“Reformed” VAR Still Persecuting Leeds United – by Rob Atkinson

Any Leeds fans with nightmare memories of the number of occasions last season, when Leeds United had ridiculously tight VAR calls go against them, might have gone into today’s game against the Pride of Devon hoping for better, or at least fairer, things. It’s fair to say those hopes were dashed, and thrice dashed, making an opening day defeat at the Theatre of Hollow Myths an even bitterer than usual pill to swallow.

Let’s start with an admission – Leeds deserved nothing better than defeat on the day. It’s the scale and manner of that defeat I’m taking issue with, and although I’m probably going to be accused of blinkered bias, I’ll say here and now that two of Devon’s goals were as dodgy as a seven pound note – AND we should have had a penalty near the end. As ever, I’ll welcome comments that disagree or agree with my not entirely objective view – but I’d be grateful to see reasons, pro or con.

The first goal came directly from our young keeper’s less than habitually accurate kick out, gifting possession to the Devonians and allowing Bruno Fernandez to score. No quibbles here. In the second half, Ayling’s howitzer of an equaliser was a thing of beauty and a joy for a few minutes, until Greenwood managed to get by Pascal and score. 2-1 to the European Super League wannabes – and that’s where the game started to go bent. For the third home goal, I remain unconvinced that the whole of the ball crossed the line. Where was the computer graphic of last season, showing clearly the position of the ball relative to the line? All I saw was an unconvincing and blurry freeze frame, and my dander was well and truly up from that point onwards.

The fourth goal looked offside to me in real time, and again I was unconvinced by replays – the lines so often drawn last season seemed to be on leave of absence, and it felt as though justice was not seen to be done. I’d heard the lines were supposed to be thicker, not AWOL. As I said earlier, I’d welcome other views on both of these “goals”, perhaps I’ve missed something while tearing my hair and gnashing my teeth.

The fifth goal was down to lax and demoralised defending, too much room in our box, ‘nuff said. But then we should have had a penalty (yes, I know that’s unrealistic at Old Toilet, but this was a stonewall penalty). Contact was demonstrably made with Tyler Roberts’ trailing leg, and a commentator mouthed something along the lines of “not enough to make him go down”. But Roberts was moving at speed, and any contact was going to be enough to put him on the deck. I guarantee that, if the incident was in the other area, with a Franchise player measuring his length on the turf, the ref would have whistled long and hard.

So, there we have it. No complaints about the result, but there was some devil in the detail, and those injustices were salt rubbed into a raw and painful wound. At least I’ve got this off my chest, so now maybe I can look ahead to other battles where perhaps we’ll acquit ourselves rather better. It’s just that, after one game, admittedly against opponents who notoriously always get the benefit of any doubt, I have this feeling that Leeds United will not benefit from this supposedly fairer application of VAR. I guess we’ll see over the next 37 games.

Marching On Together

18 responses to ““Reformed” VAR Still Persecuting Leeds United – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Thanks Rob, it’s always good to have reasons for losing – appreciated. However, the painful truth is that Manure outplayed us. Maybe it’s just his talismanic presence but Leeds never win when Phillips doesn’t start and not starting him today, in this most important match, was arrogant recklessness.


  2. Any defeat hurts Rob but against this lot it’s much worse. I thought we were disjointed, couldn’t get hold of the ball, couldn’t deal with their intense pressing, something we are good at. We need Phillips, he hold us together but we must have a decent alternative. I feel Rodrigo should be up front with Bamford and will be glad when Llorente is fully fit. Aylings goal was pure magic, but too short lived. All in all a bad day. Bielsa will always get the best out of any player but feel we need to buy a couple of the best. It’s a long transition from Championship to Premiere and we are not there yet. Anyway, long way to go and the next two games will be so crucial for morale .


  3. Peter Pretty

    Agree with you for the most part but the ball was over the line , but leeds were a yard slower in most areas of the field ,and the lack of real pre season opposition is showing us up ,grisly,Fleetwood, then away withhalf a team ,then leakedgoals like a sieve against volleyball, no we need quality opposition, and less games ,but today we were poor, we need to get in a couple of players, certainly a strike, and if Koch is going to be ourcover for Philip’s then we are going to have a problem, Mark this down to a one off ,and get back to our form of last season


  4. Dave Fallon

    Third goal the ball was across the line mate. The replay unfortunately stops the ball after its hit Ayling’s foot and moves forward to a position where it is just over the edge of the line. However, it had been fully across the line. The goal line technology then confirms it when it’s showed a few minutes later.

    The view you are referring to is the pausing of the replay which, as I said, stops the ball after its come forward from Ayling’s foot.

    It was a nightmare of a game and we probably deserved a little better, maybe a 1 or 2 goal loss at worst. I didn’t think Maguire gave away a penalty and as such there is a question whether Tyler Roberts was bookable for simulation. I think he may have got away with that.

    We move on – lets have those Toffees next Saturday…..


  5. Our game depends on every player winning his man for man battle, but the Maun U midfielders are a class or two better that Leeds in physicality and skill. Unfortunately, money talks and they have bought the best. That was compounded by Koch being played out of position. Bielsa should not have taken Rodrigo off. That gave McTominey more freedom to go forward. As we were being out run in midfield, maybe he should have brought Shackleton on instead of Klich. Apparently he is the fittest. Lastly, most of the goals stemmed from Leeds players letting the opponents get goal side of them too easily, mainly by stopping running. Can’t get away with that at this level.


  6. Paul Cranswick

    I certainly agree with you about their fourth goal – it was noticeable that no replays were shown at the actual point the pass was made. I reckon he was a couple of yards offside. I did see a replay which appeared to justify the third goal but it certainly wasn’t over the line to the extent shown with clear daylight. The Roberts incident at the end would have been given the other way. He did make a meal of it a little but the contact did stop him going through and he is entitled to go down if touched and put out of his stride.

    Painful truth though is that we lost the game in midfield and the club really has to stop putting square pegs into round holes. Koch is not a midfielder and neither is Rodrigo. Klich played well in the first half at number 8 but faded badly when pushed forward to accommodate Stuart Dallas again in a position not natural to him. Against most teams this shortcoming will not be punished as badly as it was yesterday but it is a shortcoming nonetheless.

    It isn’t about spending huge sums of money but it is about adding to what we have wisely. Boulaya has a release clause of £4 million and would be ideal for us at number 10 and O’Brien has something to work with and would have closed down spaces better yesterday than those we had on the field.

    Couldn’t understand why – with the pressure largely off in the last 20 minutes and defeat inevitable – Summerville wasn’t given a chance to play with freedom instead of Costa and why Harrison was sacrificed for Raphinha whose over-ambition was putting us under more pressure and was cutting a frustrated figure.

    We don’t need to panic and we will have much better days (obviously) but there are obvious issues to address.


  7. With all the rumours about who we going to buy we got 1 left full back who started on the bench, too many players played out of their normal positions, don’t think Ayling is of premier league standard,the Brazilian had a bad game probably his worst for Leeds but he will improve,we need more speed in midfield and defence.


  8. Philip of Spain.

    A attempts to justify our performance fall flat to me I’m still hurting from yesterday, doubly so with it being at you know where!! My main gripe is the shear bias of Ferdinand and Cole towards you know who..Ferdinand bumping hands with some guy in a suit who was introduced to the you know who crowd. Then to that other guy who got three. Blatant let’s rub Leeds noses in it. Not even touching on Ayling screamer..The presenters making a meal of the guy who got an hat trick taking the ball home. Where the hells he been for 50 yrs.


  9. We were crap and deserved to get flogged,


  10. andrew hinks

    hi rob
    whilst all the pre-game hype was of the ‘rivalry’ between the two clubs, that was solely based when it was a non-financial level playing field many, many, moons ago IMO?

    now the chasm financially is wider than the grand canyon between us & the obvious & rather mind-numbingly monotonous & predictable top four every year!
    withstanding that yesterday for me, if Kalvin or junior are fit for the bench then they start irrespective who the opposition is?

    robin Koch is a centre half & a good one & not a CDM against world class performers like the muniks possess etc
    my worry is the staleness that may be setting in with players in their 30’s on long contracts (coops ‘Dallas,Ayling & klich etc etc!) who have performed over & above there abilities thanks to Marcelo & his coaching staff!

    let’s start to include one or two of those youngsters with verve & enthusiasm now as we simply seem to be acquiring players for the U23,S in droves who don’t get a look in before the likes of the woeful Costa, who simply treads water at best IMO?

    for me the Everton/Burnley games need to yield a minimum of 4 points otherwise & with no fresh talent arriving, as it would take a month of acclimatisation under Marcelo to make the team anyway….. it’s the dreaded relegation battle ahead for me?

    I am, though the worlds worst pessimist & always have been, when it comes to my beloved LUFC… so apologies & I hope I’m SO wrong AGAIN?

    c’mon LUFC & you the fans at the match next Saturday, PLEASE don’t get on Paddy’s back if he misses a chance or two as I believe paddy did benefit from crowd less games last term ?

    hope your health is all good now rob?



  11. Hi Rob, 100 % agree with the offside goal, think the VAR guy had gone for his prawn sandwich at the time ! The lines would have had to be as thick as the FA to show he was in line.
    Speaking to a Manc ( reluctantly) even he said it was a stonewall penalty, it will be like last season when the rule that cost us a last minute penalty in our first game will miraculously get changed at some point. That said we played poorly and into their hands, definitely missed both Kelvin and Lorente.


  12. Life is LUFC

    Did last Saturday really happen?
    I agree whole heartedly with you, you could make those lines as wide and as long as the entire pitch and still the VAR man would disagree.
    Out came this seasons home shirt, on went my LUFC slippers and scarf, then I found I had forgotten the defibrillator!
    And before anyone slates me for being an armchair watcher…….I would dearly love to go to Elland Road but a fear of crowds and being confined prevents me from doing so, I would be a danger to myself and the rest of the supporters. I have to make do with going to the shop on a weekday when it is slightly quieter and listening/watching from my armchair.
    However listening to all the fans goes some way to making up for what I am really missing and if one of you reads this give an extra yell for me please.

    Good to hear you are improving Rob.


  13. king sniffer

    Well Rob, your analysis has made me feel slightly better about the whole miserable afternoon. Onwards and upwards as they say. Anyhow, good to know you’re still in good health; I was starting to get a bit worried! MOT


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