West Ham United secured an impressive victory at Leeds United on Friday night.
David Moyes’ second spell in east London keeps gathering pace as he elevated the Hammers to fifth in the Premier League, all but dispelling memories of the club’s relegation battle last season.
West Ham made the trip to Elland Road having already secured victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City, Fulham, Sheffield United and Aston Villa across the 2020/21 campaign.
Leeds 1-2 West Ham
But locking horns with a team managed by Marcelo Bielsa, fresh from being nominated by FIFA in their coach of the year award, is never an easy task with their inevitably-indefatigable style of play.
Nevertheless, the Hammers managed to bag themselves three points by fighting back from 1-0 down, joining Leicester and Wolves as clubs to have won at Elland Road in the league this season.
Tomáš Souček drew the scores level before the break with a fine header from Jarrod Bowen’s corner, before Angelo Ogbonna converted the winner with a set-piece strike of his own late on.
However, the biggest talking point of the game actually revolved around the least important goal and the circumstances through which Mateusz Klich had fired Leeds into the lead from the penalty spot.
Patrick Bamford won a spot-kick for the home side after just six minutes, but Klich saw his effort from 12 yards denied by a fine save from Lukasz Fabianski… or so he thought.
That’s because VAR spotted that Fabianski had actually been off his line by the finest of margins when Klich made contact with the ball, facilitating a retake that the Leeds man duly converted.
Cech wants the rules changed
Yes, that’s right, the former Arsenal shot-stopper uploaded a screenshot of Fabianski being mere millimetres off his line and offered the fascinating statistics behind this cruelest of regulations.
Cech wrote: “How is any goalkeeper supposed to cover an area of 7m32cm by 2m44cm without any foot movement while the players shoot from 12 yards with average speed of 70 mph which takes the ball 0.35 seconds to cross the goal line is beyond my understanding…
“It is easy to criticise without giving any solution so here it is: CAN THE REFEREE JUST MAKE A SECOND LINE 4 FEET FROM THE GOAL LINE USING THE SPRAY AND THE PENALTY HAS TO BE SAVED IN BETWEEN?”
Cech is spot on
It shouldn’t take a goalkeeping legend to point out that forcing goalkeepers to stay superglued to their line is an almost impossible task when it comes to dive for a penalty at the crucial moment.
Yes, there have been instances over the years when ‘keepers have gained an unfair advantage by barrelling out of their goal, but number ones shouldn’t be punished for margins this trivial.
Only time will tell whether Cech’s suggestion will gain any traction, but such a head-scratching incident will do nothing aside from amplifying the discontent with VAR across the Premier League.