Another game, another controversial VAR-led decision that went against Everton. It’s starting to get a bit tiresome isn’t it?
Just days after the Toffees were denied a penalty after a blatant handball in the box against Manchester City in a game they lost by a single goal, it was looking like Frank Lampard’s side were about to get shafted again thanks to a poor refereeing decision.
Newcastle’s speedy winger Allan Saint-Maximin was tearing away with the ball in his own half late in the game. Everton’s Brazilian midfielder Allan knew he had no chance of slowing him down — legally at least — so he committed what is widely known as a professional foul, bringing down his man.
At first referee Craig Pawson seemed satisfied to brandish the yellow card. However, VAR Stuart Attwell decided that it merited a second look for ‘serious foul play’. Usually Stockley Park only intercedes if there has been a suggestion of violent conduct or a tackle that could have caused bodily harm.
Attwell indicated to Pawson that he needed to look at the incident again, and the on-pitch official decided that Allan should be sent off. The Goodison crowd were bemused. Most Newcastle fans also seemed surprised. This was more of a gamesmanship foul, and not deserving of a sending off.
After the game, manager Frank Lampard was still incensed by the referee’s judgement.
“It’s not a red card. In a short period of time we’ve had the most blatant decisions go against us, and you get apologies from the league and the referee’s association. The referee didn’t see that one and the VAR didn’t give it [the penalty against City], which is incomprehensible but it’s done.
“Then 2-3 weeks later we have one where the referee sees it, it’s a clear decision on a yellow card. Then you wait 2-3 minutes and he goes to the monitor and changes it to a red card when it absolutely not clear, there is no one that can tell me that it’s a clear and obvious red card.
“It’s not. So to change your decision you have to decide it’s clear and obvious. A couple of weeks they couldn’t decide when the referee didn’t see it. Now the referee saw it and they still went against us.
“We’re absolutely waiting for the one that might go in our favour, because at the minute as many apologies as I’m gonna get doesn’t make a difference. That win [tonight] wasn’t because of the red card and being galvanised. The red card now means we lose Allan for three games if they stick to it.
“If they’ve got something about the refs that has them say we’ve made a wrong decision on the human part of VAR and they rescind it, I won’t hold my breath.”
Lampard has gotten it spot on calling out Mike Riley and his organization of Premier League referees. If Allan’s red card gets withdrawn then the midfielder will be available for another key clash on Sunday, the FA Cup quarter final away at Crystal Palace. If the straight red and violent conduct stands, then he’ll miss the home game against West Ham and the trip to Burnley immediately after the international break.