West Ham have tough day on first day of VAR
PUBLISHED: 12:30 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:34 14 August 2019
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Nowhere to hide for the Hammers against champs Manchester City
Day one of the Video Assisted Referee and it is fair to say that not everyone was convinced that it worked at the London Stadium, writes Dave Evans.
There were a handful of incidents to be assessed and all but one of them occurred in the West Ham penalty area.
At one stage, it was the Manchester City fans who were chanting their disapproval, despite the fact that all but one of the decisions went their way.
Some of the decisions were tight. City were denied one goal by an offside that was barely an inch the wrong side of the line, while they were given another that looked more offside than that one.
But perhaps the most controversial was the decision over the City penalty.
No complaints about the award of the spot-kick, it was a clumsy challenge from Issa Diop, but it was the decision to deny Lukasz Fabianski a fine save.
We all thought that it was retaken because the keeper had come off his line, but in fact it was Declan Rice encroaching before clearing.
Saving a penalty is hard enough from Sergio Aguero without him being given two goes at it and it seemed unnecessarily over zealous by VAR.
Generally, though, West Ham were happy with the decisions.
"When you see the decisions back they were probably the right ones," said West Ham midfielder Robert Snodgrass.
"The hardest part for the players is the sitting around part, but it helps the officials.
"I am all for VAR," he insisted.
"Sometimes it will go for you and sometimes it will go against you, but when you think about the amount of decisions that went against us last year, this has to be better."
Manager Manuel Pellegrini is also in favour.
"It's complicated but I think VAR is fair for both teams," he said. "We used it in the same circumstances for both teams.
"I think it will improve and maybe we won't be reviewing every mistake. I think it will improve the games though."
That is the point.
A game against City when you are getting thumped is perhaps not the best indicator of VAR working, but in a tight game it could be absolutely vital. We shall see.