Over the past week, data has shown that Manchester United have had more goals against them overturned than any other club. VAR has intervened to disallow seven goals scored against us. In total, including penalty decisions, we’ve had 10 go in our favour and two against, leading rival supporters to come up with the whitty names VARchester United.
What is interesting about these statistics is how often match day officials inside the stadium have made the wrong decision, putting United at a disadvantage, before video officials correct the decision. If opposition supporters want to talk about bias, maybe they should wonder why the referees initially make decisions that go against us, even when the right decision is to disallow a goal or award us a penalty.
That’s not to say that VAR has always got it right though. For example, VAR didn’t determine that Oriol Romeu should have sent off for his appalling foul on Mason Greenwood in our recent draw with Southampton and somehow allowed Everton’s goal to stand in our draw against them earlier this season, despite Dominic Calvert-Lewin elbowing David de Gea in the face. A penalty wasn’t given in our home defeat against Crystal Palace when Anthony Martial was brought down either. A penalty was awarded against us when we played Bournemouth after VAR judged Eric Bailly guilty of hand ball, but when Oli McBurnie controlled the ball with his upper arm in the lead up to his injury time equaliser against us for Sheffield United, the goal was allowed to stand.
Still, ahead of our FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, a team we have beaten on three occasions this season, Frank Lampard spoke about United and VAR.
We seem to be in a period where, in terms of Manchester United, they’ve got a few [VAR decisions] in their favour I would like to think that with VAR you have to be level-headed. Some might go against you or not. But it would be nice if VAR worked in our favour in this one, I guess.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been quick to defend the team and, while not wanting to sound like Rafa Benitez having a weird rant, has accused Lampard of trying to influence the officials before the meeting at Wembley.
If you look at the factual decisions – I don’t want to sound like a certain manager, talking about facts – but if you’re offside, you’re offside. That’s clear.
I can sit here for hours now and try to talk about this. It looks like there’s a narrative. It looks like people want to influence whoever’s making the decisions, but I hear people talking about luck. That we have been lucky more than unlucky.
Talking about lucky, the penalty that we got against Tottenham in the last minute that was taken away from us, that might be two points for us. Talking about the red card that Romeu should’ve had against us, when he got Mason Greenwood almost crippled, that should’ve been a red card, maybe that would have helped us.
Talking about Mark Noble when he should’ve been sent off against us when we lost to West Ham. Talking about the actual decisions that are made that are against Man United but are overturned and corrected. So it is actually me that should be complaining that we get decisions against us on the pitch by the on-field referee.
So, there’s a narrative there. We just have to focus on our games. We’ve let other people talk about that. I don’t want to go too much into it, because I might be in trouble. I’m pretty relaxed on this, but you know referees [in general] are going to be making objective decisions. They’re not going to be influenced by any emotion anyway, so I don’t think they’ll read it.