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VAR in the Premier League: Former footballers react to first use of Video Assistant Referee system

One of the many VAR decisions at the London Stadium
One of the many VAR decisions at the London Stadium

The Premier League welcomed the Video Assistant Referee system on its opening weekend, with the new technology providing several talking points.

Manchester City were 2-0 up against West Ham at the London Stadium and thought they had a third in the second half, only for Mike Dean to rule Gabriel Jesus' goal out for an offside infringement by Raheem Sterling.

Later in the game West Ham were on the receiving end of VAR however when Sergio Aguero was ordered to retake his missed penalty after encroachment from West Ham's Declan Rice - the Argentinian scored at the second time of asking.

Much of the backlash against VAR in this game appeared to be prompted by the fact Sterling was offside by a matter of millimetres, leading some to question whether the laws of the game needed to be changed.

Three goals were ruled out in total by VAR and over 70 checks were made on decisions over the weekend. It will no doubt take some time to adapt.

We take a look at some of the reaction to its introduction...


The technology had a high-profile supporter, with former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher:


Sterling shoulders the burden of first call:


Former England forward Stan Collymore was irritated by some fan reaction meanwhile, tweeting:


Former England midfielder Danny Murphy wants VAR to be scrapped.

"Something doesn't feel right at the moment when we're watching football," Murphy told talkSPORT.

"I know the majority of what VAR did at the weekend was good - corrected some decisions that would not have been - but if you gave me the choice I'd knock VAR on the head.

"I agree with the Wolves manager (Nuno Espirito Santo). Two minutes celebrating, then you take away that joy. Then the other fans are celebrating a non-goal."

LISTEN: Our football team run through the latest news, views and incidents from the Premier League
LISTEN: Our football team run through the latest news, views and incidents from the Premier League

Murphy was also critical of City having a goal disallowed: "Do we really want to see goals disallowed for an offside that's an armpit ahead of another armpit by four millimetres?

"He might be offside by four millimetres by the letter of the law. But it's an entertainment business, isn't it?

"The Sterling goal that was allowed later, there was muted celebrations.

"You could see he was thinking 'Is this going to get taken away?' and the Man City fans were clapping. It was like applause at the end of the ballet!"


Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker described himself as "pro VAR" on social media:


Deal with it, is basically what former Man United defender and current England Women boss Phil Neville says:


VAR rules out a Wolves goal against Leicester in their Premier League game
VAR rules out a Wolves goal against Leicester in their Premier League game

"We're going to have to play with our hands chopped off" - So said Wolves captain Conor Coady, who was far from impressed after VAR denied his side a winner at Leicester.

Leander Dendoncker fired home after his initial header struck the arm of team-mate Willy Boly, whose back was turned, at point-blank range. As with offside, there are no grey areas here - any touch with the hand which leads to a goal being scored will be penalised under the new handball law.

"If that is not a goal, there is a problem," a frustrated Coady said after the game.

"They have brought VAR in to rectify all those problems but I think it has gone too far the other way now."


'It's vital', says former referee Dermot Gallagher:


Former City striker Shaun Goater joked about the scoreline, tweeting: "Did @ManCity win 5-0 or we waiting on VAR?" while another former City player David Brightwell said: "It's going to be a looooonnnngggg season watching this farce."


Major League Soccer became one of the first leagues to use a video review system in 2017. Former USA player Alexi Lalas jokingly tweeted: "Welcome to the #VAR party @premierleague."



With the entire Premier League season to come, this will be far from the last time VAR steals the spotlight.

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Most Read Football

Football gossip and transfer rumours from the back pages
1

Paper Talk: £60m Eriksen offer

Real Madrid will make a last-gasp £60m bid for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen before the September 2 deadline.

Scroll down to watch the highlights of Sheffield United's win over Crystal Palace2

Battling Blades deserve their win

Watch the highlights as Sheffield United secured victory in their first Premier League clash at Bramall Lane in 12 years.

3

Watch: Puscas brace earns victory

Cardiff fell to a tame 3-0 defeat at Reading, who had George Puscas to thank for getting them off the mark in the Sky Bet Championship.

Watch every goal from Saturday's Premier League fixtures4

Watch: Premier League highlights

Watch all the highlights from Saturday's Premier League matches as Liverpool, Norwich, Everton and all won but Man City were struck by VAR agony.

Romelu Lukaku has swapped Manchester United for Inter Milan
5

Transfer Window: Done deals

Get all the complete signings in the summer 2019 football transfer window from the Premier League, Sky Bet EFL and Europe.

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