7 Occasions in Recent Memory Where VAR Was Needed in English Football

A weekend of controversial refereeing displays in the Premier League have produced further calls for Video Assistant Refeering - or VAR - to be introduced full-time into English football.


And whilst it is being trialled in this season's FA Cup, the technology is yet to be given the go-ahead in England's top flight amidst some high-profile refereeing errors.


Let's take a look at seven matches in recent times to produce contentious refereeing decisions which have increased the call for VAR to be implemented into the English game.

7. Swansea City vs Burnley (04/03/2017)

Referee Anthony Taylor did relegation-threatened Swansea no favours towards the end of last season thanks to a hugely controversial penalty award.


A ball into the Swansea penalty area was struck by the outstretched arm of Burnley forward Sam Vokes, only for Taylor to adjudge that the ball had come off the hand of a Swansea man and subsequently point to the spot.


Understandable outrage followed from protesting Swansea players before - perhaps fortunately for referee Taylor - the Swans went onto win the game 3-2 with a late Fernando Llorente winner.

6. Watford vs Liverpool (12/08/2017)

A stoppage time equaliser from Watford's Miguel Britos denied Liverpool all three points on the opening day of this season, despite replays showing the goal should have been disallowed for offside.


With Liverpool leading 3-2 heading into the final minute at Vicarage Road, a Richarlison shot was pushed onto the post by Reds 'keeper Simon Mignolet, before falling to the offside Britos who nodded the ball over the line from close range.


A furious Jürgen Klopp lamented the error at full-time, describing the refereeing mistake as "obvious". 

5. Watford vs Arsenal (14/10/2017)

Another fixture at Watford's Vicarage Road, and another angry away manager, this time in the form of Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger.


With the Gunners leading 1-0 heading into the final 20 minutes, referee Neil Swarbrick awarded the Hornets a contentious penalty after forward Richarlison appeared to go to ground rather easily following a Hector Bellerín challenge.


As it happened, the Brazilian escaped further punishment after an investigation into the incident perhaps suggesting the referee made the correct call. Regardless, VAR on the day would surely have eased Wenger's concerns, with the Frenchman describing the decision as "scandalous."

4. Crystal Palace vs Everton (18/11/2017)

Everton forward Oumar Niasse became the first player in Premier League history to be retrospectively banned for simulation following this 2-2 draw at Selhurt Park in November.


Niasse flung himself to the ground early on following a slight nudge from Palace's Scott Dann, an incident referee Anthony Taylor felt was worthy of a penalty however replays showed the penalty award was extremely soft.


Despite Niasse's later ban, the availability of VAR would have meant this refereeing error - which may well have denied the Eagles a vital three points - could have been avoided.

3. West Brom vs Arsenal (31/12/2017)

Mike Dean's decision to award West Brom a late penalty in this New Year's Eve clash at the Hawthorns resulted in Arsène Wenger receiving a three-match touchline ban for his post-match comments regarding the referee.


With Arsenal leading 1-0 in stoppage time, defender Callum Chambers was adjudged to have deliberately used his hand to stop a Kieran Gibbs run into the Gunners penalty area.


Had VAR been in place, however, the replays surely would have aided Dean to revisit his decision as the penalty award appeared to be extremely generous.

2. Wolves vs Swansea City (06/01/2018)

Another questionable refereeing decision by Anthony Taylor, and another incident where VAR could have prevented an obvious error.


A cynical challenge - perhaps worthy of a yellow card - from Swansea's Leroy Fer to prevent a Wolves counter-attack in this FA Cup third round tie provoked an unhesitating Taylor to reach for his back pocket to reduce the Swans to ten men.


Fer's astonishment at his dismissal was justified as the red card was soon rescinded post-match with referee Taylor again left red faced.

1. Watford vs Southampton (13/01/2018)

This weekend's clash between Watford and Southampton appeared to be heading towards an away win; that was until a hugely controversial Abdoulaye Doucouré stoppage time equaliser.


A Troy Deeney header into the path of Doucouré was steered goalwards past Saints 'keeper Alex McCarthy courtesy of the Frenchman's right hand, however referee Roger East allowed the goal to stand.


Under pressure Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino understandably cut a frustrated figure at full-time, leading the way in the most recent calls for VAR to be introduced into the Premier League sooner rather than later.

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