Manchester City’s relentless charge towards the Premier League title continued as they beat last season’s champions Chelsea courtesy of a Bernardo Silva goal.
It was not such a good weekend for Arsenal, who lost again – this time at Brighton – to further increase the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger.
Liverpool brushed aside Newcastle and Tottenham eased to victory over Huddersfield.
At the bottom, Swansea claimed a big win, beating West Ham 4-1, while West Brom limped to another damaging defeat – 1-0 at Watford.
You’ve seen my picks this week. But who would you go for?
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The Crooks of the matter…
Let’s be honest, VAR (video assistant referees) has been a disaster. Quite what business the Football Association, which hosts the oldest club competition in the world, is doing experimenting with such a high-profile property beggars belief.
For over 100 years the referee’s ‘opinion’ has been final. With the aid of technology the FA and now Fifa, from what I understand, are about to bow to science, and an element of public pressure, and spit on the game’s roots and most sacrosanct tradition by introducing this technological evil.
I know I will be labelled a luddite but before you condemn me let’s consider what is at stake here.
The game has, for generations, respected the view of the referee. The technocrats in the game told us that goal-line technology was essential and without it the game was being starved of natural justice. I could have lived without goal-line technology but I see the logic. However, what VAR is attempting to do is reduce the referee to a mere traffic warden.
Every conceivable angle is covered in a Premier League fixture and quite rightly so. The public pay though the nose to see live football and therefore should get value for money. But the game itself should be assessed on the values it has always set itself and that is the referee’s ‘view’ must be the final arbiter and must be respected.
Referees have never had eyes at the back of their heads, and neither should they, but that is what VAR is proposing. What VAR is about to do is challenge every decision based on the letter of the law.
Well, if you did that you could arguably find an infringement in every challenge regardless of which team you supported. The match would eventually grind to a halt.
The game has always been about opinions and on the field of play there is only one opinion that counts and that is the referee. He can only give what he sees. VAR sees everything and will only serve to complicate matters. It will not make the game better.
It is the lack of respect for referees that is in danger of killing the game and allowed VAR to take centre stage. And I must say it is doing it very badly.