Aston Villa were denied a point in their 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday as Henri Lansbury’s late equalizer was struck off after referee Kevin Friend claimed Jack Grealish had dived.
The official’s decision to book the Villa captain for simulation after he had clearly been impeded by Gary Cahill irked the visitors, and VAR couldn’t interfere as despite reviewing the potential penalty situation, it was unable to check the goal because the whistle went before the ball went into the net.
It left manager Dean Smith rightly fuming post-game, and former Premier League ref Mark Clattenburg also believes Friend made a very bad call.
“The worst decision of the weekend came during Aston Villa’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace when they were denied a stoppage-time equaliser. The golden rule for referees now is to allow a phase of play to be completed and, if a goal is scored, then a review takes place,” Clattenburg told Sportsmail.
“Kevin Friend failed to adhere to this when he blew his whistle and cautioned Villa midfielder Jack Grealish for diving, just before Henri Lansbury scored. The VAR official Andrew Madley could not interfere because Friend had already whistled before the goal was scored – and therefore prevented any review.
“Replays showed contact between Grealish and Palace defender Gary Cahill – which was not enough for a penalty – but Villa will feel very unfortunate that VAR was not able to review the situation, as the goal would have probably been allowed to stand.”
Villa head into the international break with a win and three defeats in their opening four league games of the season and will hope decisions go their way going forward this season.
Wrong calls from officials could have a huge say on where the Villa Park outfit finish the season in the Premier League table, and the fact that VAR hasn’t gotten some things right this term is worrying.
Smith’s men host West Ham United after the break and they will hope to get another three points as they look to impress upon their return to the English top-flight.