While it was obvious that the Arsenal gave us a subpar performance and got deservedly beat 4-0 by Southampton, the game offered a clear case for video refereeing with three goals out of four that could have been disallowed with a video referee.
Referees make mistakes and they can have a big influence on a result, and this is all about being fair for both sides. With the current technology available, it seems absurd that a game’s result can depend on luck rather than a team’s ability to play badly or well enough.
The first goal was combination of a mistake (coaches at an under-nine level tell defenders not to clear the ball in the central area to prevent that kind of shot) and an active offside player not spotted by the assistant referee.
To be honest, he cannot see the offside clearly, this is where the video can come and help the referee and his assistant. There is no blame to be attached there, it was too difficult to judge, but it is still an error that could have been repaired with technology. Video referee: no goal due to offside. Same as the TMO in Rugby for a try.
The second goal there is a clear foul on Koscielny by Long, again the referee was following the ball and that’s fair enough, his assistant is checking the offside line again doing a good job. So either the fourth referee could see the foul and he’s not allowed to act on it or a simple video referee could point to no goal, as there was a foul in the build up on the defender. I mean it is easier to score a tap in if the defender that is marking you is five-metres behind on the floor.
People actually suggested Long could also have been booked for this foul and therefore sent off as he was previously booked. Although, it is clearly a bit of a stretch really, he could have been cautioned for holding an opponent.
For the third goal, the ball went out for a goal kick, referee gave a corner and Southampton scored from the corner. Again, the ball is out, a simple message from the video referee: goal kick no corner and that’s it. No need to stop play and a quick 10-second delay.
Arsenal got what they deserved against Southampton (nothing from the game), but in a tight championship decider, you really do not want those mistakes to happen again. Let’s hope the soon to be elected FIFA president will be interested in technology to help referees, so that mistakes like those can be corrected, giving teams a fair game.