The English Premier League resumed on Wednesday afternoon with a tilt between lowly Aston Villa and seventh-place Sheffield United. Due to COVID-19, there was a really weird vibe to the game, which was played without fans and did not always provide the most aesthetically pleasing football. But during the first half if play, we got a reminder of something familiar to those who love watching the Prem: the officiating in the league is sometimes absolutely catastrophic.
During the 41st minute of action, Sheffield’s Oliver Norwood whipped a free kick into the opposing box. He hit it well, but Villa keeper Ørjan Nyland was able to corral the ball at the far post. The issue for Nyland was that one of his teammates, Keinan Davis, pushed him into the goal. The ball went completely over the line, and Sheffield should have gone ahead, 1-0.
But for reasons that defy comprehension, the goal line technology that the Premier League possesses didn’t confirm what our eyes saw, and the Video Assistant Referee didn’t take a look. As such, no goal was given.
— #MyPLSummer (@NBCSportsSoccer) June 17, 2020
The Sheffield United Twitter account was, unsurprisingly, not stoked with how this played out.
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) June 17, 2020
You, being a person capable of common sense, are probably wondering why this happened. The answer is unclear, but Sky Sports speculated that the technology used to examine this stuff was not working.
Sky suggest that the goalline technology wasn't working in the first half, and has now been fixed. Hawkeye apparently buzzed for the goal while the referee was in the dressing room at half time. Very harsh on Sheffield United #AVLSHU https://t.co/qAzyO6qXLm
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) June 17, 2020
The Premier League adopted VAR this season, and while it has helped from time to time, you’d be hard-pressed to find too many football fans who have been happy with how it has been implemented. When viewed through that lens, it probably isn’t all that surprising that its first test during the restarted season went poorly. As for the match, it ended with a 0-0 draw.