BBC pundits sound off on “absolute joke” penalty decisions in Blades win

Alan Shearer, the former Newcastle United and England striker, condemned the handball rule as an “absolute joke,” while ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown expressed strong criticism of VAR following the two penalties awarded during Luton’s 3-1 loss to Sheffield United on Saturday.

At the 36-minute mark with the visitors holding a 1-0 advantage, Gustavo Hamer delivered a corner into the box, where Vini Souza made an impressive header. The ball struck the outstretched arm of Reece Burke before being gathered by goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski.

Initially, no players appealed for a penalty, and the game continued. However, referee Chris Kavanagh was subsequently directed to review the incident by officials in Stockley Park.

Upon reviewing the footage, Kavanagh decided to award the penalty, which was then successfully converted by James McAtee, doubling the visitors’ lead.

Former Arsenal defender expressed on Match of The Day: “How you’re supposed to get out of the way of this, the proximity there is just ridiculous and you are landing. To say that’s not a natural position to be in is ridiculous. Who are they asking by the way?”

He then exclaimed: “If you think the first one is bad then have a look at this one!”

As Keown pointed out, the controversy didn’t end there. Seven minutes into the second half, a set-piece from Alfie Doughty resulted in Elijah Adebayo winning his aerial duel, causing the ball to brush against the hand of Souza, who was facing the opposite direction.

Despite a few half-hearted calls from players and supporters for a handball, they seemed more hopeful than expectant. Play continued until it was halted, with Kavanagh instructed to review the incident on the pitch-side monitor. Consequently, he awarded a penalty, which Carlton Morris successfully converted.

The Blades later added another goal late in the game courtesy of the man of the moment, Vinicius Souza, securing their first away win of the season.

Tags Pundits VAR