In the wake of Spurs victory at Craven Cottage, I find myself wallowing in the spoils of beneficial detriment. Each goal scored against Tottenham Hotspur this season has me shamefully hoping in the deepest, darkest caverns of my heart, that some slight infraction or poor interpretation of VAR will save us. That’s what I’ve been reduced to. Watching 10 players in (today) green, with a weekly wage twenty times that of their small crosstown opponent, sit behind the ball and defend. When the fated equalizer stroked the back of the net with Maja’s 62’ left footed attempt, my first thought was, “Surely that hit Lemina’s arm? Right? They’ll be looking at VAR, yeah?”.
Whether that is a commentary on Jose Mourinho’s tactics or that of the state of VAR is left to your interpretation. Still, I found myself transitioning from proudly singing, “We have Alli, DELE ALLI”, to “Ah crap, here we go again” within minutes. A transition all too familiar this season. When the proverbial defensively shaped shoe did finally drop, I wasn’t surprised. Instead I was aching and yearning for VAR to find a way. And I hated myself for it. In those few minutes where David Coote called for a review, a war was being waged on my sensibilities and emotions. No goal. The decision came down and I was relieved, yet sat in frustration.
Fulham’s manager Scott Parker acknowledged this shift in football emotion to reporters after the match.
️ "VAR is killing every bit of it. You no longer celebrate a goal"— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 4, 2021
Scott Parker opens up on how he believes VAR is ruining how fans enjoy football pic.twitter.com/v8BH7byDcT
“You’re losing the raw emotion of a game you absolutely love, it’s a shame and my opinion has not changed. It would only have damning effects,” Parker was quoted by the Mirror .
“You’ll get to a point where there is no emotion in the game, tonight is about common sense really.
“I understand why the goal was not given tonight, that’s the law. I don’t agree with that, looking at it I don’t know what he can do, his arm is by his side.
“But maybe a bit of common sense is needed, we’ve got VAR so you can always look back and see if there has been a clear advantage and there wasn’t a clear advantage tonight.”
Jose Mourinho took a different approach and decided to stay out of the fray this time, since this is still apparently the ‘new’ Mourinho.
“My view is not important. I don’t make decisions. We just have to respect the views of the officials. Sometimes goals for, sometimes goals against. My view is not important.”
Many fans will look to this decision as restitution to the Newcastle match back in September of last year. A ball hit directly off Andy Carrol’s bun onto Eric Dier’s unsuspecting forearm called for a penalty in the dying moments of the match.
For me, I’ll begrudgingly take the clean sheet, five points from top four, and a relatively healthy, albeit tired, team. We’ve been on the generous receiving end of VAR decisions, and the disastrous. I like to think on some cosmic level, it must balance out. Though, if you’ve been a Tottenham fan long enough, you surely know by now that’s not the case.