We take a look at the mistakes that Jon Moss made during Burnley vs Manchester United, mistakes that could have been avoided in the presence of VAR.
Manchester United were able to sweep away the threat posed by Sean Dyche and his men at Turf Moor with a 2-0 win. The Red Devils were dominant throughout the match, with Burnley hardly creating chances, let alone trouble David De Gea’s goal. However, there were a few decisions that changed the complexion of the game and could very well have changed the result.
Jon Moss did overlook a few things, unintentionally of course. But, the frustration was there for all to see. Manchester United did not let it affect the result, playing out the rest of the match in a professional manner.
Let us delve into the mistakes that might have had a bearing on the result.
1. Marcus Rashford sent off for his reaction to a kick from Phil Bardsley
Manchester United were cruising at 2-0. Marcus Rashford was brought on to take advantage of Burnley throwing extra bodies forward. As Rashford flew down the left, he was obstructed by Phil Bardsley, with United being awarded a corner.
What was not spotted at that very moment though, was that Bardsley had intentionally kicked Rashford after the ball had gone out, a kick that was separate from his challenge to stop the young Englishman.
Infuriated by his action, Rashford chose to confront Phil Bardsley with both clashing heads. Again, Jon Moss deemed Rashford’s reaction a violent conduct when the videos show clearly that Bardsley retaliated with aggression as well. Rashford was sent off while Bardsley was given a yellow card.
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This saw Manchester United drop down to 10 men and defend a 2-0 lead with 15 minutes to go. One can insinuate that the naked eye could not have seen the kick as Jon Moss would have been looking towards the corner flag, since a corner was already awarded.
But, Bardsley showed as much aggression during the meeting of the heads as Rashford. Jon Moss’s decision not only put Manchester United in peril but also gave Bardsley a free ticket to stay on despite him being the aggressor in the first place and then doing as much in the reaction phase as well.
2. Deliberate handball from Ben Mee to stop an advancing Romelu Lukaku
This is something that cannot even be chalked down to the difference between naked eye and technology. Jon Moss was there, he saw the incident and gave a throw-in. One, it was a deliberate handball. Two, he was the last man. Three, he stopped a clear goalscoring opportunity.
The first two things are something Jon Moss cannot argue against. Maybe Ben Mee would not have been sent-off for the offence if he deemed it not to be a clear goalscoring opportunity, which, again it so clearly was. At the very least, Manchester United should have been awarded a free-kick at the edge of the box, with Ben Mee sanctioned, be it red or yellow.
To everyone’s astonishment, Jon Moss proceeded to give a throw-in to Manchester United, completely ignoring the deliberate handball from Ben Mee. Not only did Mee escape sanctions of any kind but Manchester United were robbed off a free-kick and a clear goalscoring opportunity.
In a league that has VAR, Burnley would have been down to nine men in comparison to Manchester United’s 10. There were other mistakes by Jon Moss during the game, but the aforementioned couple of errors could have cost Manchester United dearly.
To put things into perspective, a match Manchester United were dominating and might have even gone on to win by several more goals than the two they managed was converted into the Red Devils desperately defending their lead, thanks to some horrible refereeing.
This match though, is not alone. Manchester United were not robbed off their deserving win. But, Wolves vs Manchester City ended in a draw, which it should not have. Willy Boly clearly handled the ball into the net. But, he was still awarded the goal, rendering City to drop points for the first time.
Such refereeing mistakes are something that can be avoided with the introduction of VAR. It seems confusing as to why Premier League is against it or has not introduced it, especially after Bundesliga, Serie A and Liga NOS have adopted it. We have already seen the results of it in Bundesliga.
VAR might not be a totally positive thing as it somehow reduces the intensity the game is supposed to be played at, what with the downtime during the decision-making. But, errors such as the ones Jon Moss made in Burnley vs Manchester United could be avoided easily.
For the 2018-19 season, we will have to make do with Premier League football, albeit without VAR, which means the fans should be prepared to see errors like these going forward. The refereeing standards have dropped massively over the last couple of years in Premier League and perhaps, it is about time for technology to intervene again.
The human spirit should prevail over technology, but not at the cost of human spirit itself.