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Premier League talking points: Attwell right on Man Utd penalty, Bale back, City imperious


The Premier League saw VAR make headlines again as Manchester United drew 0-0 with Chelsea and Matthew Dunn has all the talking points from the weekend.


VAR was brought in to rid the game of human errors, not human beings.

Good for Stuart Attwell if he did show a little bit of humanity by commenting what a kerfuffle it would have been if Manchester United had been gifted yet another controversial penalty.

That does not mean he judged his decision on that fact.

The angles he was shown may or may not have included the one that appeared to show clearest whether Callum Hudson-Odoi handled the ball first.

Certainly it was not a “100 per cent penalty” as the Manchester United manager claimed in a bid to divert fans’ attention away from tactics which simply did not work against Chelsea.

Indeed, Attwell decided it was not clear and obvious enough for him to overturn a decision which nobody particularly appealed for at the time.

Good for him. And for showing his humanity with a bit of banter in a pressure situation too.


Roy Keane was sat snarling in the stands but it is a sign of how mellow the current Manchester United side are that Stuart Attwell was allowed to make his decision and even throw in the odd quip or two without a mass explosion.

The VAR monitors are frightening public and Keane would certainly have been doing everything he could to make sure the referee could feel the breath on his neck when he was watching the replays.

By the end of the game everybody was convinced it was the biggest miscarriage of justice ever, but after the incident itself there was scarcely a voice raised in protest.

Of course, football does not want a return to snarling groups of Red Devils always surrounding referees.

But the number of goalless draws they keep having against to other top sides is a sure sign they are beginning to show a little bit too much respect to their rivals.


If that is Gareth Bale when he is feeling happy again, Manchester City beware!

This weekend should have been the occasion of the Carabao Cup final, before the decision to postpone it until fans might have been able to attend.

A performance like that would have made it the perfect week for some long overdue silverware to be up for grabs.

But fear not, Tottenham fans.

If that was the first upturn of a smile in the corners of Bale’s mouth against Burnley, more is to come before the Carabao Cup final actually takes place on April 25.

By then, Bale should be really happy – the golf courses will have been back open for four weeks.


Football sold its soul to technology for one main reason – to rule out the “obvious errors”.

Well, we had one of those on Saturday, and Stockley Park did absolutely nothing.

Lee Mason had a moment. He rightly gave Brighton the go ahead to take a quick free kick, panicked when Lewis Dunk promptly put the ball in the far corner while the West Brom goalkeeper was still lining up his wall and blew his whistle again.

It should have been a goal. A clever goal. But the game had been stopped so it couldn’t count.

Mason needed an exit – all VAR offered was the fact that the ball had not crossed the line before the second whistle, so a goal could not be awarded.

Clearly, the ball was on its way in with or without the second whistle but the technology could not find a way out of the problem. Perhaps we’re just best off without it.


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