It didn’t take long for the first VAR controversy of 2020 after a Jack Grealish strike was ruled out for Aston Villa in their early kick-off at Burnley after replays appeared to show that forward Wesley was millimeteres offside.
After a period of consultation with the video referee referee Michael Oliver ruled out the Villa skipper’s early goal, prompting football fans to once again voice their discontent with what they see as the overly-officious nature of the video technology which was intended to remove, not insert, doubt into the game.
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The replay showed Brazilian forward Wesley, a big-money import from the Belgian league during the summer, appearing to be in line with Burnely’s last man but that wasn’t the opinion of the official who adjudged that Wesley’s heel was in an offside position.
The call ignited another furious debate on social media as to the role of VAR in football and comes after a series of controversial calls in the Premier League last week which affected several results.
VAR is moving mad.
One thing I would say is – at least it’s consistently bad. Like there’s one of these decisions every week so it’s fair but it’s wrong. pic.twitter.com/KO0p2TAIlf
— Rambo (@RamboFYI) January 1, 2020
Jack Grealish just scored for Aston Villa but the goal has been disallowed by VAR because of this ‘offside’
This is an absolute joke. This is ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/BI6dcyCoEn
— 360Sources (@360Sources) January 1, 2020
VAR starting 2020 showing why it needs to return to original aim. Clear/obvious. Grealish goal ruled out for fractional Wesley offside in #BURAVL. Who believes decision by technician quickly drawing lines is 100% accurate apart from PGMOL? Game’s about goalscorers not Mike Riley.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) January 1, 2020
However, Aston Villa fans’ frustration was short-lived as both men involved in the controversial call had a measure of revenge by hitting the scoresheet later in the game.
Wesley atoned by finding the net on 27 minutes to give his team a lead which was then doubled four minutes before halftime by Grealish, who powered a thunderous strike into the roof of the net.
VAR’s interjection, though, will remain a key talking point not just from this game but, one feels, throughout the rest of the season – and perhaps decade.
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