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Opinion

Fine lines and rob of the green for Newcastle United – See what you want to see

3 weeks ago
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First of all, let me make one thing clear, that despite all the muddied waters surrounding VAR, one fact remains unquestionable about Newcastle United…

Steve Bruce is not the man to take the club anywhere but backwards, as he complements Ashley’s stagnating approach perfectly.

I want to talk about VAR.

There is no doubt that over the two games so far, Newcastle United have not had the rub of the green.

If we look back at the West Ham game, VAR failed to ask the ref to check his pitchside monitor, if he had done so then the penalty would not have been given. Even biased Sky Sports ref watch confirmed this on the Monday morning, no great shaking of fist or heads, just a quiet confirmation of what we all knew.

Then yesterday, for the first 15 minutes or so the referee looked like he was going to let everything go, as challenge after challenge from both sides were deemed as no fouls. However, these were mostly going in our favour, so step in the Villa crowd, love or hate the Brummie Mackems but they were as one from about the 15th minute all over the ref and his team, and in essence, the ref bottled it after that.

Callum Wilson became the object of his attention and time after time he blew his whistle on him, at one point in the first half the detestable Mings wrestled him to the ground, only for the ref to blow for a foul the other way, of course VAR failed to involve themselves in this incident. ASM was continually fouled, only for the ref to wave play on, this was how it was from about the 15th minute.

Now forgive me but I thought they had cleared the muddy waters that surround VAR, fine lines replaced by thicker ones to benefit the attacker. In a 100m athletics race it’s the torso that counts in a photo finish, not a fingernail or toenail – in fact Alan Wells may not have won the 1980 Olympic gold medal had they used VAR instead of a photo!

Back to the matter in hand.

I thought that all goals were checked by those who monitor VAR, they have time as players celebrate to be studious and look at everything whether there be any doubt or not. So yesterday I noticed on Villa’s first goal that it was a foul throw, no dispute with the sensational finish by Ings, but if these so called experts check everything, how come thy missed the fact Matty Cash (or bald Jack Grealish as I called him) had his front foot over the touchline as he launched his throw into the area.

The picture showing this appeared on social media on Saturday night.

Matty Cash Foot Over Line v Newcastle

However, who needs a picture, it is clear and obvious and way clearer than the offside against Callum Wilson that was to come later in the game.

Then we have the penalty, for me VAR got this right despite what Bruce says, but it begs the question why the idiots at VAR did not ask last week’s ref to come and have a look pitchside, the inconsistency is ludicrous. Playing on…the fact Callum Wilson is cleaned out should have seen a life sentence for the Villa GK for dangerous play (us older ones will remember the German GK Schumacher a good few years back who nearly killed a French forward in a similar assault at a World Cup), whether Wilson is offside or not, the fact is that it placed an opponent in danger and appropriate punishment should be dished out.

Was Wilson offside? Well maybe the muddied lines would suggest he was, but if the lines are drawn from above instead of across the pitch (remember Alan Wells), then he may not have been, either way it was ridiculously close.

So two games in and two defeats from games where we might have expected to get something, and now the panic buttons are being pressed…

I am not normally one for pointing the finger, but I have my doubts about young Freddie, he seems glued to his line at every cross and this places extra pressure on the centre half who knows he is not coming for the ball. Take a glance at the Villa second goal, in the seconds before the penalty he could and should have attacked the cross, but he didn’t, this was noticeable against West Ham and also again yesterday, of course he is young and will learn but two seasons at Swansea you would have thought would have sorted this.

Next week against Southampton is now a relegation six pointer, before the international break and then a daunting trip to Old Trafford. The knives are already out and the natives are getting restless, so a much needed win is most definitely needed on Saturday.

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