Five Biggest Premier League VAR Controversies

We've taken a look at the five most controversial moments involving VAR since it was introduced to the Premier League in 2019-20.

VAR in the Premier League

Love it or loathe it, VAR has led to a number of talking points since it was introduced to the Premier League in the 2019-20 season.

Here’s a list of what I believe are the five most controversial VAR decisions so far in the English top-flight, which also had a big bearing on the result.

Miniscule Mane Decision Scuppers Henderson Derby Winner

Everton 2-2 Liverpool (October 2020)

After a hard-fought Merseyside derby and with Everton down to 10-ten men late in the game – following the sending off of Richarlison – Liverpool thought they had won the game in stoppage time.

Thiago played a lovely reverse pass into the left-hand channel for Sadio Mane, the Senegal star pulled the ball back for Jordan Henderson to sweep home.

The Reds believed they had snatched the three points right at the death, only for VAR to deem the width of Mane’s shirt sleeve had been offside in the build-up.

Hammers Denied Dramatic Equaliser

Sheff Utd 1-0 West Ham (January 2020)

Back in the days when hoards of travelling fans were allowed in grounds, West Ham thought they had snatched what would be a vital point in their battle to avoid the drop.

The quick press of Declan Rice saw him out-muscle John Egan to reach the ball 40-yards from goal, before playing in Robert Snodgrass, who tucked away the chance.

Thousands of West Ham fans celebrated behind that goal, David Moyes ran along the touchline punching the air, only for VAR to rule out the goal for what they deemed very harshly to be a handball from Rice.

Toe Thwarts Blades’ European Bid

Tottenham 1-1 Sheff Utd (November 2019)

After dominating the first half, Sheffield United fell behind to a Son Heung-Min goal on 58 minutes, but the visitors thought they had equalised just two minutes later.

A cross from the left was side-footed home at the back post by David McGoldrick, but the VAR lines claimed John Lundstram’s big toe had been offside in the build-up.

The Blades did equalise later in the half, but the three points would have boosted their European hopes against a top-six rival.

Bamford Denied After Calling for a Pass

Crystal Palace 4-1 Leeds (November 2020)

Leeds found themselves a goal behind within just 12 minutes at Selhurst Park, before Patrick Bamford believed he had levelled the score five minutes later.

The former Palace loanee understandably thought he had got another goal to his name, only for the goal to be ruled out.

Replays showed that Bamford’s arm-pit was adjudged to be offside, as he pointed to his team-mate as to where he wanted the ball! Leeds went on to lose the game 4-1.

Neto Stopped in His Tracks at Anfield

Liverpool 1-0 Wolves (December 2019)

With the hosts battling to claim their first title since 1990, Sadio Mane scored three minutes before half-time to put Liverpool on course for a valuable three points against an impressive Wolves side.

In first-half stoppage time, Wolves looked to have silenced the Kop with an equaliser from Pedro Neto, who fired low past Alisson.

After seeing numerous replays, even the commentators expected the goal to stand but VAR had other ideas. Narrowing it down to millimetres, the officials at Stockley Park decided Jonny was offside when supplying the cross for Neto.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Warren has been employed as a sport journalist for over two decades and as well as years of written experience, has also worked in other areas of the media including radio and television. Football has always been his number one passion, but has also commentated and written on a number of other sports including golf, cricket, tennis and rugby.
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