The legendary Brazilian playwright and sportswriter Nelson Rodrigues was not impressed with the advent of televised matches.
"If the videotape shows it's a penalty then all the worse for the videotape," he once famously said. "The videotape is stupid."
Fortunately, the Premier League's fleet of video assistant referees (VAR) doesn't subscribe to the same distrust of technology as Rodrigues. That would certainly make Robert Jones' job an awful lot harder when he plops himself down in front of the monitor for Manchester City's Premier League meeting with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon - a fixture that has been repeatedly dominated by VAR.
Here's everything you need to know about the official trusting the tape this weekend.
Robert Jones' 2023/24 Premier League matches as VAR
Brighton 4-1 Luton
Man Utd 3-2 Nottingham Forest
Aston Villa 3-1 Crystal Palace
Wolves 2-1 Man City
Man Utd 1-0 Luton
Luton 2-1 Crystal Palace
After Nottingham Forest's 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in August, a game in which the visitors ceded a two-goal lead thanks to a red card and penalty, Steve Cooper admitted that he had to "bite his tongue" when discussing the refereeing team.
"In games like this you need things to be how they should," the Forest boss fumed. "I am not going to talk too much as I don't want to get into trouble but I was surprised how quickly the decisions were made."
After being pulled up for a cursory glance at incidents, Jones was criticised for his delayed decision to award Aston Villa a stoppage-time penalty against Crystal Palace in September. Palace's assistant manager Paddy McCarthy was adamant that Chris Richards didn't touch Ollie Watkins, arguing: "If it takes five minutes to make a decision, that tells you everything you need to know."
Robert Jones' record as VAR in Man City games
Red cards for & against
Penalties for & against
Jones has only overseen two Manchester City matches from the video booth. On his first appointment, the Merseyside-born official spared the blushes of Burnley goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell by ruling out an own goal after spotting that Gabriel Jesus had narrowly strayed offside in the buildup. Yet, Jones could do nothing about the five legal goals Burnley had already conceded.
However, Jones is no good-luck charm for Pep Guardiola's side. The champions lost their 100% start to the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers in a 2-1 defeat overseen by Jones in September. A rare reverse for City was the result of Gary O'Neil's careful planning and the remarkable running power of Pedro Neto rather than any controversial decisions made by Jones.
Robert Jones' record as VAR in Tottenham games
Ange Postecoglou is not a big fan of VAR. "I don't like it but I am probably in the wilderness with that because I keep getting told that's where we want to go," the Spurs boss admitted earlier this season. "I am too old school, I'll respect the referee's decision right or wrong."
Jones is yet to disappoint Postecoglou's traditional tendencies, with Sunday's contest his first Tottenham game from Stockley Park.
As an on-pitch official, Jones has taken charge of five Spurs matches in his career, including three this season which Tottenham have failed to win (D2 L1). Jones was ordered over to the pitch-side monitor during the club's season opener against Brentford and the north London derby draw with Arsenal but got all of his VAR-assisted decisions right by general consensus.
Jones also oversaw Tottenham's 2-1 reverse against Aston Villa last weekend. Matty Cash got away with a heavy challenge on Rodrigo Bentancur in that recent clash but Jones avoided controversy elsewhere.