Giovani Lo Celso could’ve been sent off twice on Saturday as he spent most the 90 minutes auditioning to be a cancan dancer with his high boot antics. As it was, he got sent off zero times, eventually collecting a belated solitary yellow card in the 81st minute.
The most egregious incident was of course the leg-breaker of a challenge earlier in the second half on Chelsea captain César Azpilicueta, which was missed not only by the match referee, but by VAR after a two-minute, dozen-replay delay. For the second time in six days, a blatant red card by the opposition at Stamford Bridge was somehow not called after two sets of supposedly professional refereeing eyes looked at it.
We have asked why VAR did not give a red card for that Lo Celso incident. We have been told 'it wasn't a clear and obvious error because VAR didn't feel there was anywhere else for him to put his foot'. Give me strength.— Mark Chapman (@markchapman) February 22, 2020
What made today’s incident even more infuriating was that the PGMOL (the referees’ organization) admitted their error even before the match had ended, releasing the following statement to BT Sport.
“[The] view of PGMOL is that it should have been a red card as it ticked the boxes – intensity and point of contact. But it’s a human being making the subjective decision and he didn’t think it was a red card.”
Thanks for that, I guess? We can stick that up our pipe and smoke it.
The “human” behind the technology in this case was David Coote, who’s been a Premier Leaguer referee for only two years. Will he face any repercussions for his hilariously bad “subjective decision”. Not likely!
Lampard was understandably furious with this latest incident, even if in this case, unlike on Monday, it did not matter in the end.
“It isn’t good enough. It’s two VAR’s in two games. It’s harder to speak about it when you’ve lost. Everybody in the world saw that it was a red. It’s too late to do that. The game should be over. I hate to call for red cards, but when they’re endangering - that’s a leg breaker of a tackle, without a doubt.”
-Frank Lampard; source: BT Sport via SI
The Saga of VAR thus rolls on, taking the shine off the Premier League. Changes are needed, that’s entirely way too obvious at this point, and the sooner the better.