West Ham suffer a VAR too far at the Vitality Stadium
PUBLISHED: 12:30 30 September 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Exciting match marred by VAR decisions by millimetres
When VAR was introduced to the Premier League it was advertised as clearing up what they called 'clear and obvious errors'.
Well that must have got lost in translation at Bournemouth on Saturday.
Decisions that are adjudged on millimetres, slide rules and phases of play are not glaring errors.
When it takes three minutes to overturn a tight decision then it is doing the game no favours. It is killing the excitement of football, making honest officials look useless and simply spoiling things.
When Josh King's equaliser was ruled out for offside there was no great protests from either the Bournemouth fans or players.
And yet the decision was eventually overturned by faceless officials watching TV screens miles away.
This is not what football is about. It is about the raw excitement of scoring a goal and celebrating it in that moment.
Let's look at whether the ball has crossed the line or if a player is well offside on his way to scoring, but not at the minutiae of the game - let's leave that alone.
The VAR incidents overshadowed what was an excellent game of football between two exciting, attacking sides.
The point was about right, but there were so many positive things to take from this match from West Ham's point of view.
Declan Rice was as good as he has ever been for the Hammers; the front three of Sebastien Haller, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko were so dangerous throughout; and the full-backs added to the attacking options and all this away from home.
West Ham don't always have the best of times at Bournemouth. The Cherries are excellent at home, full of attacking intent and this was a big test for the Hammers.
But West Ham showed what they are made of this season by coming from behind to earn a point.
The display certainly pleased manager Manuel Pellegrini.
"I am very happy with a point because I think we played a good game in the way I like my team playing and with the mentality to go for the win from the first minute," he said.
"We had opportunities to draw this game at least and, with a bit of luck, we could have won it, but we are happy with the performance we put in."
He was right. This was a dashing display against a good team on their own patch. You always thought that the Hammers were liable to score a goal, though by the same token they always looked vulnerable at the other end.
"I am pleased with the way we are playing away from home," said the boss. "We must try to continue playing in the same way."
So what does Pellegrini think about VAR? Understandably he is non committal.
"The VAR is the VAR!" he smiled. "You like it when it's good for you and criticise it when maybe they decide it is a goal, but we have nothing to complain about that.
"I think that it's a system that will have problems and not resolve all the problems, but I think it will give a lot of help to the referees in deciding things."
Saturday's ref Stuart Attwell is certainly someone who has needed plenty of help in the past.
But Saturday's interference went too far and it is a shame that it will be remembered more for that than Yarmolenko's superb goal, or Rice's stunning display.