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How Things Would Be If The Refs Got It Right.


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Week 29

 At Arsenal, Lacazette scored even though the Lino's flag was raised for an offside.  VAR checked the action and it proved conclusively that there had been no offside.  It was a close call, and  Sian Massey, the AssRef, didn't raise the flag until the ball was in the net.  So, everything was done in a correct and orderly fashion and VAR funtioned as it is supposed to, correcting a clear and obvious error.  Not according to Moe, though.  "We should trust the linos," he burbled, "we don't need to involve anybody else."  What a surprise, a manager who wants no review of officials' decisions, as long as they're in his favour.

Burnley v Spurs ended 1 each, but Dyche's boys should have had a penalty for a foul by Davinson Sanchez on Chris Wood.  Sanchez had leapt into Wood's back, allegedly contesting a high ball, but in fact getting nowhere near it.  Anywhere on the pitch that action is a foul and a free kick, but somehow Jon Moss and VAR Craig Pawson thought it was a fair challenge.  In which case a coupla weeks off and a visit to SpecSavers are in order.

Elsewhere, Man Utd's first goal came from a free kick that wasn't; Lacazette was seized around the neck by Ogbonna and yanked about like a puppet on a string, but because he "put his arm out" (Weasel Gallagher) it was deemed 50 - 50 and no penalty;  and Bournemouth's goal against Liverpool came directly after a mighty shove in the back by Wilson on Gomez, unpenalised by Paul Tierney.

And somehow, Wilf Zaha, already booked, having been fouled by Capoue, raised his hand and shoved Capoue in the face, and yet was not further punished.  Instead, Anthony Taylor, having booked Capoue for the challenge, evened things up by booking Kouyate, for some reason.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:  Jack Grealish(2)  :/:  Henri Lansbury  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Wilfried Zaha(3)  :/:  Raul Jimenez  :/:  ShiteHawk Maddison (2)  :/:  Todd Cantwell :/: Mason Mount :/:  Bruno Fernandes :/: Eddie Nketiah :/:  Fred  :/:

Week 28

 Yet another example of ludicrous inability to see what's right in front of their eyes by the boys at Stockley Park.  This week it's Jon Moss and Eddie Smart (a catastrophic failure of nominative determinism, there) who were watching over Chris Kavanagh and his AssRefs at Everton.  It's the 91st minute, the ball is in United's area and is played into the path of Sigurdsson by Richarlison.  Sigurdsson hits the shot, which is well saved by De Gea, but Siggy is wiped out by a very late tackle by Wan-Bissaka, which is ignored by the referee and linos.  The ball loops out to Calvert-Lewin, who controls it beautifully and fires a shot towards goal.  Maguire, and this is the crucial bit, moves his foot to intercept the ball with his heel.  The ball races towards Sigurdsson, still on the ground, but he lifts his legs out of the way, and the ball goes into the net, De Gea having started to move across the goal, and unable to recover.  The goal is then chalked off by Moss and Smart on the grounds that Sigurdsson was offside and interfered with De Gea's ability to play the ball.  So, answers please to the following.  Why no penalty award to Everton for Wan-Bissaka's foul on Siggy as he shot?  How is Sigurdsson offside when the ball was deliberately played by Maguire? (Check the video, he clearly moves his foot to intercept it.) And even if he were offside, how is he preventing De Gea from either seeing or playing the ball?  He's on the ground, below De Gea's line of sight and nowhere near the goal line.  I cannot see how allegedly professional officials could possibly miss all three of these factors unless they have another agenda.  In other words, they cannot possibly be that incompetent, so what's really going on?

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:  Jack Grealish(2)  :/:  Henri Lansbury  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Wilfried Zaha(3)  :/:  Raul Jimenez  :/:  ShiteHawk Maddison (2)  :/:  Todd Cantwell :/: Mason Mount :/:  Bruno Fernandes

Week 27

 Leicester v Man City, not the finest hour of Paul Tierney, match referee, or David Coote, the VAR.  Leicester are penalised when Gundogan's shot is stopped by Dennis Praet's arm, swinging out as he turns his back.  Kevin De Bruyne is not penalised when a Maddison free kick, heading goalwards, is intercepted by his hands, as he stands in the wall.  Same officials, as near as dammit same events, different decisions.  The feeling that they're making it up as they go along is difficult to ignore.  To make matters worse, earlier in the day, the same Coote was VAR for Chelsea v Spurs.  Spud Lo Celso clearly stamps on Azpilicueta's leg and is only yellow carded after Coote and Co. say it wasn't serious foul play.  Take a look at the video - it's a horrible and deliberate act calculated to injure the player.  Short of pulling a Desert Eagle out of his shorts and blazing away it's hard to imagine a more "serious foul."  Later in the day the PGMOL admitted that, despite having multi angled slo-mo replays, two officials doing the review and  as much time as they needed, the VARs had got it wrong.  It should have been a red card.  Unfortunately, because the officials had seen the incident and dealt with it, albeit in the most ham-fisted, amateurish and incompetent fashion, there could be no retrospective action.  This takes the administration of the rules of the game to new heights of absurdity.  The PGMOL is in desperate need of reform, and Mike Riley needs sacking, he's a useless idiot.
Elsewhere, Son of Ron is suckered by Manure's Fernandes, as he flings himself over Foster's flailing arms.  Didn't alter the result, but it gives us a good idea of Fernandes' mind set.  And in the same game, Watford had a goal chalked off for a handball by Dawson.  The decision itself was harsh, as the ball seemed to hit his shoulder rather his arm, but the interesting thing was in the background of the video used for the VAR decision, where Maguire could be clearly seen grappling with Deeney to prevent him getting to the ball.  A blatant foul, but nothing given by any of the officials.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:  Jack Grealish(2)  :/:  Henri Lansbury  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Wilfried Zaha(3)  :/:  Raul Jimenez  :/:  ShiteHawk Maddison (2)  :/:  Todd Cantwell :/: Mason Mount :/:  Bruno Fernandes

Week 26

 Didn't have time to do a proper review of the week's proceedings, so I will confine myself to observing that when Boly netted for Wolves and the 'goal' was then chalked off by VAR, the Wolfie captain asked Mike Dean, the referee, why.  Dean replied that it was ruled offside.  "Who was offside?" came the follow up query.  "I don't know," said Dean.


CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:  Jack Grealish(2)  :/:  Henri Lansbury  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Wilfried Zaha(3)  :/:  Raul Jimenez  :/:  ShiteHawk Maddison (2)  :/:  Todd Cantwell

Week 25

 Only one result changer this time, at Bournemouth, where Anthony Taylor and VAR Stuart Atwell conspired to decide that the goalkeeper racing out of his goal, leaping in the air and punching an opponent in the face was not foul play.  Not a follow through after punching the ball, mark you, just a straightforward right hook.  I'm beginning to think that a prerequisite for membership of PGMOL is having every single brain cell bleached into submission by the FA.  A simply farcical decision, robbing Villa of a share of the points.  Competing with Taylor for Twat of the Day, though, was Kevin Friend and his VAR Simon Hooper at Liverpool.  Liverpool should have had a penalty for a Long rugby tackle on Firmino, and Southampton should have had one for a Firmino trip on Ings.  Not only that, but with Friend waving play on, Liverpool raced to the other end and scored their first goal, a double injustice.  Other incidents included Salah handling the ball in the Sot'on area, then shooting wide - not penalised, and Robertson playing a quite brilliant backpass to Alisson, which he picked up with impunity - "accidental pass", said Friend. Utter bullshit.  Elsewhere, Andy Madley made some kinda history by awarding a red card to Palace's Ward, then consulting the pitchside monitor and converting the red to yellow.  Excellent, but he blotted his record by booking Baldock for pulling Zaha's arm, but failing to book him again when he kicked Zaha comprehensively up in the air.  Mike Dean also got in on the act by only booking Sterling for a tackle on Alli identical to the one that had Aubameyang sent off and banned for three matches.  He then refused City a penalty when Aurier hacked down Aguero, allowing play to continue for about two minutes until the VAR told him he'd f'ked it up and that a penalty should be awarded.  By the way, if you want a good laugh, take a look at Sky Sports' RefWatch on Mondays, where Dermot Gallagher tries, with gradually increasing desperation and a rictus grin, to defend the frequently laughable decisions of the PGMOL boys over the weekend.  The baldy little weasel hops about, deploying what I reckon must be deliberately unintelligible shite to excuse unforgiveable decisions and rank poor performances from his mates.  It at least has the compensation of being funny, but the game is in a poor way if the MIB need this kind of advocate.


CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:  Jack Grealish(2)  :/:  Henri Lansbury  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Wilfried Zaha(3)  :/:  Raul Jimenez  :/:  ShiteHawk Maddison (2)  :/:  Todd Cantwell

Week 24

No result changers, not even any major VAR quibbles this week, though I would note that James Ward-Prowse did Wilf Zaha a huge favour.  Zaha, in his usual state of outraged miffedness, took exception to something W-P had done, or said, and pushed his hand, with an extended forefinger, into W-P's face.  Had W-P demonstrated 20% of Zaha's theatrical ability and collapsed to the turf clutching his eye, a red card would have followed as night follows day.  But he didn't.  He abjured the ludicrous play acting and got on with the game, allowing VAR to conclude that there had been 'No Foul Play'(!)


CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:  Jack Grealish(2)  :/:  Henri Lansbury  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Wilfried Zaha(3)  :/:  Raul Jimenez  :/:  ShiteHawk Maddison (2)  :/:

Week 23

No result changers, but another case of VAR stupidity to tarnish the system.  Just as VAR was beginning to demonstrate that it can be a force for good - getting several decisions correct in a timely and clear manner - Liverpool welcomed Man Utd and Paul Tierney, the VAR (born in Wigan) managed to disallow a Liverpool goal.  He did this in such a fashion that it prompted Graeme Souness to say "VAR isn't some kind of super-computer, perfect in every way, it's human error, and they don't know what they're doing, that's the bottom line."  Even Roy Keane agreed. Apparently Tierney's ruling was that Van Dijk wasn't going for the ball, and therefore had fouled De Gea causing him to drop the ball.  The fact is that Van Dijk had his back to De Gea, had his eyes on the ball, and had his arms down by his sides when contact was made.  After the ball hit the back of the net, De Gea spivved out, racing towards Craig Pawson, the onfield referee, shouting, waving his arms and jabbing his finger in Pawson's direction, for which he was booked.  Of course,  De Gea is such a terrific keeper that we all know that every one of the 27 goals conceded by Man Utd this season were the fault of the opposition, the referee, the ball boys, the sun in his eyes, or the noisy seagull behind the goal.  But this one was just a flat-out balls up, and should have stood.

I had thought that perhaps the ShiteHawk Maddison was a reformed character, not having caught him doing his Greg Louganis impressions lately.  But alas, it is not so.  He was at it again this weekend, and reappears in Cheat's Corner.


CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:  Jack Grealish(2)  :/:  Henri Lansbury  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Wilfried Zaha(3)  :/:  Raul Jimenez  :/:  ShiteHawk Maddison (2)  :/:

Week 22

Only one result changer, but it's a biggun.  Serge Aurier played the ball out for a throw, neatly striking the ball against Mane's leg in the process.  The AssRef gave the throw to Liverpool, from whch they moved smoothly to score their winning goal.  Given the current ruling that the ball hasn't crossed the line until all of it is beyond all the line, there's little doubt that the ball was still in play when it hit Mane, and the throw should have been Spuds'.  Dermot Gallagher, Sky's "Refwatch" expert, maintained that the AssRef was in the best position to see it and judge it, neatly skipping over the fact that he was on the other side of the field.  The goal was, naturally, checked by VAR for a possible handball and offside, but not, apparently, for an officiating blunder 10 seconds earlier.   Elsewhere, VAR's copybook was further besmirched by not spotting Tammy Abraham shoving Tarkowski in the back to get a free jump for Chelsea's second, and by declaring their had been 'no foul' when Lewis Dunk grabbed Walcott's arm and spun him in a quarter circle as he chased the ball into the Brighton area.  I dunno what kind of monitors they are using, but Ray Charles could have got that one right.  Most heat seems to have been expended on the chalking off of a West Ham effort against Sheff Utd on Friday.  VAR ruled the goal out for a handball by Rice, who gained possession when a header from a Sheff midfielder hit his hand, fell at his feet and allowed him to play the killer pass.  The law says that even an inadvertent handball will rule out a goal, so the decision was unquestionably right, no matter what Danny Murphy or Moe claim to be the case.

Zaha gets another entry into Cheat's Corner, even though his weaselly attempt to cheat a penalty was unsuccessful, as does Wolfie Jimenez.


CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:  Jack Grealish(2)  :/:  Henri Lansbury  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Wilfried Zaha(3)  :/:  Raul Jimenez

Week 21

Not much to whine about this week, as the MIB step up their game a tad ( 1 tad = a quarter of a teaspoon, 2 dashes, 4 pinches or 8 smidgens.)  No result changers, but Southampton should have had a penalty when Alderweireld intercepted a Bertrand cross with his arm - at a distance from the strike and well away from his body.  Honestly, if that's not a handball then nothing is.  Mike Dean refused to consider it handball, however, and naturally VAR Anthony Taylor agreed with him, even with the benefit of multiple angles and slow motion.  The VAR system has been a huge benefit in other countries, and should be here, but the FA/Premier League implementation and use of it has rendered it, and the officials involved in using it, a laughing stock.  Elsewhere, this week's Hero, Mark Noble of West Ham, successfully conned referee Graham Scott and VAR Lee Mason into awarding a penalty.  We have to let him keep the points for earning and scoring the spot-kick, but he's going into Cheat's Corner just the same..


CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:  Jack Grealish(2)  :/:  Henri Lansbury  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:

Week 20

A bonanza (sorry, Frank) week for Reffin cock-ups, so I'm just giving each a brief mention without delving too deeply into the evil conspiracies underlying them.  Worst by far, and the only real result changer, is Lee Mason at Newcastle v Everton.  Newcastle ended up on the wrong end of a 2 - 1, but arguably should have been winners by 3 - 2.  First Almiron was fouled by Michael Keane, I'm not sure whether VAR was involved in the decision, but it was a clear penalty, not given.  Then Andy Carroll was shoved over - no mean feat given the size of the man - by Sidibe's two handed shove.  Again, Mason and his pals did their Sergeant Schultz act and saw nothing.  To confirm the acuity of his and his Linos eyesight, a ball delivered into the Newkie box was headed well over the bar by Keane, head and shoulders above everyone else, and Mason awarded a corner to Everton.  Still, nothing came of it so no harm done, eh?  When the game's officiated by a bloke who can't even tell what colour shirt is playing the ball, questions need asking and answering.  Mason is not fit, in either sense of the word, to referee at the highest level.  At West Ham, Fabianski was guilty of a last man foul on Iheanacho, after the ball ahd been played past him, and David Coote indeed awarded the penalty, but only a yellow card to the keeper. Another inscrutable decision.  At Arsenal v Chelsea, Jorginho, already booked, hauled down Guendouzi in the middle of the field, a blatant professional foul.  The referee, Craig Pawson, decided to book Lacazette for protesting, rather than send off the perpetrator, who went on to score Chelsea's first goal when he should have been in the showers.  Elsewhere, Simon Hooper was suckered by a Lansbury dive into sending off Watford's Mariappa; Chris Kavanagh inserted himself into the play to divert the ball to De Bruyne, enabling him to make the killer assist pass to Aguero; and there were at least three, and possibly five cases where VAR ruled out goals for irrelevant offsides.  End of Rant.

Lansbury and Grealish are this week's diving f'kwits.  Must be catching at Villa.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:  Jack Grealish(2)  :/:  Henri Lansbury  :/:

Week 19

Haven't really had the time to scrutinise the Boxing Day calamities (we've had a string of house guests) but I could only detect one result changer with the swift review I managed.  At Wolves the home team whupped the 10 men of Man City with a goal from Jimenez, from a pass by Traore, who won the ball from Mendy with a solid, deliberate, and quite illegal shove in the back. Not spotted by Son of Ron, or any of the other 5 officials.  Shoulda been 2 - 2.

HarryKane had his cheek brushed by the flailing arm of a Brighton defender, and immediately collapsed, waving a scented handkerchief in front of his face like the fainting heroine of a Victorian melodrama.  DiverKane it is, and shall be for evermore.  Likewise a mere breath from a Norwich player was enough to cause GrealyBoy to hit the deck, and then sit there, waving his arms, while his teammates did their best to repel the Norwich raiders. Spanner.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma  :/:  Harry Kane (2)  :/:  Jack Grealish  :/:

Week 18

1982, semi-final of the World Cup, France v Germany.  It's 1-1 when France's Battiston is put through on goal with a terrific pass.  He advances to the edge of the area, where he tries a shot with the bouncing ball.  He misses, but is then knocked cold by the hurtling body of German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher, who has made no effort to play the ball, simply launching himself at Battiston.  Result - a goal kick.  The German is not even booked for an assault that knocked out a couple of Battiston's teeth, concussed him and left him carried off unconscious.  Such was the reaction to this abomination that I thought we'd never see the like again.  Unfortunately, at Spuds on Sunday, we did.  The outcome wasn't as serious for the victim - Marcos Alonso - but it was the very definition of an 'out of control' challenge featuring unnecessary force and disregard for the opponents health.  However, referee  Anthony Taylor, supported by the VAR, Andre Marriner, decided (to their everlasting shame) that a booking and a penalty kick was enough punishment for the dangerous lunatic action of the Spud keeper.  Utterly disgraceful, both by the player and the officials.

Gosling of Bournemouth and Bissouma of Brighton join the ranks of the cheating f'kwits, neither of them smart enough to fool the ref, though. 

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:  Dan Gosling  :/:  Yves Bissouma

Week 17

I'm not a fan of Manchester United, as you may have gathered by now, but the goal that Everton scored - actually deflected into his own net by Lindelof - came as a direct result of Calvert-Lewin jumping into De Gea with his arm crashing into the goalie's face.  No goal, yellow card for C-L and a free kick to United should have been the verdict, but Michael Oliver saw nothing, a la Sergeant Schultz, and the craven VAR, Craig Pawson, agreed.  At Southampton, Hammer Haller was the victim of a full body contact leap by Bertrand, but this is now quite legal, according to  Son of Ron and VAR Jon Moss.  And at Burnley, although it wouldn't have altered the result, novice referee Tim Robinson needed more help from his support staff and VAR Kevin Friend when Andy Carroll launched a flying elbow into the head of Ben Mee.  He awarded a yellow card, but it should clearly have been red.  In a rugby match it would be a sending off and a lengthy ban.  Naturally, Steve Bruce chose to squander some of the goodwill he's earned by defending the indefensible, but succeeded only in making himself look and sound like a muppet.   


Matteo Guendouzi joins the divers' club, being unable to get anywhere near the Man City goal, he opted for throwing himself down in the penalty area.  Sheer shite. 

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:  Matteo Guendouzi  :/:

Week 16

Grabbing an opponent round the neck and dragging them to the ground is such a dangerous manouevre that in Rugby, a game that encourages players to grab each other and fling them around, it is known as a 'neck roll' and is often punished by a red card.  Gary Cahill perpetuated just such a tackle this week, on Troy Deeney.  Not only did Son of Ron see nothing wrong with that, but his VAR, Andre Marriner, agreed with him.  So two senior referees have a clear view of one of the most dangerous moves in sport, yet decline to issue a red card, a yellow card or a penalty kick.  I'm used to official incompetence, but at this level it's bordering on criminality.   

At the Manchester Derby, Fred threw himself to the ground to try to block a cross.  The ball hit his hand - clearly in an 'unnatural position' since it was on the ground - but apparently this is no longer handball, and nothing was given.  In a similar event, Shaw threw his body in front of a cross in an attempt to block it and succeeded in deflecting the ball behind for a corner, off his elbow.  Apparently this is also no longer a handball, as nothing was given for this either.  A cynical man would guess that the handball rule had been amended to exclude ANY contact between upper limbs and the ball, as long as the limb in question was wearing a Manchester United shirt.

Three more Greg Louganis wannabe's this time.  Man Utd's Daniel James, Villa's John McGinn and our old friend Wobbler Zaha were all guilty of third rate efforts to dupe the referees, and were deservedly unsuccessful.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:  Daniel James(3)  :/:  John McGinn  :/:  Wilf Zaha (2)  :/:

Week 15

Two very similar incidents received very different reponses from the officials this week.  At Leicester, Watford's Mariappa was late into a tackle on Vardy, clipped his foot and brought him down.  "Stonewall" penalty, according to all the commentators and pundits.  Result - Craig Pawson books Vardy for diving and gives nothing.  Didn't alter the result of the match, though, so ho-hum, just another reffing/VAR cock-up.  At Man Utd, Sissoko launches a very similar tackle on Rashford, the main difference being that he doesn't quite tread ON Rashfords's foot, more like nestled up against it.  Rashford continues on his run, until his 'fouled' foot is about to hit the ground in his next stride, at which point it mysteriously folds itself backwards and refuses to reach the ground, resulting in Rashford hitting the deck. Result -  Paul Tierney awards a penalty and Michael Oliver, the VAR, refuses to overrule, and Man Utd have another three points they don't deserve.  So far this season Man United have been given 6 penalties in 15 games, with none awarded against them, twice the amount of the next best team, Liverpool.  Last season MU topped the penalty award charts with 12.  There may be an innocent explanation for this, but it looks extremely suspicious to me.  In the Mersey derby, Virgil van Dijk commited a red card plus penlty 'tackle' on Calvert-Lewin running into the Scouser's box.  Nothing given, nor was anything given for Robertson tripping Davies, falling on top of him and elbowing him in the back of the head.  I watched the shifty little baldy Dermot Gallagher desperately defending these decisions on Sky, and if I were the producer of that segment of the show, I'd sack the git - he's a disgrace.

One more diver this week, and Rashford may have conned all the officials and cameras at MU, but he's not getting past my eagle eye - he goes into Cheat's Corner.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:  Marcus Rashford  :/:

Week 14

The rebound from last week's impressive VAR performance wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it might be.  In fact, just a single instance of VAR blindness marred the proceedings, which may be good news unless you're Watford.  The problem arose at Southampton, Michael Oliver in charge of the whistle and our Australian friend Jarred Gillett on VAR, where the home team's first goal and winning margin was scored by Danny Ings following a blatant handball by Djenepo.  Not a brush against the back of a wrist, but a full blown, hand-to-ball contact that moved the ball into perfect position to allow the pass that Ings scored from.  An offside toe 25 yards from goal and 10 seconds before the score disqualifies the goal, but a handball visible to Ray Charles doesn't.  Some explanation please?

Two divers this time, and we call out Ben Chilwell of Leicester and McBurnie of Sheff Utd., although this may be a tad harsh on Chilwell since he was getting out of the way of a defender's lunge.  In fact, if 'attempting to kick' an opponent is classed as foul play, maybe Chilwell should have had the penalty anyway, even though the attempt failed.  Plenty of scope for more confusion here.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:  Ben Chilwell  :/:  Ollie McBurnie  :/:

Week 13

Astonishingly, I couldn't find any examples of VAR screwing things up this week.  Admittedly, there were a couple of cases where decisions should have been different, but they weren't the sort of things VAR gets involved in.  I'm thinking of Southampton's first goal against the Arse, which came from a free kick taken from the wrong place and with the ball still moving, unspotted by Stuart Atwell.  However, the goal was brilliantly executed and demonstrated quick thinking and great control, so, even with my Arsenal fan's hat on, I couldn't recommend striking it off.  At WHam, Michael Oliver booked Diop for handball after he'd been pulled to the ground by HarriKane and knocked the ball with his hand as he fell.  Completely arse about face, but pretty much par for many of Mr Oliver's decisions.

Could this be the beginning of VAR working properly?  Will next week continue the trend, or will we be back to throwing stuff at the TV and choking on our Sugar Puff sandwiches?  I think I know, but I'm hoping to be proved wrong.

Only one diver again this time, and it's Neil Maupay of Brighton, whose efforts went unrewarded by Mike Dean.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)  :/:  Neil Maupay  :/:

Week 12

Odd how the worst refereeing seems to occur in the biggest games innit? The top of the table clash between Liverpool and Man City was officiated by Michael Oliver, on the whistle, with Linos  Burt and Bennett, fourth official Mike Dean and VAR Paul Tierney.  You'd think with that amount of experience in the officiating ranks, they'd be able to get it right, wouldn't you?  Yeah, you'd be quite wrong.  The refusal by all of them to award a penalty for Alex-Arnold's handball is inexplicable. Without going into a forensic analysis, none of the potentially exculpating conditions were met, and a penalty should have been given.  This would remove Fabinho's goal from the tally, as it was scored immediately after the non-decision, and would give City a 1-0 lead. No problems with the goals from Salah (not offside), Mane and Bernardo Silva, which would have made the score 2 - 2, but the clincher was the failure to penalise Mane for a quite clear shove in the back on Raheem Sterling.  Sterling went down, of course, and I assume VAR looked at it and somehow reached the conclusion that although Mane had obviously shoved him, it wasn't hard enough to cause him to fall.  Just how they determine what is a 'hard enough' shove in the back, is another mystery.  Anyway, it now seems that merely 'attempting to trip' an opponent in the box will attract a penalty, but actually shoving them in the back may not.  How much further up their own arses can the FA get? They can already taste the Brylcreem.

Elsewhere, there was wide disbelief and scorn heaped on the VAR decision to penalise Sheff Utd's Lundstram for offside in the build up to a McGoldrick 'goal' against Spuds.  If you didn't see it, Lundstram was out on the right wing when he received the ball, he crossed it and it was headed away by Dier, but straight to Sheffield's Fleck.  Fleck then laid the ball off to Stevens, who provided a terrific cross for McGoldrick to tap in.  The fact that it was only Lundstram's toe that was ruled offside, and that the technology is not accurate enough to make decisions with that degree of precision, AND that after the 'offside' the ball was headed clear by a defender (new 'phase' rule) all suggest that the ruling was erroneous.  Sheff thereby robbed of the win.  Burnley's opening goal came directly from a corner which should have been a goal kick - didn't change the result, but it's the type of officiating error that is never corrected.  And Guendouzi grabbed Soyuncu's shoulder as he ran towards a cross into the Arsenal box, but was absolved of wrongdoing by VAR, although EVERYBODY else knew it should have been a penalty.

By the way, just heard Neil Swarbrick, the FA man responsible for implementing VAR, claiming that it's working very well and he wouldn't change anything about it, presumably not even the decision that earned Brighton a penalty and all three points against Everton when Keane supposedly fouled Connolly, and for which the FA have apologised and admitted VAR was wrong.

Only one diver clearly spotted this week, and it's Private Fraser, who tried to deceive Son of Ron at Newcastle, but unfortunately did it when SoR was actually looking at him.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/:  Ryan Fraser(2)

Week 11

Two results altered by fantastically bad refereeing this week. At Villa, the home team were doing well to hold off the Scousers until late in the game, when Robertson bagged an excellent equaliser.  Shortly after that, Oxbow-Chamberpot dramatically collapses while running close to Nakamba, and Jon Moss is fooled into giving a free kick.  This is not reviewed, because it's just a free kick, and Alex-Arnold's shot is blocked anyway.  However, the resulting corner is fired in and Mane gets his head on it, sending it into the net.  Villa robbed, Liverpool with 2 more undeserved points.  This was a shame, but it was nothing compared to the riot of cock-ups at Goodison.  Dele Alli clearly handled the ball in his own penalty area, contesting a header from a corner, Son of Ron gave nothing and after 3 minutes worth of VAR reviews, Anthony Taylor decided not to award a penalty.  Son Heung-Min was blatantly fouled by Mina, who threw himself down and rolled into Son's legs like one of those giant cheeses that hurtle down Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire.  This was also reviewed by the VAR, and once again he saw something that nobody else could see and ruled it not a foul.  Richarlison, staying on his feet for a change, got past Sanchez with the ball, and Sanchez whipped out a foot and hacked at his leg.  This was also deemed no foul.  I believe there is an offence against the FA's code of conduct known as 'Bringing the Game Into Disrepute,'  and everyone involved in this farcical implementation of VAR should be up on a fizzer.  It works in other sports and in other countries, so why is it only the English who are too incompetent to watch a TV screen?

More divers than a Jacques Cousteau birthday party this week.  Oxnard-Chambermaid wasn't the only Scouse diver, as Mane was at it as well, and in the Blue part of town, Richarlison dived so many times he could have sold advertising on his boot soles.  The Mank Martial was also trying it on, but not well enough to fool Chris Kavanagh, and Wilfried Zaha, the worst balanced man in the Premier League, failed to convince Paul Tierney that he hadn't tripped himself.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Callum Hudson-Odoi  :/:   Sadio Mane(2) :/:  Anthony Martial  :/:  Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot  :/:  Wilfried Zaha  :/:   Richarlison de Andrade  :/: 

Week 10

Jarred Gillett was the VAR for the Arsenal v Palace match, an Australian who had never reffed in the Premier League and who acquired a reputation in his native land for being shite.  Somehow, viewing the contest in the Palace box between Chambers and three Palace players, he decided that Chambers was the guilty party and that no penalty was warranted.  Likewise, it was he who overruled Son of Ron to give a penalty against Chambers in favour of Zaha, a serial diver.  I'll just tell you what our old friend Mark Clattenburg said about that decision -   "Martin Atkinson was right to book the Palace man for simulation. He was in a perfect position to make the call, too. Calum Chambers' leg was planted and Zaha threw himself to the ground."  Elsewhere VAR paused the Newcastle v Wolves match to examine a potential shirt pull by Lascelles on Wolfie Doherty.  The replay clearly showed Lascelles with a fistful of Doherty's shirt, but, astonishingly, it was ruled not a foul by the VAR, Graham Scott.  I can see how a handball or a trip could be deemed accidental and possibly therefore not a foul, but a shirt pull?  How do you unintentionally yank on someone's shirt?  And to finish the VAR for the week, Man Utd were awarded a penalty when Daniel James, serial diver, altered his running line to collide with Norwich's Godfrey and threw himself down.  Being Man Utd of course, the verdict was a foregone conclusion.  Elsewhere, David Silva was retrospectively awarded City's third goal against Villa, when the Dubious Goals Panel concluded that he had touched the ball into the net, an action which meant Sterling was offside and the goal should have been disallowed, had the VAR had access to the same video evidence used by the DGP.  How come they don't?

The ShiteHawk Maddison was up to his old tricks at Southampton, flinging himself to the turf to buy a free kick just out side the area, which he subsequently banged in. Leicester were leading 7-0 at the time.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/: ShiteHawk Maddison  :/:  Hudson-Odoi  :/:  

Week 09

At Leicester, a potential 2nd goal for Burnley was chalked off after the VAR decided that Chris Wood's accidental ankle tap on Jonny Evans was a foul (Evans would never have reached the ball anyway, but this is not relevant to the foul/no foul judgement.)  At Man Utd, Lindelof kicked Origi's leg from behind, nowhere near the ball, but Son of Ron didn't see it, much as Jon Moss didn't see the Wood/Evans incident.  MU collected the ball, raced down the pitch and scored.  After extensive VAR action, the goal was allowed to stand; that is, Lindelof was not penalised for doing exactly the same thing as Wood, who was.  The only significant difference between the two events was that Lindelof's action was deliberate, where Wood's was not.  At Wolves, Raul Jimenez used his upper arm to control the movement of the ball before burying it past Angus Gunn, and was not too surprised to have it ruled out by  the VAR for handball.  At Spurs, Dele Alli used exactly the same tactic to control the ball before netting against Watford, but the VAR allowed the goal to stand, once he'd worked out which button to press.  In the same match, Vertonghen clearly and obviously slid into Deulofeu from behind, hooked his legs and sent him flying.  The VAR reviewed this as well, but declined to award a penalty.  John Brooks - mark that name - was the VAR, and if he'd been alive in 1986 he would have waved play on after Maradona's Hand of God.  This whole business with VARs is now, as Lewis would say, completely beyond the pale.  You'd think that having the officials able to see what happened, with slow motion and multiple angles, would improve their decision making.  But in a typically English fashion, they've decided to assert their authority by denying the referee sight of the video recordings (the FA have instructed refs not to use the expensive pitch-side monitors) and leaving the decision making to barely qualified yes-men (Brooks has never refereed a Premier League game, and is not a Select Group 1 referee) who are well aware that their own decisions may shortly be reviewed by the same guys they are themselves reviewing.  The game deserves better than this.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane :/:  Danny Rose(2) :/:

Week 08

Week 8 and I was only able to spot one shocking error, but that was more than enough.  Liverpool faced losing their 100% record against Leicester, so in the 95th minute Mane feels a touch on his left foot from Albrighton, which somehow causes his right leg to collapse underneath him.  The referee, Chris Kavanagh, buys this ludicrous shit and awards a penalty, which Milner scores to preserve the Scouser's winning run.  I though VAR was supposed to stop this kind of cock-up, but it now appears that any player feeling any kind of contact from a defender - even one they have themselves engineered - can now plummet to the turf and expect a penalty.  It's a shambles, but then it's being run by the FA, so what else could we expect.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur :/: Sadio Mane

Week 07

Week 7 had nothing of interest for me. One diver in McArthur of Palace, but no mindbending result twisting cock-ups we've come to enjoy so much.  Fingers crossed for next week.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose :/:  James McArthur

Week 06

Week 6:- Having been robbed of my usual viewing platform, complete with slow-mo, pause and rewind and magnify facilities, my examination of this week's Reffin' about has necessarily been a bit limited.  Nevertheless, with the assistance of Lewis and his eagle-eyed, completely unbiased review system, we have managed to spot a coupla clangers.  Arsenal's 10 man comeback against Villa should have ended in a draw, as  Jon Moss failed to penalise Sokratis for a completely nailed-on handball, and the VAR just kept nice and quiet like a good little boy and said nowt.  This decision is utterly inexplicable.  The FA apparently gave Match of the Day commentators five different reasons why a hand/ball contact would NOT be penalised, but absolutely none of them applied in this case.  So Jon Moss gets it laughably wrong, and VAR stays laughably silent.  If it weren't so funny you'd be in tears.  Elsewhere David Coote at Burnley refused Norwich a penalty for a clear McNeil foul on Byram, and also, just to be even handed, refused Burnley a penalty for a 'clear and obvious™' hack down of Barnes. These wouldn't have altered the result, just Burnley's clean-sheetery.

And yes, Danny Rose, your god-awful dive was spotted, and you're going in the book, you cheating git.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:  Danny Rose

Week 05

Two more gratuitous errors this week that defeated VAR and altered the results of matches.  Manchester United, surprise surprise, were the benficiaries of  Son of Ron's poor eyesight, as he failed to see Andreas Pereira handle the ball before Rashford rushed towards it and earned a penalty.  I though hand contact by attacking players, regardless of intent, that preceded a goal was supposed to negate said goal, but apparently handling the ball immediately before a defender's foul that earns a penalty is a different category, and not handball at all.  At Sheffield, Lee Mason and his Linos not only missed a clear and obvious handball by James Ward-Prowse, but refused to watch the video of the incident, presumably because it would have slowed the game down.  Or possibly because none of them believed they could possibly have made a mistake.  It's hard to tell the difference.  Whatever, Leicester and Sheff Utd were swindled out of a point, and MU and Soton each have 2 points they didn't deserve.

Elsewhere, Paul Tierney allowed Everton's Calvert-Lewin to balance on Steve Cook's shoulders for ages before heading his goal, and also allowed Everton's wall to stand no more than 7 yards from a Bournemouth free kick, despite having paced out the distance and being in possession of a can of Gillette Super-Shave.

Divers this week include WHammer Noble, collapsing with no discernible contact in the Villa box, and Villa's El Mohamady, who got Masuaku sent off by the eagle eyed Mike Dean, who saw a foul that even the most advanced high-tech cameras couldn't.


CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:  Mark Noble  :/:  Elmohamady  :/:

Week 04

After 4 weeks of last season, without the all-seeing eye of the VAR to help them, officials had managed to alter the result of two matches through wrong decisions.  This season we've had five.  Somebody needs to get a grip before the whole officiating community is tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.  This week it's Palace v Villa, where Villa's equaliser was chalked off by Kevin Friend due to an alleged dive by Grealish.  It was not a dive, Grealish was chopped by Gary Cahill, something that Friend would have known if he'd bothered to review the incident himself on the pitchside monitor.  Oh, wait!  Despite the clubs forking out £mucho to have the pitchside facilities installed, at the insistence of the FA, the refs have been told NOT TO USE THEM!  Well, we can't have the refs being able to see what actually happened, can we?  According to Lewis this whole business is 'Beyond the pale!'  And at Newcastle, there was a replay of the Laporte-accidental- handball-Jesus-goal-chalked-off incident. This time it was a Newkie hand that diverted the ball, unspotted by Graham Scott, to Schar, who scored.  Obviously, it was reviewed by VAR, but incredibly, allowed to stand,  What the actual fuck is going on?  Does nobody have any idea of what the rules are?  Elsewhere both Dele Alli and Harry Kane executed blatant dives trying to cheat a penalty out of Son of Ron, but neither was booked.  Kane's dive did concede an indirect free kick for obstruction, but as he deliberately ran into Sokratis and then fell down, that's a ridiculous conclusion (Ian Wright - "I don't want to say he dived, but he doesn't look like he's trying to stay on his feet.")   And West Ham should have had a penalty for a foul on Haller, seen but not given by Paul Tierney, and Peter Bankes(?) was in a generous mood at Leicester as tackles by Tielemans and Lerma could easily have been red cards.

No diving from Daniel James this week, so maybe Ollie has the pliers on the nutsack.  But we can tick off Dele Alli, Harry Kane (oh yes it was, Harry, despite your bogus analysis), and Callum Wilson.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:  Dele Alli  :/:  Harry Kane  :/:  Sergeant Callum Wilson  :/:

Week 03

To think I was worried that VAR would eliminate the refereeing howlers and give us nothing to talk about.  What a silly boy.   At Norwich, Son of Ron fails to spot Stieperman flattening Azpilicueta in the area, robbing Chelsea of a penalty.  At Bournemouth, Andre Marriner and his SailorBoys must have seen Kylie Walker hacking down Nathan Ake, because he gave a free kick, but declined to issue a yellow card.  So players can rest assured that if Marriner's your ref, as long as you don't actually break bones, you'll be OK.  These were egregious acts of gamesmanship, which were not reviewed by VAR and were not result changers.  At Spurs, however, Newcastle's Lascelles dived full length into Harry Kane's feet, bringing him down with a 'tackle' that is illegal even in Rugby.   Mike Dean saw nothing wrong and declined to award the penalty that should have given Spuds their equaliser.  VAR did review this, but, astonishingly, said no penalty.  So there's another handy tip for defenders - if it looks like an opponent is going to get past you with the ball, 'accidentally' lose your balance and fall headlong into their legs.  You'll be fine.  And, much as it pains me to say it, Manchester United were denied a penalty when Kelly wrestled Martial to the ground.  Short of executing an osoti-gari (major outer leg reap) there wasn't much more Kelly could have done to halt Martial's progress, but apparently it was all perfectly legal, according to Paul Tierney.    What appears to be the case now is that VAR won't alter decisions just because they're wrong.  They can be wrong and VAR can review them but won't alter the on-field call unless it's 'blindingly obvious'.  This is, by any standards, a shit system, and I suspect has been implemented in such a useless fashion by people who don't approve of it at all and want it rapidly discredited.

In Cheat's Corner we welcome a second appearance in three weeks for Man Utd prodigy Daniel James.  Solskjaer needs to get a firm grip on his nuts and keep twisting until he promises to stop diving, the scabby little fucker.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:

Week 02

More hassle at Man City, as  Michael 'More Please' Oliver and his Ragamuffins fail to spot Lamela bundling over Rodrigo in the area and award nothing, and neither did VAR.  City's displeasure was exacerbated in the dying seconds as an apparent goal by Jesus was ruled out by VAR for handball by Laporte. As IFAB  (International Football Association Board) have decided that any handball, deliberate or not, in the build up to a goal, will rule that goal out, the Jesus decision was correct.  But we now have two classes of handball. An attacking player handling the ball, even accidentally, will be penalised, but a defending player can escape any censure by VAR.  Witness the blocking of Watford's free kick against Brighton by Glenn Murray, who was leaping in the air with his arms crossed in front of his body when he deflected the ball away. A more 'unnatural' position for his arms would be hard to imagine, but the VAR decision was no penalty.  So, the ball accidentally brushing Laporte's arm IS handball, but Murray's deliberate leap into the path of a free kick is not.  It's something of a miracle, isn't it, that the lawmakers have taken a system designed to let everyone know what has happened, and twisted it, stomped it, melted and reformed it, so that it is even more blatantly unfair than the system it is replacing.

CHEAT'S CORNER

Daniel James registers his second entry before 218 other players have appeared even once.  Somekinda shit record?

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:  Daniel James  :/: Daniel James(2)  :/:

Week 01

I suspected that the introduction of VAR would lead to fewer laughable errors, and so far that seems to be true.  Several events were VARred and official decisions were upheld or overturned as appropriate.  Can't argue too much with that - well, I can't, you may feel differently.  It didn't help Mike Dean spot Gundogan bundling over Haller to win the ball for City's 5th goal, even though he was looking right at it.  Fortunately the result wasn't affected, even if the score was. 

CHEAT'S CORNER

Some guys just can't wait to get cheating, they've probably been practising all summer.  Step forward Ryan 'Private' Fraser of Bournemouth, and Miguel Almiron of Newcastle.  The VAR is watching boys, you're gonna need to do better than that, ya cheating f'kwits.

Ryan Fraser  :/:  Miguel Almiron  :/:

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