Spurs vs Liverpool controversy shows VAR has ‘got to go’; redefining Ange-ball, Man Utd are ‘utter cr*p’

Editor F365
Tottenham versus Liverpool VAR controversy
Tottenham versus Liverpool had a number of controversial decisions.

Was that the worst VAR offside failure since it was introduced? Plus, lots more Spurs vs Liverpool, redefining Ange-ball and Manchester United are ‘utter crap’…

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


Spurs vs Liverpool
Not to be too salty, but I’d kindly implore any Spurs supporter to pause momentarily in their likely delirious celebrations to acknowledge what a perfect storm it takes to get something, anything really, from Liverpool.  They’ve had all wk to prep b/c they’re out of the League cup (probably their only chance at silverware most seasons) and they’re not in Europe so they don’t have to look to the near horizon nor rotate.  Those are the contextual circumstances.  To the game itself, it’s too obvious to say Curtis Jones was hard done on the early red, but it’s overwhelmingly obvious that he was.  How Diaz’ strike was offside we’ll never know (ditto how he then missed on the stroke of HT, only he’ll know—albeit he was at full stretch).  For an exhausted Matip to shank in an og says a lot about both sides in my opinion…  that we are truly resilient, that Spurs would truly never have conjured a winner of their own volition w/o divine (divine to them) intervention.  So in brief, it takes signifucant schedule disadvantages, a home soil advantage, two dodgy red cards, exhausted opposition and numerous other very strange decisions clearly favoring only one side and not the other for this footbal club to take 3 pts for the first time in like 20+ fixtures.  Again, not to be too salty, but that is a stirring scintillating scrumptious Spursy win, we might now see a double decker in N London in September !
Eric, Los Angeles  CA  (perhaps just a tad salty then)


Was that one of the worst officiated games you’re ever going to see? It bordered on corrupt. The offside call for Diaz goal was absolutely atrocious, VAR took 5 seconds, drew no lines and made the call when anybody with eyes including Gary Neville could see he was being played on side by Kulisevskis leg. Retroactive lines drew by everybody on socials shown that Diaz was at least a foot onside. The red card for Jones was another terrible decision, in real time he goes to kick the ball with the front of his foot but it slips over the ball and landed on the ankle, a yellow sure but it wasn’t a red. The yellow card for Salah after Bissouma slipped and Salah raced on goal was another, the yellow card for Robertson, the first yellow card for Jota after a player tripped himself was again another awful awful refereeing decision. There’ll be no accountability whatsoever. We have the worst refs in the game and the way VAR is implemented is so fn corrupt. The game is being ruined by ineptness and corruption. Spurs were given a gift and it still took an own goal for them to take this nicely wrapped up gift.If you could ever say a football game was a robbery this was it.
MickT Liverpool


Dear Ed,

So what to make of that? Great game. Doesn’t matter. Spurs fans will be delighted to take the 3 points but they didn’t beat Liverpool today. The PGMOL beat Liverpool today. Yes, yes, I know it would’ve made it 1-0 and anything could still have happened but are you seriously suggesting that Liverpool’s chances of taking something from the game would not have been improved by being ahead with 10 men as opposed to being behind with 10 men?

Curtis Jones Red Card – I can see why it was given. His foot comes down on the shin of the opponent and it could’ve broken his leg (although outcomes of challenges should not influence the decision that is made). You could argue that there was little force and that he made contact with the top of the ball first because Bissouma got there a split-second sooner causing his foot to bounce higher than the actual challenge was as opposed to he just went over the top of the ball. But I can see why it was given. The far bigger point surely though is how the image was presented to the referee. We have been told repeatedly that replays are shown to the referee at full speed because slow-motion replays give a false impression and the referee cannot judge the force/aggression of the impact. So what impression is the referee to make when the first image he is shown before any replay is a still image of Jones’s foot coming down on the opponent’s shin and bending it backwards? How is that not prejudicing the referee’s decision?

Joe Gomez Penalty Claim – I can see why it was not given and it would’ve been called soft but the facts of the matter are Gomez gets to the ball first and toes it past the defender who cannot stop his run, gets none of the ball, and kicks through Gomez. I think you could certainly argue that is a decent penalty shout and didn’t van Dijk get a red card for making this challenge outside the box a few weeks ago?

Diogo Jota Red Card – Stupid second yellow for giving the referee a decision to make (and particularly this referee on this day) but the first yellow was harsh. I’ve yet to see an angle that conclusively shows that Jota made any contact with the defender and that he didn’t just clip his own heels as he was running. Happy to be wrong on this one but when you see the other decisions in this game anything and everything is questionable.

What isn’t questionable is that the PGMOL has once again gone big on respect and clampdowns – for two weeks – then decided to pretend that none of that happened. I wrote a few weeks ago about how there was a big fanfare about the PGMOL saying players would be automatically booked for waving imaginary yellow cards and trying to get opponents booked and for kicking the ball away. I highlighted that Anthony Gordon had gotten away with kicking the ball away minutes after Alexander Arnold had been booked for throwing the ball back onto the pitch resulting in the furore over whether he should’ve received a second yellow shortly after. Today, after Jota’s first booking Udogie clearly did the imaginary card gesture to the referee who responded by…..doing as he was told by the player and booking Jota leading to his second yellow a few minutes later. And yes, for those keeping score, Udogie had already been booked and should’ve been sent off which would’ve made the game 10 v 10 with the score 1-1. Honestly try and tell me why we should have respect for referees who implement rules for two weeks of the season and then casually ignore them for the rest of the year. If you change the rules midway through a season it is inherently inconsistent and calls into question the fairness of the competition.

Of course that is far from the biggest issue with today’s game. Oh no. If you want to call into question the fairness of the competition then I present the Luis Diaz offside decision. Farce. Incompetence. Disgrace. Corrupt? That the assistant got the call wrong on the field is one thing but we were told that VAR with offside decisions was infallible. Dermot Gallagher each week on RefWatch tells us that the lines are drawn and it’s a technical, black and white, yes or no. No point arguing – no you can’t claim that the lines are drawn in the wrong place, no you can’t argue that they chose the wrong frame of when the ball was actually kicked, no the fact that there was a ‘blindspot’ at the Emirates that Saka was standing in didn’t impact whether he was offside,  none of those criticisms are valid because it is all factual. Yep – that looks sound. Nothing to see here. Move along. So what if he forgot to check for offside? So what if he thought it was given as onside and he was confirming it and didn’t think to mention to the referee when he saw him indicate for offside? No harm no foul.

Anyway I’m delighted F365 enjoyed the game and consider Ange-Ball to be wonderful.

Lindsay, Dublin


Well, if that what it takes to beat Liverpool, then one can’t be too upset as a Red’s fan. As Dave Tickner says, if Liverpool allow the sense of together that a collective sense of injustice and hard done by should instil, then they’ll be a formidable side force this season and rather more so than the side they lost too, despite all the slightly weird giddiness in F365 Towers about a side that, excellent first goal aside, huffed and puffed for long periods and took all of 30 mins to realise that against a packed 9 man defence going wide was the solution.

I don’t want to spend too much time moaning about the ref, who, though poor throughout, was horrendously let down by his VAR team. On the offisde, I’m not as generous as Tickner towards the liner – he was in a great position and should easily have spotted the outstrecthed back foot which was clearly between him and Diaz. As for what happens in the VAR room after that, it will be really interesting to hear the outcome of the review…

A great shame about it is that it was a brilliant goal. Superb counter-attack with ten men, great through ball by Salah and terrific finish by Diaz.

More frustrating, as 16 conclusions picks up, is where the VAR decided to intervene to send off Jones. Tickner rightly points to the still showing as Hooper approaches the screen, which automatically presents the worst view of the tackle , but worse is why the VAR felt the need to intervene.  VARs are supposed to intervene “only in the event of a ‘clear and obvious error’ or ‘serious missed incident'” [Law 5.4]. The Jones incident was not missed, the referee gave it a yellow card. Was it then a ‘clear and obvious error’? Almost certainly not. ‘Probably a red card…a tricky one…we ‘re just about siding with the eventual outcome’, says Spurs fan Dave Tickner in 16 conclusions.  Should the VAR have decided that this was ‘a clear and obvious error’ and an obvious example of serious foul. If the ref had given a straight red then I could understand it, debatable but fair play, seen ’em given and all that.

This isn’t the only recent incidence of VARs re-reffing on-field decisions about serious foul play which have massive affected the outcome of PL matches. PGMOL has to decide and tell us whether the VAR is there to re-referee incidents to ensure that a correct decision is made (or a better one than was originally made) or to correct howlers. The view seems to change from week to week within the VAR room in Stockley Park and until they settle on one and stick to it, fans of all clubs are going to get aggrieved and the conspiracy theory merchants will keep getting excited online. F365 may think that 11vs10 didn’t ruin the spectacle, and in many ways they’re right, but we didn;t even need to be having this conversation.  Personally, I’d love to have seen what 11 vs 11 looked like for 90+6 mins and so, on first blush, did Simon Hooper, what a shame that Darren England, the VAR, decided that what the game really needed was his intervention.

Anyway, rant over and I’ve funnily enough come away even more in awe of Klopp and his new look side than before. I said last week, we’d know a lot more about the next two games. If they show the same heart, and skill, at Brighton next week then they’ll win and this season ain’t over yet, especially given City’s result today.
Andrew, LFC, Cambridge


A referee who was dropped not long ago gets given a high profile game. He then puts in about as bad a refereeing performance as is possible.

Not only should Simon Hooper be nowhere near a Premier League game any time soon, whoever put him there shouldn’t be in their job any longer.

Jim, LFC


I wrote a few emails a few years back about Liverpool being lucky and got a lot of pushback by a bunch of factually incorrect reda. Well I guess their luck wasn’t there tonight.

Spurs dominated. Hope Minty and the gang enjoyed.
Rob, Dorset


As a Liverpool fan, that was gutting.I don’t mind the red card, once the ref was sent to the screen, there was always going to be one outcome.
What is more difficult to get my head around is the apparent “VAR check” on Diaz’s offside. When you find yourself agreeing with Richard Keys, you know it’s gotta be a pretty messed up situation. We’ll now wait for bated breath to hear what Mr Webb has to say…

But you know what, it’s ok. This team today; Liverpool 2.0; is it.

Come the end of the season, we’ll be right there. It took 2 red cards, a dodgy VAR “check” and a 90+5 own goal for a brilliant Spurs side (love Ange) to beat us. I think we’ll be ok.

Cheers, and all the best going thru all the emails 😊
Muntazir, Tanzania 


I tell you what, it’s fucking great to be a Spurs fan again.

Jon, Lincoln

Liverpool players react after Joel Matip's late own goal condemns them to a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham
Liverpool players react after a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham

Ange ball
Dear Media

Please clarify what exactly ange ball is?

Is it failing to score against 9 men?

Is it relying on an own goal ?

Is it taking off son and Maddison when trying to score against 9 men?

Is it a manager who says mate a lot and makes journalists wet themselves?

I remember “sarri ball”. I wasn’t sure what that was either.

Fair play to the PGMOL saying human error denied a clear goal

I can see a reality where clubs all strike coming soon. I don’t want this but the league have done this. Reap what you so

Fair play to spurs. This isn’t about losing, it’s about changing the narrative of games being lost due to bad decisions from those who should not be allowed to be making the decision.


Is this the worst VAR offside failure since it was introduced?
Is this the worst VAR offside failure since it was introduced? Genuine question.

I can wrap my head around the other decisions. I don’t think players should be given red cards instead of yellow ones in cases where they have made an otherwise-acceptable challenge which became dangerous because they slip. I see this as different from intention/”he didn’t mean it” – I don’t think referees can be expected to mindread and know players’ intentions, but I do think referees/VAR can spot this kind of scenario and judge it as a yellow. But this is a subjective call and a matter of opinion, it was not an incorrect decision from the referee. Diego Jota, meanwhile, fully deserved the second yellow card. The first yellow card seemed to be either harsh or simply incorrect, but that doesn’t matter or justify him getting the second.

The Diaz offside decision, though? How can something this obviously wrong even happen? How is there nothing in place to prevent “the VAR failing to intervene”?
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


Liverpool & Spurs – VAR – Johnny Five is Alive
Ahoy there fine folk and fellow members of enjoying a rubber ball being kicked into a net.

I once got published and my only attempt (I quit attempting – as I’d clearly peaked and couldn’t handle any rejection if attempted again)  was around Blackburn rovers, chicken, and their manager at the time always licking his lips in interviews. No idea why it got published in hindsight, but I attempt to be a bit more constructive.

Just coming off the disappointment of the own goal via Matip. Is what it is. The highs, the lows of football etc. However, VAR, it’s got to go hasn’t it? Not just saying that because we had some decisions against us. Nor saying that games should be replied as its impossible – with some form mechanical contraption that allows the officials to predict the outcome of all possibilities within a match. As you never know what scoring a goal or having some sent off causes in the time space continuum. I also say this, as if anyone (from my basic knowledge) had major issues this season so far it is our “chums” in Manchester of the United – they’ve had some…questionable outcomes.

But yes, bar just getting VAR, I think it is here to stay but surely some SLA (sever level agreements ) need to be in place? The PGMOL also get reviewed by independent body, or when they make a clear mistake with like the game today, a club gets some sort of monetary compensation? Or red cards over turned? Or maybe, a complete radical thought (its not that rad) something as obvious as say that happened to the Gooners last season, the winning team still gets 3 points, but the losing side get 1 point if the PGMOL have messed up that much or again some form of monetary compensation?

However, at this point we might as well get Johnny-Five Is Alive to be the refs or VAR folk. Imagine, you don’t know who the ref or VAR is going to be, its like a lottery, and if you get Johnny-Five you know its going to be ok – willing to learn, adapt, compassion and maybe some common sense.  Or you could get those other robots what hated Johnny and oh boy, but at least  you know where you’ll stand and get consistency . And if Johnny is the ref on the day and you, as the players or crowd,  disrespect him then its the T1000 for your next game. More interesting set-up up at least.

Quick word on Spurs – great to see them playing like how I grew up (40 next month – eep!) watching them – fast, attacking, sexy – but like the Roy Evans team of the 90s, and both would end up bottling in however.  Shows such a quick turn of Spurs vs Man United in terms togetherness and a plan or idea of how to play on the pitch (not opening the can that is the worms of United again and culture).

So yeah, gutting, well done Spurs, Johnny-Five to take over.

(I’ve been suffering from acute insomnia, so apologies for the rambling)

Kind regards,
Edwardo (but its Ed really)


It’s not VAR failing but the PGMOL
Ironic that the weekend threw up a game that showed why VAR can’t be fixed after the recent mailbox emails suggesting it could or that it works properly but that fans only say it’s not when it goes against their team.

It’s not VAR failing but the PGMOLWell, the Spurs vs Liverpool game showed that in the end it still falls down on th vagaries of humans. The VAR ref chose the worst case image to get a yellow upgraded to a red then ruled out a perfectly legal goal only minutes later. Spent ages on the first incident and no time at all on the second. Seems the on field ref’s calls were closer to the truth while the VAR calls were in error or coloured on some way.

Brighton received far too many apologies from the PGMOL season and now, it seems, it’s Liverpol’s turn.

VAR can’t be fixed until the PGMOL is ‘fixed.’ It has been failing for some time now. They really need to look closer at how Rugby Union uses video technology and works between the video teams and the on field ref. In Rugby Union the ref calls the shots. With VAR it appears the reverse is true. Oh, and because you can hear what is going on in Rugby Union, it keeps fans in the loop and the decisions above board.
Paul McDevitt


Referee in the Man Utd game
United are really playing utter crap football right now BUT the Referee in the United vs Palace game was a good reason why all the refs in the Premier league really can and should do one to Saudi Arabia.

This guy (Chris Kavanagh) really either has an agenda against United OR was bought off OR is totally incompetent at his chosen job. There were so many things that went against United where the replay shows that this guy is an utter circus clown or totally corrupt or really desperately needs a visit to his local specsavers.

With clowns like this with a whistle in their mouth, why would anyone want them to stay. The replacement would possibly currently be as bad but possibly could get better in the long run, and keeping these incompetents in the job just keeps a status quo where the refereeing is utter dross and will stay that way forever.

Please get better refs, and the league needs to keep a watch as to when the guys are doing a crooked job too.

Best regards


There is nothing in the laws that mention which direction the player is facing.
Player distance – he was sooo far from where the ball was struck
Making his body larger – yep, clearly away from his body
Denying an opportunity – yep attacking player was clear in on goal

To all those people loving the united decline.  We are not saying its a conspiracy, what we are saying is if you look at our season to date over and over 70/30 calls in our favor don’t go our way and forget about 60/40 or 50/50.

Plus also of course we are a mess and can’t finish and generally kinda sh*t.

Individually except this one and the spurs non-pen you can kind of understand.  However as an overall collection of decisions we are so far from an even rub of the green.  Yes Onana vs Wolves blah blah, agreed decision in our favor.  There are 12-15 that have gone against us that aren’t edge cases.

Enjoy your gloating, we are milimiters and a few decisions from having an amazing start.  We will finish ahead of all of your teams unless they are Man City or Arsenal.

See you all at the end of the season.
Matt (Utd,ATL)


So we start with Pellestri on the right, he wasn’t great but he showed energy, ambition and glimpses of creation.Meanwhile we have Rashford on the left doing precisely nothing.

Hag takes Pellestri off and moves Rashford to the right.  This made us null and void on the right just as much as when he was on the left.
Garnacho did more in his first 2 minutes than Rashford did all game.

FINALLY Rashford gets taken off which then left us with nobody who can play on the right, not that Rashford can anyway. No idea where Amrabat was even playing and he was lucky to stay on. Like wise Casemiro very lucky to stay on.

How Mejbri didn’t start or even get on is beyond logic, instead he brings on Eriksson to add a bit of slow motion football followed by vd bloomin beek.
Bruno was everywhere except where he was supposed to be, but I don’t even think he knows where that is anymore.
No idea what’s happening with our central defense. Nobody seems to complete game, Hag so obsessed with not wanting to start Maguire, and what a fec*in insult to bring him on with 4 minutes left as a solo CD, not saying conspiracy against him, but looked like a set him because that looks like the sort of bloke Hag is. Honestly, how more stable is our defense without Maguire? I’d rather have Maguire Lindelof partnership with Evans swapping in than worry about 2 crocked guys who can only play a 3rd of the season.

Hoijund, well, there is nothing that can be said apart from it’s looking like a 70 million Weghorst. Runs a bit, falls over a lot. Some have said he gets into good positions, when? He’s never in any kind of space and yes, he falls over a lot. 70 million!! Ollie Watkins anyone? (He used to play for Exeter city so bit of a soft spot) or that bloke at Wrexham, he wouldn’t do any worse!

The starting line up was strange but all the subs were just weird, I’ve never seen any side have so many playing out of position. It’s like a Sunday morning set up.

All round that Utd side are a tactical mess, the formation’s a mess, we don’t press can’t press, we can’t sit deep or push up, we create sweet FA, there is nothing there, we’re easy to play against.

He’s an awful manager, one dimensional. Picking his favourites on what they did one minute in one game one year ago. Anyone can see the problems and no, it’s not the owners.  The state of the club yes, but the actual playing team isn’t on them. It’s Hag, his obnoxious attitude, limited knowledge and very limited managerial ability. Add in his hapless back room staff and this is what you get.

This isn’t a drop in form or performance, don’t kid yourself, this IS us. We were crap last season, got very lucky in games and cup ties. With the bonus of the usual suspects having an off season. That ain’t happening this season.  It’s only going to get worse in the next 2 games.
Look at it this way, you want the Glazers out, keep Hag and you might get your wish.


Seagulls stitched up
It probably won’t get as much attention, but Villa’s second had an offside every bit as egregious as City vs Fulham and the non handball call against Cash (which was the right call) was pretty much exactly the same as the Romero one against Man United that their fans are treating as a huge injustice.

Given the foul on March before Villa’s third and the penalty against Dunk earlier this season, it does seem like Brighton have got some pretty rough calls this season (even though Villa deserve to win this one). Would be interesting to see if De Zerbi starts making a deal of it.

Also, Jacob Ramsey is the real deal. Should be in the England set up.
Tom, Andover


Chelsea must stay the course
I watched most of Chelsea’s preseason games and the have to admit I kinda like what I saw. At least, it looked as Pochettino created a good balance in the team: good on defense but specially much better (with regards to last season) on offense, with Jackson as a solid #9 benefitting from the creativity brought on by Nkunku and Chukwuemeka. Yet, that balance looked fragile at most, since there were few variants at his disposal on the bench. So when Nkunku went down with injury, and a little later Chukwuemeka, Chelsea went back to the misery experienced last season.

Their main problem: creativity. Without both said players, the team depended way too much on Sterling engaging on one-on-ones on the right and very little close to nothing coming from the right. Jackson have been completely lost under these circumstances, and the work of Enzo Fernández have been hampered by the lack of outlets to pass up front.

I think, however, that of late we are witnessing a different team: the much maligned Mudryk have shown some glimpses of creativity, Jackson have been playing closer to the midfield as a pivot, supplying outlet passes for wingers (specially Sterling), thus taking advantage of their pace. Caicedo has improved considerably, at the heart of the midfield, and Disasi have been the proven defender everybody expected.

So it baffles me when some writers state that there hasn’t been any kind of progress (such as Mark Ogden in ESPN). There is still a long way to go; no question about it. Mudryk, once again, is the best example: he has shown glimpses, but is far from a player that can contribute on a consistent basis. Injuries have also come to play: is not only Nkunku and Chukwuemeka; its also Reece James and now Chilwell. The gap between teams in the loss against an extraordinary Aston Villa side was not that wide. And while Brighton did not have their best defender (Dunk), still there were moments were Chelsea was the better side.

What Chelsea lacks right now, cohesion, is a byproduct of continuity. And that is what the team needs the most. Let’s hope the owners show some restrain and common sense, first by giving time to the manager to work his magic, and then in being a lot more prudent in their transfer policy.
Javier Santiago-Lucerna


Spurs predictions
Dear F365,

Today’s was the first Spurs game I’ve seen this season. I know there was a lot of uncertainty about how things would pan out – losing one of the world’s best centre forwards, appointing a manager without experience in a top class league.

However, based on what I saw today, I can honestly say that if in every game Spurs can have an opposition player wrongly sent off, an opposition goal wrongly disallowed, a decent opposition penalty shout turned down, and get an own goal via a lucky deflection in second half stoppage time, then they’re in with a real chance this season.

Tom, LFC


Random thoughts
Hi There

I think it is so that had Man City got to, say, P11 W11, we would have had lots of debate and articles (sensible and clickbait) pondering if they could do the “uber invincibles” and win every single league game in a season. Thankfully that has gone.

Villa may well wish to hold off on ditching them “wet heavy” shirts. Conversely, Brighton must consider it a mercy that their opponents had not yet changed to some better kit.

There is no way I am going to go digging through articles, so could someone just clarify if Manchester United are just at the “sleeping giants” stage, or are they now full tilt “fallen giants”?

We all mock and knock this Saudi League business, but as far as I am aware up to now no team there has appointed Frank Lampard as coach, manager or what have you. It’s not completely detached from reality, then.

As of Saturday night, Luton, who were fancied to beat a certain record set by Derby, are just one single point off of Chelsea. Many of us older types had speculated on what the fall of Chelsea one day would be like, but no, did not see this outcome.

No malice at all, but I don’t really wish to see that previously mentioned Derby record beaten. What doesn’t get mentioned much is that, in that season, circa 45% of the points amassed by Derby were taken off of Newcastle. That is something which shall never ever not be funny.

all the best
Lee, ostensibly Boro but mostly just enjoying the present absurdity of it all 


Celebrate good times

One thing I’ve found odd in the criticism of VAR is fans saying ‘we can’t/don’t celebrate goals anymore because we have no idea if VAR will intervene’. I just can’t believe this is true. Any match you watch goals are celebrated at the moment the ball hits the net just as much as before – the difference is your immediate joyous reaction may be shorter because as you gather your senses you realise there may need to be a VAR check – but in the actual moment of the ball going in you’re still jumping around like a lunatic.
I’m no fan of the way VAR is used but VAR itself has meant fewer errors in games, 99.9% of the shocking decisions have gone away, fairer results are occurring but people will still focus on the subjective 50/50 decisions whereas in the past they focused on these AND the absolute awful decisions.
Rich, AFC


Fergie and Pogba
Lewis, Busby Way – I’m not Pogba’s biggest fan, by any stretch, but can we please put this myth that Fergie didn’t want him, Fergie let him go etc to bed?
Ferguson has stated himself, on more than one occasion ( including in his own book ) that he rated Pogba really highly, wanted to keep him, but couldn’t.
Doug, AFC, Belfast