Steven Gerrard had reason to be furious with the referees after his Aston Villa v Manchester City clash at Villa Park on Saturday.
Gerrard’s side fought back to draw 1-1 and take a point from the champions, but one situation in the second half could have even given the hosts victory – had the referees not been too hasty to intervene.
Philippe Coutinho set up a ball and was preparing to shoot from outside the box when the offside flag was wrongly raised.
Referee Simon Hooper was also quick to blow the whistle and City’s players stopped play just as the Brazilian scored with a superb strike that deflected off the left post.
They just robbed Coutinho of a wonder goal😭 city cheating again pic.twitter.com/eI1E3eEHlB
— . (@Lfc__HR) September 3, 2022
Naturally, a goal could not be awarded, although the offside was non-existent.
Gerrard made no secret of his anger at the fact that the referees did not let play continue – as in that case Coutinho would have finished his attack and the VAR would subsequently have found that there was no offside.
However, when the game was stopped prematurely, there was no way to resort to VAR.
“I went to talk to the referees calmly after the game, I asked them what their explanation was,” the Villa manager said afterwards. “I always try to understand their side as well, but the referee just blew the whistle too early.”
“I know there’s a little change in the rules to not delay the whistle or flag too much, I understand that. But when the situation is so thin it’s worth waiting a little longer and that’s how we could have got a second goal tonight. It’s good that later the judges also recognized him in the room”.
Yes, Coutinho was well onside, is the linesman on crack? pic.twitter.com/PHQWNnZ9v1
— Has the Referee or VAR made a poor decision? (@PoorEPLreferees) September 3, 2022
The Coutinho situation comes at a weekend where on several occasions the referees in the Premier League have been unconvincing, and in several notable situations the VAR has caused huge controversy.
Some of the disputed cases:
-West Ham’s late equalizer against Chelsea disallowed when Jared Bowen was awarded a foul on goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
-Newcastle’s winning goal against Crystal Palace was also disallowed for a foul on Joe Willock on goalkeeper Guaita – although it appeared Palace’s Tyreek Mitchell pushed the midfielder and caused the contact with the keeper.
-Leeds penalty missed for Aaron Hickey’s foul on Crisencio Summerville – The VAR did not look into the situation at all, and Leeds manager Jesse Marsh was sent off for his protest.