One of the big differences between the Championship and the Premier League is how the match is officiated. Of course, nowadays the top-flight has a Video Assistant Referee working on every game. But I’m talking more from a physicality point of view.
In the Championship, and the rest of the EFL, it appears that the match officials tend to allow more contact as long as it’s a genuine 50-50. In the Premier League, there are plenty of instances where the referee’s barely allow any physicality to the game, thus blowing up for foul after foul which in effect spoils the spectacle.
Premier League officials are constantly under the microscope these days, so if they do make an error they will correctly be called out for it. And to be frank, they shouldn’t be making any errors with the technology they have assisting them.
Unfortunately, we all know that’s far from the case.
Already this season there has been a major error in a game between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.
Luis Diaz opened the scoring for the visitors, or so he thought. But the goal was ruled out, incorrectly. After the game PGMOL came out and issued that the Diaz goal should have stood but there was miscommunication between the VAR official and the match official.
Liverpool went on to lose the game 2-1 and they were down to nine men. Curtis Jones was controversially the first to be sent off – instant replay shows the young midfielder’s foot slipped off the top of the ball and made contact with Yves Bissouma’s shin.
It was an incident which should have been cleared up by the VAR officials, instead, they intensified and dramatised the foul by showing still images and slow-motion shots to the on-field ref Simon Hooper.
The VAR assistant ref that day was Dan Cook, and he has been officially appointed as the assistant referee for Sheffield United’s home match against Manchester United.
This is his first assignment since the controversial decision regarding Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal in Liverpool’s game at Tottenham on September 30th.
Sheffield United’s referee run-ins
Against Manchester City, the Blades conceded a penalty late in the first half after defending like gladiators. John Egan was penalised for a questionable handball offense as he was falling to the ground – attempting to use his arm to break his fall.
However, the PGMOL chief Howard Webb expressed his perspective on the penalty incident after the game where he dismissed any controversy.
Against Spurs, Sheffield United held a 1-0 lead heading into 12 minutes of stoppage time before they fell to a 2-1 defeat. This too was controversial due to match official Peter Bankes telling Paul Heckingbottom to force his goalkeeper to “kick it long”.
The Blades were thrashed 8-0 against Newcastle United but even the first couple of goals had question marks over them. For the first goal Anthony Gordon controlled the ball with his hand before he cut it back to Sean Longstaff. The second goal was from a corner that should’ve been a goal kick. While the third goal was from a freekick that was conceded by Jack Robinson, despite clearly winning the ball with a perfectly executed tackle.