As it has all season, VAR played a major role in the Leicester City vs Tottenham finale at King Power Stadium. In the end, the number of calls impacting the goals seemed to work out but if the calls are wrong it does not make the outcome right. If the league has no other priority this summer it is fixing what is clearly a broken system.
The first VAR call against Tottenham was right
In the original time, it did look like Jamie Vardy had just taken a misstep and fell. However as the replay of the attempted tackle by Toby Alderweireld was watched back, it was pretty clear the Belgian had made contact with Vardy.
Whether or not the contact was sufficient to cause the fall became irrelevant, Vardy felt the contact and knew what to do. As much as it hurt it was the right call as it was missed in real-time, bravo, that was one for the referees.
The second non-VAR call was ridiculous
Frankly the entire match – almost as if they had been coached to play that way – Leicester City worked to wrap their arms around the closest Tottenham man’s arms and make a tussle. Largely these lame efforts were going un-rewarded as there was only 1 Tottenham foul in the first half.
However, in the second half as Vardy got a step of Davinson Sanchez, things went south. Vardy clearly used his arm to wrap Sanchez and then simply fell forward. If Harry Kane had done that Sky Sports would have held a three-day inquisition. Instead, Jamie Vardy is awarded Leicester’s record-tying 10th penalty of the season.
Having seen the replay it was quite obvious what had happened and the right move would have been to call Anthony Taylor over to the monitor to check it out himself so he would have given Vardy the yellow for simulation. Instead, the play was only glanced at and the call stood. What had been a decent enough game for Sanchez was now up in flames.
Clearly, someone at the League office came to their senses about just how incredibly terrible the call was because they made up for it with an equally poor decision.
Kane clearly handled the ball
In working to control the ball that ultimately led to Harry Kane feeding Gareth Bale for Spurs third goal, Harry Kane dribbled the ball. This was not a Tanguy Ndombele or Lucas Moura pirouette dribble, it was a Steve Nash, Luka Dončić dribble with his right hand to control the ball.
As the replay was shown multiple times I felt sure that is a handball and it coming back. Then almost inexplicably, Anthony Taylor blew his whistle, turned, and pointed to midfield, it was a goal. As Leicester City players protested surely Taylor wished he could have said, sorry make-up call but of course, he can’t.
Well, Taylor cannot say that but we can. Kane just as clearly handled the ball as Vardy did wrap his arm around Sanchez and pull himself over. The inconsistency in the rules, the interpretation, and the application thereof have been a terrible blight on the Premier League season and needs to be fixed.