Kai Havertz challenge wasn’t violent conduct, but Chelsea got lucky with another call because referees are becoming lazy – Mark Halsey

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There were two big talking points in the Chelsea-Newcastle game. First was the Kai Havertz challenge on Dan Burn, with Havertz deemed to have used an elbow. Both players were jumping for the ball, both have got their arms raised for elevation and unfortunately Havertz catches Burn.

It looks like Havertz’s eyes were on the ball, so I can see why it wasn’t judged to be violent conduct. It’s a bit subjective and some might say it should have been a re card, but it’s not a clear and obvious error from the match referee David Coote. I think he got that right and that’s why VAR didn’t get involved. Having said that, if he’d felt it was a red card there wouldn’t have been a review either, because it’s subjective.

There was also a penalty shout for Newcastle, with Trevoh Chalobah on Jacob Murphy. For me, Chalobah’s clearly got a hold of his shirt, and cut across him as well, challenging him and bringing him down. If you look at the referee, he can’t see through players so you can perhaps understand why he’s not given a penalty straight away, but in that situation he’s got to make sure he’s got a good viewing angle. He’s got to get wider, we’re seeing referees become too lazy, relying on VAR and not making that decision themselves.

Still, I’m at a loss as to why VAR hasn’t got involved there. It was a clear and obvious error and Newcastle can feel hard done by. They’ve had a few like that this season, with Ederson’s challenge for Man City against Ryan Fraser coming to mind. We’ve seen a lot of inconsistencies and it’s mind-boggling at times. It needs to be seriously looked at.

Moving on to Everton against Wolves, Jonjoe Kenny can have no complaints about the red card. When you’re already on a yellow you can’t go making a challenge like that. Everton are fighting for their lives now and they need all the players they can get, but they can have no complaints about that dismissal.

There were a couple of talking points from the Arsenal-Leicester game. Firstly, the Ben White challenge on Patson Daka – that’s a clear challenge that should’ve resulted in a yellow card, but the referee’s not seen it due to the speed of the game. They can feel hard done by there, but VAR can’t get involved on yellow card offences.

Brendan Rodgers might feel hard done by on the penalty. It just hit Soyuncu on the hand, his arm was in an unnatural position, why is his arm that high? But then, the time it look to recommend that as a review, if you’re spending that long looking for a handball you can find what you’re going to find. It’s just clipped his fingers, yes, but if it’s taken that long to spot, is it a clear and obvious error? I’d imagine Rodgers might’ve been a bit disappointed with that.

More Stories Ben White Brendan Rodgers Jonjoe Kenny Kai Havertz Mark Halsey Patson Daka Trevoh Chalobah