Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck have given their thoughts on playing with the VAR system in action, admitting it was unusual but they’ll “get used to it”.
Arsenal and Chelsea both got their first taste of VAR during their Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday night. The system was used to examine an incident in each half and supported Martin Atkinson’s decision not award either side a penalty.
While Atkinson didn’t need to go over to the pitch-side monitor and check anything, there were a handful of stoppages while he spoke to the VAR official on his head set.
One incident was during the second half, when Welbeck tackled Cesc Fabregas in the Arsenal penalty area. Atkinson gave a corner, but then took a moment to clear up any potential foul in the box. Replays showed Welbeck cleanly won the ball, and play resumed.
The forward has said that he wasn’t in any doubt about it. “I didn’t know the VAR referral was for that incident – I knew I cleanly got the ball so I wasn’t worried at all,” Welbeck told Arsenal.com.
Chambers, who had a good game at the back, added that it’s something the players will get used to, saying: “Yeah, as Danny said, you’re aware if you see them talking in their ear. I think we’ll get used to it.”
Arsenal had their own penalty shout examined by VAR. Victor Moses made contact with Ainsley Maitland-Niles as he went in for a late tackle. Moses made as much contact as Hector Bellerin did on Eden Hazard in the 2-2 draw last week.
However, VAR determined that Atkinson had not made a “clear and obvious mistake” by not giving the penalty, hence the decision wasn’t reversed. While we can understand the reason it wasn’t given, the inconsistency will frustrate fans.
If the tackle on Hazard was a penalty, than the one on Maitland-Niles should have been a penalty as well.