Gabriel Jesus handball and penalty debate – the weekend’s VAR incidents

XeniaSports – London 

Saturday’s Premier League games featured more refereeing and rules controversies and further debate around the VAR system.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the latest incidents.

Gabriel Jesus handball v Tottenham

Tottenham claimed a memorable 2-0 victory over Manchester City but it might have been a different story had a first-half strike from Aymeric Laporte, which would have made the score 1-1, been allowed to stand. Laporte clipped home what would have been his first goal of the season but replays were examined to see if striker Gabriel Jesus had handled in the build-up. Pictures were unclear as to where exactly the ball had struck the Brazilian as he brought it under control. After checking the pitchside monitor, referee Mike Dean determined Jesus’ arm had been involved and the ball had hit it low enough, under current guidelines, to be considered handball.

Aston Villa penalty overturned v Brighton

Aston Villa thought they had been given a lifeline in their 2-1 loss against Brighton when referee Michael Oliver awarded them an injury-time penalty for a foul on Trezeguet by Solly March. However, the official decided to reverse his decision after being advised to consult the monitor by the VAR. Replays did suggest March had got some of the ball in his challenge on Trezeguet but there did also still appear to be contact. Villa boss Dean Smith was not convinced it was a clear and obvious error. “I don’t know what a penalty is now,” he said.

West Brom penalty overturned v Manchester United

In the first of two key incidents in West Brom’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Baggies suffered similar frustration to Villa in having a penalty award rescinded. Referee David Coote initially gave the spot-kick after deeming Bruno Fernandes had caught Conor Gallagher but he changed his mind after watching replays, deciding the Portuguese had got some of the ball first.

Twice-taken Manchester United penalty v West Brom

United were also awarded a controversial penalty in the same game, although the award for handball against Darnell Furlong, despite being harsh, was consistent with similar decisions this season. The defender had been turning away to block Juan Mata’s cross at point-blank range when it struck his arm. Further frustration for West Brom followed as Sam Johnstone saved Fernandes’ spot-kick but a retake was ordered. The VAR had noticed the keeper had moved off his line. It was a harsh but correct call.

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