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Controversy surrounding VAR rumbles on

The controversy surrounding VAR (video assistant referee) and the ramifications of its use continue to rumble on after a hugely contentious weekend in the Premier League.

Pivotal decisions were made in no less than three games at the weekend, with penalties awarded to Everton, Manchester United and Newcastle, handing the latter two a last-gasp victory after the final whistle had already been blown and stoppage-time point respectively.

The latest VAR controversies has led to managers, players, pundits and fans alike demanding a rethink to the latest handball rules, leading the Premier League to ask football's lawmakers to allow more flexibility and leniency for referees assessing handballs with the current regulations deemed too harsh.

Six of the 20 penalties awarded in the opening three rounds of the season have been for handball with the disputation looking likely to continue.


Chelsea v Crystal Palace


Crystal Palace head into the encounter on the back as a decisive VAR handball decision themselves in which Everton were awarded a spot kick which proved the decisive factor in a 2-1 defeat for the Eagles.

They travel across London to Stamford Bridge aiming to halt a five-match winless run against Chelsea in the league.

Frank Lampard's new-look and expensively assembled squad has yet to click and suffered elimination from the fourth round of the Carabao Cup after losing on penalties to Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday.

Prediction 2-1

Everton v

Brighton & Hove Albion


Having secured victory in somewhat fortuitous circumstances at Selhurst Park last weekend, Everton will be aiming to maintain their perfect start.

Brighton have endured mixed fortunes this campaign, winning one of the first three fixtures, with defeats coming against Manchester United and Chelsea.

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a frontman in fine form having scored eight times in all competitions already this season, earning him a call-up to Gareth Southgate's England squad.

Prediction 3-1

Leeds United v

Manchester City


Leeds are undefeated in their last nine league matches at home, but will face a tough task against Manchester City to build on that sequence.

Marcelo Bielsa's entertaining-outfit secured back-to-back wins in recent weeks, following up a 4-3 success over fellow newly promoted Fulham with a late 1-0 victory over struggling Sheffield United.

City fans will be expecting a reaction from the squad having suffered a shocking 5-2 defeat at home to Leicester City last time out in the league.

Prediction 1-3

Newcastle United v Burnley


Another set of fans who will be demanding a reaction are Newcastle United supporters, who have not seen their side win at home in the league their past five matches.

However, they will have to end a two-match winless run against visitors Burnley if they are to end their St James Park hoodoo.

Despite their poor home form, Steve Bruce's team sit in tenth place with four points from a possible nine, while Sean Dyche's Burnley are still searching for the first point having lost their first two matches to Leicester and Southampton.

Prediction 1-1


Leicester City v

West Ham United


In-form Leicester will be firm favourites heading into this encounter, sitting top of the table after three successive victories, as well as remaining unbeaten in the league in their last four games against West Ham.

West Ham endured a difficult start to the season with back-to-back defeats, but responded in spectacular fashion last weekend with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Wolves.

If they are to get anything from their trip to the King Power Stadium they will have to stop Leicester striker Jamie Vardy who scored five league goals already, incredibly converting all of his total shots this campaign ... clinical!

Prediction 3-1

Southampton v

West Bromwich Albion


Buoyed by their 1-0 victory over Burnley last time out, Southampton will be aiming to build on momentum against a newly promoted West Brom side they have not lost to in their last three league encounters.

While the Saints picked up their first win of the season last weekend, West Brom were left to rue a disastrous second half in which they threw away a three-goal lead to eventually draw 3-3 with Chelsea.

In normal circumstances a point against Chelsea would have been seen as a welcome result, however, the manner of the result has added further doubts over the fragility of Slaven Bilic's outfit.

Prediction 2-1

Arsenal v Sheffield United


Arsenal will be aiming to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat to champions Liverpool and pile more pressure on struggling Sheffield United.

While Arsenal have picked up six points from a possible nine, United are still in search of their first, having suffered three successive defeats to Wolves, Aston Villa and Leeds.

One positive for Chris Wilder's men is that they remain unbeaten against Arsenal in their last three matches, however, tomorrow's hosts are on a ten-match unbeaten run in the league and will be confident of adding to that sequence.

Prediction 2-1

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Fulham


Fulham are the remaining side still searching for a first point of the season with manager Scott Parker coming under immense pressure already, including a public war-of-words with the club's American owner Tony Khan.

They travel to a Wolves side under pressure themselves, having won just one of their three matches and head into the encounter on the back of a shock 4-0 defeat away to West Ham.

Despite the defeat, Wolves will still be confident of bouncing back against a Fulham side they did not lose to in their previous two league meetings.

Prediction 3-0

Manchester United v

Tottenham Hotspur


An intriguing encounter is set to take place at Old Trafford with both teams still looking to ignite their campaigns.

United were far from convincing in their opening two matches, losing 3-1 to visiting Crystal Palace, before needing a contentious penalty, awarded by VAR after the final whistle had been blown, to be gifted a 3-2 victory away to Brighton last weekend.

In Tottenham's defence, they would have been heading into the match on the back of successive victories had a last-minute VAR handball decision not handed Newcastle a penalty and ultimately a point in a 1-1 draw last weekend.

They will take confidence from overcoming Chelsea on penalties in the Carabao Cup as José Mourinho aims to get one over another one of his former clubs.

Prediction 2-2

Aston Villa v Liverpool


While it is no shock to see the defending champions sitting near the top of the table with a perfect record, few would have predicted Aston Villa would be just two places behind them in fourth having taken six out of a possible nine points so far.

Despite their promising start to the season, securing victory tomorrow will be a tough ask for Dean Smith's side who have not beaten Liverpool in their last five league matches.

However, Villa will be boosted by the opportunity to include new signing Ross Barkley, on a season-long loan from Chelsea, among their starting line-up tomorrow.

Prediction 1-3

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Far from impressed: Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has been openly critical of the new handball rule after his side conceded a contentious penalty in a 2-1 loss to Everton

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Published October 02, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated October 09, 2020 at 3:17 pm)

Controversy surrounding VAR rumbles on

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