'Never, ever' - Ex-Premier League ref applauds what VAR did in Chelsea vs Man City thriller

Chelsea were involved in another high-scoring thriller, but VAR was perhaps less controversial in the Manchester City meeting than the Spurs victory.
VAR stuck with the on-field decision (Image: Getty Images)VAR stuck with the on-field decision (Image: Getty Images)
VAR stuck with the on-field decision (Image: Getty Images)

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has applauded VAR for how it intervened - or rather, did not - during the eight-goal thriller between Chelsea and Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.

It was another rip-roaring meeting involving Mauricio Pochettino's side, after Monday night's dramatic 4-1 victory at Spurs, and VAR was once again the centre of conversation after the full-time whistle. Both the Blues and the Cityzens netted penalties in the draw with decisions to award the spot kicks made on the pitch rather at Stockley Park.

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Speaking on Ref Watch, Gallagher analysed the decision to penalise Chelsea full-back Marc Cucurella for a pull on City talisman Erling Haaland in the penalty box. Some football supporters and pundits had criticised the decision, pointing out that the Norwegian also had hold of the defender, but VAR did not overturn Anthony Taylor's decision.

Gallagher said: "They are both grabbing at each other, Cucurella doesn't let go, pulls him to the ground, you can see why the referee has given it.

"The assistant obviously has the best view, he's confirmed it to the referee. It's never, ever going to be overturned by VAR. You see a sideways view, you can't unsee it."

Gallagher was also asked a potential foul by a Man City player in the run-up to the penalty but shrugged off any suggestion that it should have changed the course of the check, noting there was 'no reaction from anybody' about a foul.

VAR stuck with the on-field decision (Image: Getty Images)VAR stuck with the on-field decision (Image: Getty Images)
VAR stuck with the on-field decision (Image: Getty Images)
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Explaining that the decision was 50/50 and wouldn't have been overturned if the penalty was not awarded, Gallagher added: "I think it's the fact that Haaland let's go. Whether you think it's a penalty or not, at least the referee has made an on-field decision. The assistant has confirmed that and the VAR has to go, it's not for me, that's what we want. It's to be applauded."

Haaland found the back of the net with the penalty that followed and in the second half it was over to Chelsea's Cole Palmer who found himself bagging from the spot in the 95th minute to level the scores.

There were some moans over that decision as Ruben Dias went to ground and caught Armando Broja. However, that penalty was much less controversial than the one in the first half and Gallagher had little time for a debate over it. He said: "When you slide in like that you have to take the ball and he doesn't take the ball. The referee was in the perfect position."

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