‘Plucky underdogs’ Newcastle United robbed by ‘the sh*te of VAR’

Editor F365
Kylian Mbappe scores v Newcastle
Kylian Mbappe scores v Newcastle

It can be hard to feel sorry for Newcastle but on Tuesday night they were truly done by VAR.

We also have thoughts on Arsenal’s defence, Matty Cash and more. Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com


Football is broken
I’ve now seen VAR at its worst. Off his chest onto his arm. Penalty! Bollocks. Every week, the shite of VAR sends me towards watching Chorley. I’ve been going to old Trafford for 45 years but really, It’s now rubbish.
Tony Clarke


…So it’s not just the Premier League where disgraceful VAR decisions are made? That penalty decision makes a mockery of the game. Gutted for Newcastle which is mental because I didn’t even want them to get a result. But to have a win ripped from them for that is not on.
Matt (LFC)


…I am not a Newcastle supporter but saw the match and thought that penalty decision was ridiculous. I could be wrong, but did UEFA not clarify before the season started that a ball accidentally deflected by a player onto their own hand/arm is not handball?

Taken from the IFAB laws of game:

“Not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence”.

Good to hear. Common Sense for a change.

“It is an offence if a player:

deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, for example moving the hand/arm towards the ball

touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger. A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation. By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and being penalised”.

Nope to all of that. Never a handball. But perhaps the worst bit about the whole debacle was the fact that two similar incidents happened in the same game and were treated differently. The first was not penalised, the second was. Wtf?

The inconsistencies, which have only been magnified by VAR, are absolutely infuriating. Instead of talking about a great result for Newcastle, we are forced to spend yet more time debating the competency of officials. Sort it out FIFA/UEFA/FA.
Garey Vance, MUFC


Disgrace that. Plucky little underdogs Newcastle undone by an oil rich club who are only there because of their billions. Game’s gone…
Kevin, Dublin

READ: Howe hypocritical in the extreme about home fan ‘pressure’ but Newcastle were cheated by PSG pen


Love the Stockport Iniesta
2 nil down at halftime and it ends up 3-2, with City top of the group. First time City have won a CL game after going 2 nil down for 10 years.
Mark (That Foden lad is really rubbish isn’t he?) MCFC


How do you save Scottish football?
So, Celtic are dumped out of, yet again, another utterly pointless CL campaign. And before I write another word yes, I’m English, but bear with me. Scottish football has to move on. It desperately needs to adapt because, if not, where is it destined to be? Currently, 2 maybe 3 teams dominating but to what end? What do supporters of all the other clubs have to look forward to exactly? How many clubs outside of Glasgow have any real chance of winning silverware?

Why are Scottish clubs devoid of the kind of substantial outside investment that their English counterparts have enjoyed (whether good or bad)? Why is there no Scottish equivalent of Wrexham or Salford City?

Because there’s no point, no gain and certainly no profit in it.

I have a suggested solution that may make some spit their morning brew at whatever screen they’re watching. Integrate the Scottish, English, and Welsh Leagues. I’m perfectly well aware that, politically, and by that, I mean on both a national level as well as the Football Associations involved, this would be seen as anathema.

But consider this. I suggest it would both revolutionise and energise Scottish football. Hibs v Chelsea or Palace v Aberdeen anyone? What would the National FA cup look like? Or the National League cup? Not now, but 10 years after integration? In the same timeline, how many Scottish kids would get to play at a higher level? What would it do to grassroots football and what could the consequences be for the National team?

Practically every English club you can name has benefited from outstanding Scottish players and/or managers in the past, but they have, demonstrably, been a diminishing presence or influence in both national and International footballing spheres in the last couple of decades. I’m also aware that the English clubs would almost certainly fight this tooth and nail, but the question remains. How else do you return Scottish football to the relevance it once richly deserved?
Mark (Written with respect, except for the ‘Green Brigade’ assholes and their Rangers equivalents. Keep religion and race out of football or f**k off). MCFC


Table talk
Love the tables feature: best thing on the site in a while. Immediate Gunner takeaways were

(i) Arsenal’s domination in corners, and their improvement in converting those chances, shows the importance of set-piece coach Nicolas Jover to this year’s squad. Especially when you consider the team’s low ranking in ‘big chances created’ (see below) and ‘open play goals’.

(ii) This-time-last-year comparison suggests goals are way down among the top clubs; is VAR the obvious culprit for this, or is that a silly question?

(iii) Arsenal lead in clean sheets/wins to nil, goals against, and corners conceded. An impressive defensive performance thus far. Saliba and Gabriel have been excellent, but Ben White has been exceptional (and across multiple positions).

Very optimistic headed into Deadly December, but it feels like the next month will sort the wheat from the chaff in the title race. If Arteta can get Jesus and Havertz up a level, and we stay lucky with regard to injuries, the team is going to hit a purple patch similar to last season’s start. Not sure a big-name striker is absolutely necessary in January, although adding another Trossard would be brilliant. Please not Toney though; good player but the premium price would be ridiculous.

Rock on Johnny.


Where’s the Arsenal defence love?
I get that Arsenal don’t look as good as we did last season.

I get that to the naked eye, Raya does not look much of an improvement on Ramsdale.

I also get that both Trippier and Van Dijk have put in more eye-catching performances than their peers.

But Arsenal not only top the league but also boast the best defensive record currently – and yet not one of our defenders made the top XI.

They may not have been spectacular this season but given we have lost Timber, Zinchenko can’t complete a game these days and we’ve chopped and changed the keeper, that defence deserves a little bit more love than they’re getting.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Cash is not king
Following the awful news about Rodrigo Bentancur’s injury I am writing to you to express my disgust at the lack of punishment for Matty Cash.

Bentancur had just returned from a career threatening cruciate ligament tear, through which he bravely battled back to fitness during almost a year on the sidelines. Having shown immense patience and character to get back to doing what he loves, it was snatched away from him by a disgusting, reckless, idiotic challenge by a player who isn’t fit to lace his boots.

Cash should be prevented from stepping onto a football pitch until Bentancur is fit to play again. Otherwise what deterrent is there to prevent this from happening again? The thought that Cash is going to get away with this scott free is sickening to me, it makes no sense.

This is quite easily rectified, introduce a new rule whereby if you injure an opponent you spend the same amount of time on the sidelines as he does. Then watch the likes of Cash think twice before making such reckless challenges.
Barry Fox


Boehly ball broken
With gobs of money spent and a third of the Premier League season behind us – and with more than a dash of schadenfreude – one is compelled to note that Chelsea have won only four of their league games (only five teams have won fewer).

As you were.
Ebrahim “Now if only Boehly would buy the other London clubs”, MUFC, Seattle


Conspiracy corner
This is a message to any football fan who thinks refs have an agenda against your team. Grow up.

Except for Wolves fans. Yeah, you’ve got every right to believe there is a conspiracy against you.
Jaimie Kaffash, AFC, London


The Boy who Cried (for) Wolves
Funstar Andy – I think it’s nervous excitement with a hint of reality. That said, if Villa beat City and Arsenal at home next week I’ll have no idea what to do/feel.

Regards a ‘Challenge’ system. I just can’t see how this works/appeases the managers. Arteta and O’Neil would clearly have appealed recent decisions – rightly in their eyes, and others. These decisions were subjective and so the refs would probably stick with their original decision – also rightly in some people’s eyes. In NFL/Cricket/Tennis reviews or challenges are used for largely provable decisions – foot in/out or ball broke the plane, LBW (with the Umpires Call leeway), in or out. With the latter two using a largely reliable system to make/inform said decision.

The NFL tried for a year (maybe two?) to make Pass Interference calls challengeable. They no longer are because it didn’t work. The coaches still disagreed with the decisions, because of their subjectivity. Simply, football needs to get back to one person making the decisions. If I can disagree with a mate on a penalty decision why can’t two refs disagree? One person either with or with technology helping them. You send the ref to the monitor for everything or nothing at all. Picking and choosing when you do is very odd.

Clearly something needs to change though. It’s all a bit messy. Feeling very sorry for my namesake over at Molineux.
Gary, AVFC

READ: O’Neil is spouting nonsense on VAR – even if Wolves’ dossier of complaints puts rivals to shame


Harsh on O’Neil
When Gary O’Neil speaks, he seems to me like just a run of the mill, sound fella with a very good footballing brain. He doesn’t appear special, he doesn’t expect particular treatment because of who he is, what he’s done in football or the pressures of the club he is managing, and he certainly hasn’t (yet) weaponized his mandatory media interactions to justify any sideline histrionics when decisions go against his team (yep, Arsenal fan here).

His comments regarding VAR this season have so far been calculated and fair, and delivered with respect and integrity intact. Despite all of this, he’s right to suggest they might be seven points better off with more consistent refereeing. But because he doesn’t pair his disagreements with inflated commentary surrounding PGMOL, cinematic soundbites that paint referees as villains and cause us punters to click on all the flashy headlines, or have his club come out with supportive statements on how there is a vendetta against them and standards need to be improved because they’re aggrieved, he reverts back to run of the mill, sound ol Gary… and maybe that does affect his reputation.

Stead writes that ‘the idea that O’Neil’s standing in the game has been negatively affected due to these perceived derelictions of duty is obviously non-sensical’. I disagree. O’Neil coupled his post match statement about his reputation with the “progression of the club up the league”, meaning he’s thinking that with those points lost they, and he, would be much better off and he is right. With 7 more points he’d be level with Brighton. De Zerbi’s Brighton. Gold-standard Brighton. Infiltrating big 6 little old Brighton. The current European spot holding Brighton. Real Madrid linked Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton.

Certainly, O’Neil’s reputation has been enhanced this year despite being on the end of some unfair decisions, but it would likely be much better were they, say, occupying 8th in the league. Stead thinks they’ll avoid the drop – great! Better than F365 expected at the beginning of the season. But did you think they’d be capable of a European spot?

I know there’s a long way to go and that isn’t promised, but if Wolves were plopped next to Moyes, Howe, and De Zerbi in the league table, and above Poch’s Chelsea mind, fair to say O’Neil might be even more highly thought of. I guess he has his moral victories and calm channeling though, right Steady?


How to have a wages cap
Every now and then people talk about wage cap and someone will say you can’t cap player wages etc

Uefa are on the right track with a team salary cap (70% of revenue) but their mistake is setting it as a % of revenue.

One thing US ice hockey has going for it is that it’s a pretty fair sport with different winners all the time , including promoted teams and first time winners. The current champions didn’t exist a decade ago.

That’s done with a few mechanisms but one of them is a league salary cap. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or earn your cap is based on the amount of money the NHL earns, not the teams. Which gives everyone the exact same salary cap.

This forces teams to choose between a mega star and a decent team around him or a team of excellent players with no stars. There is no glove trotters in the NHL. Even the worst teams have a few very good players because no team can accommodate a team of stars within the salary cap. As a result different teams win all the time because as players perform they get better contracts and teams then have to save money elsewhere or allow the star to leave.

It is both in planning and execution a much fairer way to restrict and the results speak for themselves.

If you’re gonna cap, that’s the way to do it.