Three for a Dollar, VAR Ever Present in Tottenham v Brighton

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Referee Graham Scott gestures during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Referee Graham Scott gestures during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) /
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: Ref Graham Scott checks VAR.
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 01: Referee Graham Scott checks VAR. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) /

VAR #3 – I Think He Touched the Ball

The third VAR decision was probably the most dubious of the bunch, particularly given it included the use of pitch-side monitors and did not include a third angle that was shown on TV. Pierre Hojbjerg was taken out and the ball was then taken. This led to the ball coming across the box to Gross, who swung it to Lamptey.

Tariq Lamptey – who was Brighton’s best player on the day – got the ball took a dribble and finished past Hugo Lloris with aplomb. As the Seagulls worked their way back down the pitch Spurs players continued to protest over what they deemed a foul on Hojbjerg to get the entire scoring play started. Given the no call led directly to a goal, it was reviewable as part of the build-up.

Jon Moss reviewed for a while, but not that long and clearly had called down to Scott. Given the criticism referees have received for not using the pitch-side monitors, Scott did the right thing and went over to the TV to have a look. Maybe it was the glare. Maybe it was the crowd noise. Maybe it was the embarrassment of seeing himself so blatantly miss such an obvious call, but Scott doubled down on his initial mistake.

Scott put his hand up to his hear and responded to Moss, presumably saying it was his match. Graham turned around shook his head and seemed to mouth “I think he touched the ball” as he casually pointed to midfield as if nothing had happened. I am not sure who looked more stunned, Brighton or Tottenham, but the game continued and for the second time in three attempts in the game VAR had failed. Maybe it was a make-up call for not giving the penalty in the first half, but it was just so bad, Scott should be sidelined for a few weeks by the FA. VAR one right, two wrong on the night.

VAR #4 – The Review that Never Happened

It was near 85 minutes into the match and as Tottenham tried to run out the clock Brighton tried feverously to make something happen. As the Seagulls had the ball near the Tottenham penalty area, it was time for some luck. The ball game into Trossard with Dier behind him, as the ball went through it was not controlled and appeared to hit Eric Dier’s arm.

Several Seagulls began to protest, but Graham Scott waved his arms down no and play continued. However, this time there was no VAR review. If it had been a dangerous play or violent conduct situation VAR could have intervened. If the potential ‘handball’ had occurred in the box, VAR could have intervened, and it was close. If Scott had called a handball, then VAR could have reviewed for a penalty, ala the first goal of the match.

However, because Scott did not blow the whistle, the ‘handling’ occurred outside the box, and there was no violent conduct to review; there was no trigger for a VAR review to occur. This is where the NFL maybe has something right with the coach’s challenge, but how many reviews can we have in one game? Bottom line, Brighton must feel hard done, given the new hand ball rules, the players must have felt they surely had something. However, Moss’ hands were as tied on that play as they were when Scott said no foul was perpetrated against Hojbjerg. I mean there are rules, right?

Such is the beautiful game at current, so much hinges on some cameras, opinions, and rules that do not seem quite right instead of players on the pitch. As a Spurs fan, I can sleep okay knowing things feel our way today, but then again, Newcastle was hard to swallow. Maybe it all works out in the end, but it sure would be nice if it worked out right during the match itself.