Sky Sports pundit tears hair out as normal rules abandoned in Leeds United loss at Tottenham
Harry Kane’s first Tottenham equaliser against Leeds United should not have stood, according to Stephen Warnock who was left highly frustrated by the officiating in the game.
Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher accepted that Illan Meslier had been fouled by Clement Lenglet at a corner in the first half of the wild 4-3 defeat in the capital, allowing Harry Kane to capitalise when referee Michael Salisbury let play go on in a complete reverse of what nearly always happens when keepers are involved.
And Warnock was absolutely bemused that the VAR on the day Paul Tierney conceded to the on-field referee’s view of the incident, despite having access to multiple replays of a clear infringement.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Ref Watch on Monday (14 November) Gallagher said: “I think Lenglet clearly fouls the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper’s in the air, he’s gone to play the ball and I think Lenglet goes into him.
“I think they’re very, very lucky to have a goal.
“That’s so out of kilter with what we see week-in, week-out. We have this suggestion that goalkeepers are over-protected – well, he wasn’t there. I was surprised it was no foul.
“I can only presume the referee has fed back to the VAR what he has seen, the VAR has looked at it and come to the conclusion it’s not a clear and obvious error.”
An exasperated Warnock added that it shouldn’t have stood, saying: “No, it was beyond me. Meslier’s in a good position to punch the ball but as soon as you get pushed that ability is weakened there.
“I’m in that camp [that] the keepers get too much protection… but when he’s in the air you cannot push him, you can’t do that.
“This is the one thing that’s really frustrating me, what the on-field referee’s said. He’s seen it from his angle, the VAR gets three or four.
“Lenglet goes into him, it’s a clear foul, you’ve missed something but from your angle it looks ok.
“It’s like, how can you not see that? How can you not understand what impact that’s having on the game as well. That’s the frustrating part of it.”
Fans are frequently irritated by how little contact it takes for a dangerous opportunity to be blown dead for a foul on the keeper.
So for that to go completely the out of the window at a key point in a big game for Leeds United is particularly infuriating.
That Jesse Marsch’s side ultimately lost a seven-goal thriller by one makes it even worse.
The ball only ended up with Kane because the punch was weak and made while off balance, and Meslier wasn’t in any position to prevent the goal because he’d been barged into his own net.
As so often, VAR as a system takes a battering but it’s the baffling nature of the decision-making from those operating it that is at fault.
Too often 99% of people watching can accept that a decision probably needs to go one way, but the officials dig down into technicalities to find a way to let it go the other way.
Defensively the Whites threw the game away at the end on Saturday (12 November), but this one was as much the fault of a foul and the officials as the back line and it was a mistake to let it slide.