Premier League 2018-19: 5 talking points from gameweek 11
We witnessed another enthralling weekend of Premier League football, as matchday 11 of this season was played across various stadia in England and Wales.
The top three teams continued their unbeaten start to the campaign, as the trio of Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool still remain without defeat this season, although their differing results meant that spots were changed atop the league table, as Liverpool’s stalemate with Arsenal saw The Reds drop into third place.
Other Premier League big teams such as Tottenham also posted victories albeit in difficult circumstances, while Newcastle finally got their first win of the campaign at the 11th time of asking as they defeated Wolves 1-0 at St James’ Park.
As usual, there was everything that could be expected from a typical Premier League weekend: splendid goals, shock results, and controversial decisions. We present the five biggest talking points from matchday 11 of the 2018/2019 Premier League season.
#5 Refereeing errors continue to make a case for VAR
After being test run in multiple low scale leagues around the world for the best part of the last three seasons, VAR got its major breakthrough when it was first adopted in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and later on reached a global audience at the 2018 World Cup hosted in Russia.
The Video Assistant Referee is a technological initiative designed to help out the referee in four crucial areas viz offside decisions, penalty incidents, red card incidents and cases of mistaken identity.
Despite still having its fair share of criticism, VAR has largely helped eliminate otherwise controversial decisions, and it is hard to argue that our beautiful game is not the better off for it.
After its use at the World Cup, more mainstream leagues have gone on to adopt it, and currently, of the five major leagues in Europe, only the Premier League is yet to adopt the use of VAR.
Referees are still human despite their best training, therefore it is impossible for them to spot all incidents that take place on the field, and as such, the decision by the Premier League not to adopt the use of VAR to aid their referees remains a shocking one, to say the least.
Refereeing controversies once again struck its ugly head in matchday 11, not least in the marquee match between Arsenal and Liverpool, when a legitimate goal by Mane was ridiculously ruled out for offside when replays showed that the Senegalese was onside in the sequence of play from which he scored the goal.
Earlier on Saturday, there was also another controversial decision in the Leicester Cardiff game, when a clear handball stopping a Vardy shot was overlooked by the referee. At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea pulled off an impressive 3-1 victory but had a legitimate goal disallowed for offside when replays showed that the ball was deflected off a Crystal Palace player before getting to Morata.
A major criticism of VAR is that it strips football off its excitement, but if that excitement comes at the expense of robbing teams off hard-earned points, then it is time for the EPL to consider its use in the way that La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A have done.