Referee Craig Pawson and his VAR team may have made a big mistake in the recent West Ham United defeat after awarding Eberechi Eze a cheap penalty.
What’s the latest on VAR and West Ham?
In the Premier League on Saturday afternoon the Hammers travelled across London to take on Crystal Palace in a game that truly entertained.
Tomas Soucek headed in an opener after just nine minutes before the Eagles hit back with three goals in a first-half blitz from Jordan Ayew, Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp to lead 3-1.
Michail Antonio pulled one back for the Irons shortly after, but the game ultimately finished 4-3 to Palace after Eze and Nayef Aguerd netted in the second half – and it was the deciding goal that has sparked plenty of debate.
Indeed, £30k-per-week midfielder Eze won and scored a penalty in the 66th minute by hitting the deck after lightly being tugged by West Ham defender Aguerd.
As you can see in the footage from the official Sky Sports highlights package, it’s a dubious call as the contact made is unlikely to have been enough to prevent the Palace star from playing on.
What’s been said by Moyes about the Eze penalty?
Incidentally, as per BBC Sport, Pawson has now awarded seven penalties in 20 Premier League games this season, only Robert Jones (9) has awarded more – so perhaps he can be a little trigger-happy with this sort of call.
Even so, VAR was prepared to check the decision, but after a reasonably lengthy review, it decided to go with the initial call from the referee – presumably deciding it wasn’t enough of a clear error to overturn.
West Ham boss David Moyes was certainly angered by the call. Sky Sports presenter Sue Smith noted just how angry he was, noting on Soccer Saturday: “Moyes is absolutely furious, it is a slight touch from Aguerd on Eze, who goes down and Pawson pointed to the spot straight away. But it is a soft penalty.”
Talking to Match of the Day after the game (via Daily Mail), the Irons’ boss slammed the call, suggesting it was “soft”.
In full, he said: “I think the referees said they wouldn’t give soft penalties, I think today could certainly be classed as one of them.”
And when speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Mark Schwarzer concurred, saying: “I don’t think there’s any challenge whatsoever. There’s a grab of the arm, but I don’t think it’s a penalty.”
All in all, it’s easy to see why the ref may have actually got this one wrong in the heat of the moment – making it all the more baffling that VAR decided not to intervene.
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