Chelsea 3-1 Leeds: Premier League fans debate VAR after 'near-identical' Liverpool moment


Premier League fans haven't exactly taken to VAR since it was implemented last year.

There were always going to be controversial moments when the technology was first installed ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, but it's only taken 18 months for many supporters to demand its removal.

In fact, a recent survey by BBC Sport found that only one-third of football fans thought that VAR had made the game better and 44% of voters deemed it to have made things worse.

VAR controversy

So it should come as no surprise that VAR has been in the news again for controversial reasons this weekend with bizarre decisions straddling the Manchester United and Chelsea games.

First up, West Ham United fans are right to feel aggrieved about the equaliser they conceded to the Red Devils on Saturday night judging by the pass from Dean Henderson in the build-up.

Even Match of the Day were able to establish that the long-ball from the United shot-stopper that culminated in Paul Pogba finding the net had actually gone out of play.


Missed penalty for Leeds?

However, a few eagle-eyed supporters on Twitter have noticed that there might have been some less obvious VAR controversy during Chelsea's 3-1 win over Leeds United shortly afterward.

That's because Ben Chilwell appeared to have been lucky not to concede a penalty when he kicked Ian Poveda, who didn't go to ground, in the area while trying to clear a long ball.

Sound all that spicy? On its own, no, but when compared to a similar incident the week before that befell Liverpool, this seemingly innocuous tackle becomes incredibly juicy indeed.

That's because the Reds conceded a stoppage-time penalty against Brighton & Hove Albion when an attempted clearance from Andrew Robertson hacked down Danny Welbeck.


Should Liverpool fans feel annoyed?

What makes the situation even more fascinating is that Kevin Friend was the VAR who awarded Brighton the penalty as well as the match official who decided against a spot-kick for Leeds.

Some fans have called the incidents 'identical' and that the only difference is that the Leeds man didn't go to ground, which, of course, wouldn't make a difference in an ideal world.

Check out the reaction to the incident down below:

Going to ground

As much as Robertson's swing and a miss seemed to have more venom behind it than Chilwell's, you can certainly see why Liverpool fans would feel aggrieved when the same official was on hand.

Besides, regardless of the amount of wallop, it seems clear from the footage that the England left-back made contact with Leeds' number seven and didn't get a touch on the ball either.

For me, it comes down to the fact that Poveda didn't go to ground, which is painful for me to say, but I'd be naive to think that the reactions of players to contact didn't have a huge influence on referees.


It's impossible to know for sure, but it wouldn't be outrageous to imagine that Leeds would have been given a penalty if Poveda reacted similarly to Welbeck and gave Friend a quick flashback.

It could, after all, have made a massive difference to the game with Leeds pushing for an equaliser at 2-1 and Chelsea's win propelling them above Liverpool at the Premier League summit.

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