth.”
In Guardiola’s two seasons at the club, Manchester City have spent A$639 million on player acquisitions, more than Manchester United have spent in that time. Three of the five biggest transfer fees paid for defenders have been by Guardiola at City. The Sky Blues are also about to spend close to A$100 million on Athletic Bilbao centre-back Aymeric Laporte.
I think I will end the argument with the words of Cardiff manager Neil Warnock.
“City dished out a bit, as well. He [Guardiola] is in England. What do you expect? I suppose when you’re like that you want everything to be nice and pretty but you don’t get that in England. You get different challenges, don’t you?”
Gunners edge closer to Aubameyang
Arsenal are close to finalising a deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The deal is believed to be in the region of A$105 million and will allow Oliver Giroud to move to Chelsea.
Aubameyang has netted 13 goals in the Bundesliga this season and will be expected to link up with former Dortmund colleage Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 Reading
Yeovil Town 0-4 Manchester United
Peterborough 1-5 Leicester
Southampton 1-0 Watford
MK Dons 0-1 Coventry
Hull City 2-1 Nottingham Forest
Millwall 2-2 Rochdale
Sheffield United 1-0 Preston North End
Middlesbrough 0-1 Brighton
Huddersfield 1-1 Birmingham
Notts County 1-1 Swansea
Wigan 2-0 West Ham
Newport County 1-1 Tottenham
Liverpool 2-3 West Brom
Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle
Cardiff 0-2 Manchester City
Sir Alex Ferguson award
The Sir Alex Ferguson of the week is awarded to the best-performed team of the week.
West Brom have had a difficult time in the Premier League this season, but their form in the FA Cup has been a highlight. Liverpool went into the tie with a 19-game unbeaten home record. The Baggies on the other hand entered the match sitting last in the Premier League and had lost 12 of their 20 away matches. In a match filled with controversy – courtesy of VAR, West Brom held on for a 3-2 victory. Former Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez was the hero netting two goals.
Bebe of the week
Bebe is widely considered Sir Alex Ferguson’s worst ever signing. The Bebe award is given to the most disappointing team from the week.
How can you not go past Loserpool (sorry I mean Liverpool). The Reds are the gift that keeps on giving. With the thrilling three up front and a A$122 million defender in the team, the Reds were expected to easily account for a side sitting bottom of the Premier League. But as is the case, the Reds failed to land the knock out punch and have now been knocked out of the FA Cup in the fourth round for the fourth consecutive year under Jurgen Klopp. Ironically the man who tormented the Reds was former Southampton player Jay Rodriguez. Liverpool have purchased six players from the Saints since 2014, yet the one player they didn’t purchase was the one who single handily beat them. Maybe Rodriguez will be in Liverpool’s summer transfer plans.
Player of the week
West Ham’s defence was terrified because Will Grigg was on fire. The man with the best chant in world football has been a revelation in the FA Cup, scoring six goals in four games. Grigg scored both of Wigan’s goals to send the Hammers packing from the cup. Hopefully Grigg continues to perform so us fans can keep singing his song.
Sportdot goal of the week
Could Lingard be a bolter for the Ballon d’Or? The Manchester United star has been a revelation this season, becoming a first team starter and scoring 12 goals in all competitions. Lingard has always had the knack of scoring stunning goals and his run and shot against Yeovil Town is Messi-esque. Watch him be a star at the World Cup.
1973 FA Cup Final
Mighty Leeds United were the reigning FA Cup holders when they came up against Second Division Sunderland in the 1973 FA Cup Final. Ian Porterfield first half strike gave the Black Cats the lead and Leeds responded but throwing everything at goalkeeper Jim Montgomery.
Montgomery stood tall and produced one of the best goalkeeping displays ever seen, with the highlight being an amazing double save.
When the full time whistle sounded, Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe ran on to the pitch to celebrate, a celebration that has been captured in a stature at the Stadium of Light.
One of the true football fairy tales.