Man United and VAR Team Up to Deny Chelsea
This result mighta frustrated Frank Lampard so much that he kicked the computer when he got home.
And that's before he'd have taken another look at Chelsea's 0-2 loss to Manchester United.
Dude wouldn't have needed reminding of the incidents where he, in no particular order:
- Saw red at what the Video Assistant Refereed saw and didn't see;
- Saw Red Devils getting outplayed and still cashing three points; and
- Saw no red card after United's Harry Maguire's nard shot on Michy Batshuayi.
To be sure, Manchester United's contingent had to be whistling past the graveyard on their way outta Stamford Bridge. Name a break -- any break -- that the fate of this match turned on, and it favored them.
Maguire, for example, was still on the pitch after claiming he was protecting himself from Batshuayi falling on him, and the referee bought it. How he could watch the VAR review and not say Maguire's late-kick reaction was a natural follow-through is inexplicable:
Video evidence of Harry Maguire kicking into Batshuayi's groin. Intent and contact. Absolute red all day.pic.twitter.com/3Twdo4MTyo— JC McLean (@JCMSpurs) February 17, 2020
But there he was, ultimately finding himself in perfect position to put the game away in the second half with United second goal of the evening.
Cue the Lampard burn.
Anthony Martial struck the first on the cusp of halftime with a nifty flick to the far corner that had to have the Blues muttering on their way to the dressing room:
Granted, 'keeper Willy Caballero had no chance of saving that header, but let's take another look at his technique:
Officially, United put three shots on goal of the nine they took. It's not a total suprise that two of them got in.
Chelsea, meanwhile, peppered David de Gea with one entire shot outta the 17 they sent goalward but not at the goal. Dude was lucky he didn't have to buy a ticket to see the match.
Worse, when the Blues actually did put a ball into the promised land, VAR got nosy:
- Kurt Zouma's equalizer was nullified when a controversial VAR review was interpreted as a foul on Brandon Williams by César Azpilicueta, and
- Olivier Giroud was caught standing with one foot in an offside position before heading past de Gea late in the match.
Pretty soon, those bloody machines are gonna parse molecules.
The fact remains, though, Chelsea had 17 bites at the cherry.
VAR sucked for them, but they sucked for themselves even more while United hung around to take what they could get ... even though Maguire hung around longer than he should've.
Yes, the Premiership table has a way of doing that.
Speaking of hanging around, depending on what happens in the upcoming Manchester City vs UEFA cage match, fifth place in the Premiership might be more interesting than usual.
If United manages to make it there and hold on, they'll have the way this game unfolded to thank.