Steve Bruce has bemoaned VAR following today’s 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa, believing bad luck has cost us dearly.
He has a point – I’m not sure what Lascelles can do when Mings’ header is two yards away and question how Wilson’s toenail can be classed as offside under the new rules – however we can’t come away feeling robbed when the performance just wasn’t good enough. We deserved to lose, sadly.
The killer stat he conveniently skips over is the fact we only mustered one shot on target all afternoon – and that arrived via a feeble header in the 96th minute when the game was already gone!
OK, things could’ve been different had Wilson put away his early chance or one of the two VAR calls gone our way, yet we’ve ultimately come up second best against a Villa side who looked very beatable in that opening half an hour.
Here’s what Bruce has had to say following the 2-0 defeat at Villa Park, questioning the two big decisions that cost us:
“Well we certainly haven’t had the rub of the green.
“Fine margins in the Premier League…I thought big decisions went against us.
“The offside decision…I didn’t think we were looking at lines anymore, lines from armpits and all this.
“The penalty, the second goal, how is Jamaal Lascelles penalised? His foot is above his head and if your foot is above your head to try and block a ball, you have got to put your arm up.
“I feel disappointed with VAR, because that’s three big decisions in the last week, which have ultimately, in these finely balanced games, proved costly.
” I’m really frustrated that big decisions and the penalty went against us, because nobody in the ground knew about the penalty, so to go back to that we feel aggrieved.
“These are key decisions that could have gone either way.
“We gave as good as we got in my opinion and had a real opportunity to go 1-0 up.
“There are lots of things to be encouraged by but we haven’t got that vital bit of luck which you need.”
When you fail to test the opposition goalkeeper once, defend poorly, drift out of the game after a decent start and make changes too late, you don’t deserve to win.
Bruce has a right to question the rules and inconsistency of VAR, but to suggest we’ve lost this one because of luck or bad refereeing is a bridge too far and failing to address the real issues we must overcome moving forward.
Southampton next Saturday is looking like a big one after starting the new season with back to back defeats.