Arsenal maintained their 100% start to the season with a 2-1 win over Burnley in the lunchtime kick-off while Teemu Pukki notched a hat-trick for Norwich as they beat Newcastle in their first home game back in the top flight.

Elsewhere, Bournemouth condemned Aston Villa to a second successive defeat, Liverpool won at Southampton and Brighton were held by West Ham.

The story of the day came, predictably, at the Etihad Stadium where Gabriel Jesus's "winner" was ruled out by VAR's application of the controversial new handball rule as Tottenham grabbed a 2-2 draw against Manchester City.


Reader Comments (44)

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Brent Stephens
1 Posted 17/08/2019 at 19:21:44
City winner! Not only do the rs score in time added on.
Brent Stephens
2 Posted 17/08/2019 at 19:22:40
Fuck VAR!
Jim Bennings
3 Posted 17/08/2019 at 19:26:10
VAR totally spoiling the moment of enjoyment in football.

I just hope this ridiculous shit is ditched at the end of the season because frankly football is becoming far too technical now, a simple game complicated by bored men looking to nitpick.

Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 17/08/2019 at 19:41:12
Brent and Jim, VAR is not the problem.

The problem is this idiotic, moronic new handball rule.

It's insane that an accidental handball is a foul for an attacker but not a defender. Two players standing next to each other, the ball ticks accidentally off an arm, and it's a foul for one and not the other.

The law is ridiculous, and it needs to be changed now, not at the end of the season.

Again, VAR ain't the problem.

David Pearl
5 Posted 17/08/2019 at 19:55:35
Mike,
If an advantaged is gained from an accidental arm you don’t think it should be flagged?
Brent Stephens
6 Posted 17/08/2019 at 19:55:36
Mike, that was an instantaneous reaction to the FACT of the VAR decision, nothing else. I knew exactly why the VAR decision was made and VAR aint the problem.

Again, VAR aint the problem.

Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 18/08/2019 at 09:07:33
I am still suspusious of who is making the decisions in the VAR room, they should be named after each game,

Not VAR but that daft rule, and that daft rule will work for some teams and not for others, depending on who is watching the game in the VAR room.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 18/08/2019 at 12:12:47
Suspicious @ (7) above, has the wordcheckergone on strike !!!
Michael Kenrick
9 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:19:30
John Lundstram scores again for The Blades, with Jagielka and Besic on the bench.
Michael Kenrick
10 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:29:25
James McCarthy now on for his Crystal Palace debut.
Derek Knox
11 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:29:31
Just watching the Sheffield Utd v Palace game, one of our old boys scored, John Lundstram, knew we shouldn't have let him go. :-)

Dan Parker
12 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:34:08
McCarthy almost injured in his first game. Getting feisty.
Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:42:39
David #5, I just think the rules should be the same for everybody.

DK #11, never knew he'd been one of ours. We must have found out about his lack of character. According to his Wikipedia biography he's an RS supporter.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

14 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:46:48
For those interested JJKenny made his full Bundesliga debut for Schalke yesterday in a 0-0 draw away to Borussia Moenchengladbach. Played the full 90.

A quick scan on a Schalke fan site revealed comments like "he was very good...I hope he is with us for a long time...he reminds me of a young Lahm" (!!! - my exclamation marks).

Sounds a good start to life for our boy in Germany.

Mike Gaynes
15 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:48:17
Jags on for Blades.

Strange to see him doing one of those diving headed clearances while wearing another shirt.

Jon Bentley
16 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:50:01
Don't want else to post this question, but anyone know any good links to watch the cricket??

But of a ludite me so any guidance greatly appreciated 👍

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:57:02
Jay (14), thanks for that piece about Jonjoe.
Rob Halligan
18 Posted 18/08/2019 at 16:05:51
Jon # 16. I don't know of any links, I'm watching on sky sports, but Australia needing 267 to win, are 19 - 2
Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 18/08/2019 at 16:23:44
Lundstram among the very few players to score in all 4 divisions now. Lee Dixon another.
Raymond Fox
20 Posted 18/08/2019 at 17:07:26
Agree with Mike @4, obviously there's always downsides to everything but overall VAR will be more fair, or should be, for all teams. We shouldn't see decisions favouring the 'big six', smaller clubs should get a fair deal at long last

Mike's correct about the handball rule, how can it be handball for attackers and not for defenders, that's nonsensical. Does a defender not gain an advantage if a ball strikes his arm?

John McFarlane Snr
21 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:21:13
Hi Dave [7], I'm with you regarding changes in the laws of the game, but I also think that VAR is changing the game for the worse. My understanding was that it would come into operation if the referee was uncertain and requested help. I have been informed that they are now in charge of, offside's, possible penalties, red cards, mistaken identity, and the most alarming one is the scrutiny of goals scored, when they trace moves leading up to a goal searching for a reason to disallow it.

My point I suppose is that the operation of VAR is not for helping the referee, but to dictate to him, hence I think it should go under the initials of VDR, or better still (in my opinion) it should be abolished.

On a lighter note, thanks to yourself and the other ToffeeWebbers for another enjoyable evening, and thanks also to the two pints of Diet Pepsi, I almost managed to walk in a straight line.

Bill Griffiths
22 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:34:34
John/Dave, how did the meet up go?
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

23 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:34:39
I see Joao Virginia was only on the sub's bench again for Reading today as they beat Cardiff 3-0.

The experienced keeper they bought in last week once again preferred. Virginia may not get the Championship game time we were hoping for from his loan.

Brent Stephens
24 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:38:41
John #21, I might be wrong, but my understanding is that VAR reviews can be initiated by the ref and the VAR.

And offside decisions could only come into play with VAR if a goal was involved (and VAR can't initiate a review there if the whistle has already blown for offside, only if the ref delays the whistle until after the goal has been scored).

I stand to be corrected (you can initiate a review of my interpretation!).

Dave Abrahams
25 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:42:03
Bill (22), I’ve put a little report on the original thread” ToffeeWeb meeting at The Excelsior”
John McFarlane Snr
26 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:43:37
Hi Bill [22] it was another pleasant evening I think that there were 11 or 12 present, I see that Derek put on another thread that the music was quite enjoyable but a little loud. I'm afraid that it was loud enough to make conversation difficult, but that may be an 'age thing'.
John McFarlane Snr
27 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:53:19
Hi Brent [24] you will glean from my post that I'm 100% against VAR. I fear it will take the human element away from the game. The only changes I consider improvements are the goal-line technology, and the referee's free-kick spray. I suppose that at the age of 81 these changes are a bit too much for me, but I still go to the match, so I shouldn't complain.
Brent Stephens
28 Posted 18/08/2019 at 19:10:59
John, I'm with you on VAR, at least for one of the four types of decision it can be used for, i.e. goals.

Last night, for example, I was watching the City game and was ecstatic when they got a late winning goal, only for VAR to overrule it. This, to me, is the worst aspect of VAR, as now there can be no unbridled celebration of a goal as one eye will always be on whether or not there will be a VAR incident, so the emotion will be lessened, just in case - both on the goal going in, and even if VAR eventually confirms the goal.

In other sports such as Aussie rules, rugby, golf, cricket, etc, there's a good feeling on a point being scored, a putt dropping, a six being scored, but not ecstasy. But in football goals are so few that the emotion is multiplied.

The rest I'm not too bothered about (was it a red card? was the wrong guy booked, was it a penalty? all ok, I guess) but leave VAR out of goals (as you say, we have goal line technology for relevant incidents).

Bill Griffiths
29 Posted 18/08/2019 at 19:12:56
Thanks John, hope I can make the next one.
Rob Halligan
30 Posted 19/08/2019 at 22:00:29
Wolves draw with Man Utd 1-1. Should the Wolves equaliser have been ruled offside? VAR says no.

Also, United miss a penalty when the score was 1-1. Discussion between Rashford and Pogba as to who should take it. Considering Rashford scored one last week, Pogba seemed to overrule Rashford and took it.

It was a great save by the Wolves keeper though. Very similar to when Mirallas took the penalty instead of Baines and also missed.

Phil Greenough
31 Posted 19/08/2019 at 22:19:44
Dont forget, Brent, one man's meat, is another man's poison. Imagine McAllister's goal being discounted for some menial infringement back in 2001, we'd have been euphoric. To steal a fellow Toffee webber's thunder.

https://youtu.be/VLnWf1sQkjY

Brent Stephens
32 Posted 19/08/2019 at 22:30:55
Phil "Imagine McAllister's goal being discounted for some menial infringement back in 2001, we'd have been euphoric".

We would have been, Phil, for sure!

However, most goals are not going to be overturned, so there'll be relatively little euphoria from that (and it can cut both ways anyway, with some of our goals being ruled out); but for almost every goal we score now, even those eventually ruled legit, the euphoria will be dampened while we wait to see if VAR kicks in.

Ed Fitzgerald
33 Posted 19/08/2019 at 22:57:56
John just because you are 81 doesn’t mean your opinion is invalid in any way quite the reverse. I am totally against VAR at the tender age of 57. For those who says it’s just the changes in the laws that need to change, I think they are missing/ignoring a couple of fundamental issues with VAR

1. It is still a subjective decision that is made by someone not even present at the game - the technology employed is not infallible (concerns have been raised that its impossible to identify the precise time/moment the ball leaves a players foot and the position of the player deemed to be offside - (it’s a basic tenet of physics that you if measure speed you cannot be exactly sure of location and vice versa).

2. In my opinion (and judging by pundits, commentators and fans on talkshite today VAR is not really well received. The comment most widely made is that its against the spirit of the game -we have a referee, linesman and an assistant referee, goal line technology - that is enough surely? I’ve taught kids for years to accept the referees decision as final, football fans have lived and largely accepted this idea for over a century. God help future generations of ref’s officiating in non VAR matches. The Wolves fans sang ‘FUCK VAR’ before and after Neves goal was allowed - concisely put, I thought

Kevin Latham
34 Posted 19/08/2019 at 23:24:20
I'm of exactly the same mind as John (27) regarding VAR when he refers to human error. The game always has been about human error as well as great achievements, this is even more true when it comes to players, I believe. We see it every week in every game - forward balloons one over the bar from 6 yards (no Lukaku jokes please), defender makes a poor pass and gives the ball away in his own half, keeper dives over the ball in amateur fashion (thank God for Hans Segers) - and so on.

Professional footballers make mistakes regularly and we have to accept it as part of the game, yet we're moving to a point where officials aren't allowed to - and VAR seems to look not just at the incident but the whole move leading up to it! If an official makes a mistake then drop them for the next game as you might well do with a player, but please don't take the spontaneity and soul out of the game arguing whether a player's right arm is offside. The game is about scoring goals, not going out of your way looking for reasons to deny them.

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 19/08/2019 at 23:43:37
I think Ed (33) gets it, for me anyway, the final decision is going to be made by three people watching in a studio. Bias comes into this, the three people who make the decision for one game are liable to make a different decision for the same incident when two other teams are involved.

I absolutely have no faith in decisions when the human element makes the decisions. For all the technology involved, it is still people making the decisions and bias will come into effect when they make their opinions. That is why it is essential that the names of the people making the decisions should be made public after every game, so we can see throughout the season they are being consistent with the decisions they make, not being biased in favour of certain teams. This will happen; I am sure of it.

Jamie Crowley
36 Posted 19/08/2019 at 23:48:20
VAR is a work in progress. It will progress to the point where it will be accepted, and the objections are greatly lessened, or nullified completely.

It's needed. Terrible errors resulting in goals standing, when a player is clearly offside, can not occur.

I think right now it's way too nit-picky! Offside by a toenail is not in the spirit of the game, and certainly doesn't favor the attacker, which was a clarion call not too very long ago.

In my hellish 10 hour drive yesterday from Tuscaloosa, AL to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, I listened (a lot!) to TalkShite on sat radio.

One suggestion by a host (maybe a caller? my brain was oatmeal), was to make the line they draw "thicker" when adjudicating offside calls. I personally liked this idea. A "margin" of space necessitated to overrule a goal.

There's human error in VAR. When do you "click" on the freeze-frame picture to actually draw the line to ascertain whether or not a player is offside? That's a human being deciding what freeze point to judge offside.

If the line is thicker on the replay, that factors in some leeway, and then gives the attacker more advantage. There'd not be as many overruled decisions on the field. And it would stop the few instances of a toenail being offside. I actually said to my wife as we were listening yesterday, "I can't wait for some guy's penis to be offside. You can score a goal with a penis by the laws of the game. It's not an arm, at least for most guys! If some guy's manhood is over the line, right now it's offside!"

She rolled her eyes and ignored me for about 30 minutes, quite understandably.

Back to the point, if the attacker is inside the "margin of error" distance on a "thicker line", you can't overrule the decision on the field.

Now I know some folks will decry this, but for me, the terrible calls robbing teams of points simply HAVE to be overturned. It's a "correctable" injustice, and therefore has to be addressed.

I think VAR in the main, has done really, really well thusfar. There have been some calls that were entirely too nit-picky. But again, they have said they will constantly monitor what they are doing, and tweak the system as they go.

Let this thing develop and morph into a system that stops awful errors robbing teams of points! And figure out a way, thicker line or whatever the remedy, to not overturn the "by a whisker" offside calls via VAR.

And for the love of all that is holy, start to show the replays in the stadiums! Fans held hostage to a blank screen, not knowing what in the hell is being reviewed, is cruel! Show them! They won't die, and they won't riot. They'll understand why the decision was made, and everyone will be better for it and more informed.

Paul Johnson
37 Posted 19/08/2019 at 23:53:48
I just watched the Wolves - Man Utd game and my frustration is not VAR but the inconsistency in refereeing. I don't mean vs each other but individually. Jon Moss ent off Schneiderlin last week for two fouls and yet the young winger for United, James, who had already been booked, got away with a foul that should have triggered his second card and a sending-off.

I thought his first card was a poor decision but then so was Schneiderlin's last week. I don't see the point of VAR if they are going to carry on letting referees make poor decisions and not hold them accountable.

John Pierce
38 Posted 19/08/2019 at 00:11:44
VAR - Every line on a football pitch has a thickness to it that allows humans to judge better when the whole ball goes out of play. Yet offside has no such tolerance. It's long been mooted it should have, then you have a homogenous and intuitively neat way of getting an official to judge things equally, you get consistency this way.

I've barked on for ages the rules were massively out of kilter with the unseen consequences of adding technology. It's extremely clear that's the case.

Handball should be the same for both sets of players in all areas of the field; again, the official will be looking for the same things to apply in all situations. IFAB are asking the referee to apply a different test for the attacking and defending sides. Madness! No surprise they need VAR to tidy it up!

Accidental handball allows goals to be scored off a defender without stopping the game but the same cannot be allowed for a forward? That's fundamentally unfair. They will change it but clumsily will do so mid season, which is farcical.

IFAB have already reached version 14 of the protocols. whaaaaat

Andy Crooks
39 Posted 19/08/2019 at 00:12:53
Jamie, VAR will kill the game. No longer will we here the chant "The referee's a bastard". Football is spontaneous, wrong decision, suck it up. VAR is the worst thing that ever happened to our game.

Now, some may argue, we were relegated by a bad call. No, one bad call relegated no-one. Being shite is what gets you relegated.

Goal line decisions, yes, okay. I am committed to Everton but not to football. The decision against Man City was pure shit. Fairness? Yes. A proper sport? No, never.

VAR will kill football. It has already killed it for me. The referee's a bastard no more.


Chris Gould
40 Posted 20/08/2019 at 00:27:13
Jamie, I really like the thicker line idea. It has always been accepted that off-sides are incredibly hard to get right at full speed when it's a tight call. It's simply not possible for the human eye to detect, in a hundredth of a second, if an attacker is beyond the defender by an inch. Especially if the two players are several yards apart.

But the linesman and their dubious decisions have always been a big part of the game, and it's sad to see it go. What training does a linesman actually need now that VAR will do his job better than he ever could?

If a defender pushes out as an attacker latches on to a through pass then their torsos could conceivably be neck and neck. But the attacker's front foot would likely be closer to the goal than the defender's back foot. Head and body equal, but a foot could be off-side. VAR will rule that run off-side because it removes the grey area that the off-side rule has always existed in.

Jamie Crowley
41 Posted 20/08/2019 at 01:29:44
Andy -

Jesus man, no it will not kill the game. Hyperbole of the highest order! And as I'm a fan of hyperbole, that's saying something!

There will be plenty of opportunities to chant "the ref is a bastard." Did you not see Lee Mason ref our first game?

I agree 100% with you on the Man City VAR decision. It's these types of decisions that will change moving forward. You have to start somewhere.

"Suck it up, buttercup" is a fabulous mantra. More people need to hear that particular line. But that spoken saying is for the divers, the players who get tired, the ones who don't play well because of poor pitch conditions, the ones who whine and sulk from a poor call, the ninnies who leave the game because they have a small bruise on their shin after a tackle.

It's not, nor will it ever be applicable, for the team who gets scored against, when the opposition was three yards offside, and the AR had a braindead moment. That's injustice. That's something that should be stamped out of the game, not accepted via telling people to "suck it up". VAR is the solution to rid soccer [Americanism alert!!] of referee crimes against humanity.

They'll get there. After only two weeks of implementation, I can think of three instances where VAR "over reached". Patience man! And be open minded just a bit. Give it a chance, and if you're still pissed off after this season, after they've got a body of work to review and improve a fledgling technology to make the game better, then fair enough.

Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 20/08/2019 at 02:44:18
Jamie is the biggest fan of hyperbole in the history of the planet!

I'm not gonna repeat my views on VAR for the umpteenth time, except to say that it's here and it's staying and every other sport has survived it -- and subsequently thrived.

But hey, fellow referee J Pierce… off-topic but since we're talking reffing, I wanted to tell you that I just finished Howard Webb's autobiography Man in the Middle. You should definitely pick it up.

Some of the Everton-related items:

Two of the players for whom he had the greatest respect and affection were Phil Jagielka and Gary Speed.

He was linesman for the April 2000 derby and considered Poll's whistling off Hutchison's goal to be an act of courage (apparently he doesn't know Poll admitted in his own autobiography that he screwed up). BTW most of the other Premier League refs hated Poll and celebrated his three-yellow-card gaffe at the World Cup.

Webb considered Goodison one of the two most difficult grounds to work because of the crowd passion (Stoke was the other) and viewed the December 2004 Everton - Bolton game (we won 3-2) as perhaps the worst performance of his career because the crowd got to him.

He liked Roberto but loathed Moyes.

He considers Fellaini a thug and said so on TV.

His worst experience on the pitch was Fabrice Muamba.

The greatest goal he ever saw in a game he worked was Peter Crouch against City: https://www.premierleague.com/video/single/569811

Mike Dean is a practical joker, as is Lee Mason.

In the book, Webb also revealed publicly for the first time that he has OCD. Sometimes had to put on and take off his shirt 20 times before a game.

John Pierce
43 Posted 20/08/2019 at 03:08:56
Mike, thanks for the tip off. Ordered, nice one Amazon 😀. I once saw him say he used to have an elastic band on his wrist. He frequently snapped it to keep focus. He deffo mentioned he had some mental health issues, makes his accomplishments more laudable.

Webb

A very good referee, very consistent in application and sold difficult decisions really well. The most difficult World Cup final in memory for my money. Horrific game to manage.

Mike Gaynes
44 Posted 20/08/2019 at 05:26:02
Enjoy, John. I look forward to your sharing your impressions.

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