It’s easy to forget that we were seeing so many penalties earlier in the season as soon as the ball even went near a hand, so this does suggest the refs are moving away from that stance.
That doesn’t mean that Harry Maguire won’t breathe a sigh of relief after this didn’t come back as a penalty, while Gary Neville admitted on the Sky Sports commentary that “he could be in a bit of trouble here“:
“VAR checks for a possible handball on Maguire, and I’ve no idea how he got away with that one. As he jumps with Bailly and Mee his seems an entirely arm-based challenge” — The Guardianpic.twitter.com/IPZpEQucA8
— Parted Beard (@PartedBeard) January 12, 2021
Pictures from Sky Sports
Dier, handball given by VAR
Maupay, handball given by VAR
Maguire, no handball pic.twitter.com/92yjZChjly
— FootballFlagsUK (@FootballFlagsUK) January 12, 2021
The broadcast immediately cut to a still shot of the incident which looked incredibly incriminating on Maguire’s part, but when you watch it in full then it doesn’t really look like it was worthy of a penalty.
Opinions will be warped from those incidents early in the season and it feels like we’re still programmed to fear a penalty every time something like this happens, but it looks like the ref has probably got this right.
Neville also pointed out that Maguire’s earlier goal shouldn’t have been disallowed and VAR also went against him there, so perhaps those decisions have cancelled each other out.