Frank Lampard Blasts VAR Decisions in Man Utd Loss & Insists Chelsea’s Season Starts Now

​Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has revealed his disappointment at the impact of VAR during his side’s 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Monday.

United captain Harry Maguire was perhaps fortunate to escape an early red card for kicking out at Michy Batshuayi, and the defender then went on to score the second goal of the game. 

Before that, Chelsea also had a goal controversially ruled out through Kurt Zouma after there was ruled to be a foul in the build-up.

It was certainly a frustrating evening for ​Chelsea, who later had another goal correctly chalked off for offside, and Lampard admitted (via the ​Evening Standard) that he was more than a little frustrated by the whole game.

“​Harry Maguire should’ve got a red – then he scores the second goal and the game changes off that,” he said. “That’s a major part of what VAR was brought in for. That one was wrong.

“I didn’t have a dialogue [with the fourth official] – I hadn’t seen it, so there was nothing to say. It was just the wrong decision. It’s harder to take with the presence of VAR. That’s the reason it was brought in for, love it or hate it.

“It was universally the wrong decision. It’s not my opinion. Everyone I’ve spoken to says the same thing.”

On Zouma’s late goal, Lampard also added: “I think Zouma’s goal should have stood. At first I didn’t. It’s certainly not clear and obvious.”

Nevertheless, Lampard insisted (via the ​Daily Mail) that Chelsea’s real season starts now. Defeat against ​United has seen the Blues fall into a real battle for ​Champions League qualification, and Saturday’s meeting with ​Tottenham Hotspur looks to be about as important as they come.

Frank Lampard

“We’re in fourth place by one point, so the season starts here and we need to fight to get fourth place,” said Lampard. “We’re fourth and it’s still in our hands. I don’t think many people would have put us in fourth place at this point in the season, so the fight starts now.

“Every week we look at the stats and it’s very clear we make as many chances as anyone else bar ​Liverpool. I don’t want to talk about regrets, the window is past now.”

For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!


Jürgen Klopp Admits He Cannot Explain His Stunning European Record With Liverpool

​Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has admitted he does not know how the Reds have made it to the final of every European competition they have competed in under the German.

Since Klopp arrived at Anfield in October 2015, Liverpool have never failed to reach the final of whatever European competition they were in. 

They made it to the Europa League final in 2016, and after a year away from Europe bounced back with two consecutive Champions League finals.

Jurgen Klopp

Their most recent final ended in victory at Wanda Metropolitano, which is where Liverpool will travel to on Tuesday to meet Atlético Madrid. Speaking ahead of the game (via the Liverpool Echo), Klopp insisted that record is indicative of his side’s desire to be dominant.

“It’s impressive to be honest, that record! Whenever we have been in a European competition, we have ended up in the final, which is nice – especially when you win the final! But I cannot explain it,” he said.

“We want to go as far as possible. We see ourselves as a team who can go to the final, who can win the competition. Not the only team, one of the teams.

Sadio Mane

“When you start, not all teams can win it, but as a club and a team we have the chance to do so. That’s what we tried to show in all these different games. Obviously we always struggled a little bit in the group stages, but came through. And then in the knockout stages, we were quite convincing.”

If Liverpool are to reach a third consecutive final, they will first have to go through Diego Simeone’s Atlético, and Klopp admitted that facing the Spanish side is going to be an incredibly tough task.

“If there is a team where you have to be at your absolute best at all times, it’s Atlético because they give no presents. Absolutely no presents,” he added.

Diego Pablo Simeone

“If you work as hard as possible, then you have a chance. If you don’t do that, then you don’t even have a chance. 

“That’s why Atlético were that often in European finals as well. It shows how long they were together, and now they had to change, they did that, brought in big potential, some experience.”

For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!


Twitter Reacts to Maguire Kick, VAR & More as Man Utd Win Battle at the Bridge

Manchester United secured a vital 2-0 away Premier League win over Chelsea in the race for European places on Monday evening, in a closely fought game which was dominated by VAR.

Twice Frank Lampard’s men had goals ruled out as the Blues were left frustrated by the video assistant referee.

Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud both had headers disallowed once they had undergone a review, while – most controversially – United captain Maguire avoided punishment for an apparent kick on Michy Batshuayi.

United will be overjoyed by a victory that moves them to within three points of their hosts who currently occupy fourth place.

So without further ado, let’s see how a night of controversy unfolded…

Both managers made a few surprising selection calls ahead of the game. Lampard again chose Willy Caballero over Kepa in between the sticks for the Blues.

And Olé Gunnar Solskjaer handed centre-back, Eric Bailly, his first start since the 4-0 opening day victory over Chelsea at home in August. 

Decisions that definitely got fans talking prior to kick-off…

​​Chelsea started on the front foot and Reece James had the first meaningful effort at goal. The teenager struck it sweetly enough but it just flashed past De Gea’s far post.


​​Kanté was taken off injured inside the opening 10 minutes and United ‘s new boy Bruno Fernandes almost capitalised on Chelsea being a man light…


In a lacklustre half, United were lucky not to be reduced to ten men as Maguire appeared to kick out at Batshuayi… and he was fortunate not to receive his marching orders for petulance. 

Mason Mount replaced Kanté and he was soon pulling strings in Chelsea’s midfield. Midway through the half, he put it on a plate for striker Batshuayi but the Belgian got his angles crossed.

Safe to say, Chelsea fans were fairly dismayed by his effort…

A frustrating first half for Batshuayi and one which was only compounded by Antony Martial heading United into the lead just before half-time.

Chelsea thought they had equalised through substitute Kurt Zouma’s header but it was ruled out for a push on Brandon Williams.

Cue yet more frustration from the home support…

As Chelsea’s anguish continued, United almost scored…as Fernandes hit the post with a free-kick.

Then they did, as Maguire who arguably shouldn’t have been on the pitch, thumped in a header… as those of a blue persuasion buried their head in their hands.

And when Lampard’s men thought it couldn’t get any worse… it did. An evening of huge frustration was complete when yet again Chelsea were denied by VAR.

This time it was Giroud who was left frustrated…

It was a controversial night at the Bridge and much of the discontent was voiced towards VAR at full-time…




UEFA to Crack Down on Italian Football After Man City FFP Punishment

UEFA are to crack down on fictitious capital gains in Italian football, after coming down hard on Manchester City following their breach of Financial Fair Play.

City were handed a two-year ban from European competitions and a £25m fine by UEFA for ​falsely ​inflating their sponsorship deals.

Capital gains – the profit from a sale of a player – can be manipulated so that clubs’ budgets fall within the parameters of Financial Fair Play. FFP rules state that clubs cannot make a loss of €30m over a three-year period. 

Michele Uva

According to Italian news outlet ​La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Club Licensing Committee – chaired by Uefa vice president Michele Uva – has already begun to investigate the capital gains system.

They will assess a series of corrective measures to be launched in the autumn in a bid to distinguish between legitimate capital gains and fabricated ones. 

High capital gains are particularly evident in Italy top sides. Between 2013 and 2018, Serie A clubs accumulated considerably higher capital gains than any other domestic league in Europe apart from the Premier League – but Serie A had triple the player turnover.

Juan Cuadrado,Aleksandar Kolarov

The biggest capital gains takings have been from Roma and ​Juventus. Roma sold Alisson, Kostas Manolas, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Kevin Strootman, while Juventus, although not selling such key assets, also made money from the sales of Leonardo Spinazzola, Mattia Caldara, Emil Audero, Rolando Mandragora, Stefano Sturaro, Ricardo Orsolini and Alberto Cerri. 

​Inter are also in a similar situation – although they have made considerably less than their Serie A rivals.

Antonio Conte’s side have made capital gains from the sales and loanings out of younger players, such as Andrea Pinamonti and Zinho Vanheusden.

Andrea Pinamonti

Italian clubs often face a race to sell players before 30 June – the final day for recording the budget. This is a club’s final opportunity to break even or face FFP sanctions.

Uefa now have the task of figuring out the difference between genuine and fictitious gains. But from the hefty sanction they handed out to Manchester City, there will be pressure on the governing body to be similarly harsh to other offenders.


Chelsea 0-2 Man Utd: Report, Ratings and Reaction as United Survive VAR Scares to Grab Key Win

Manchester United won a hotly contested battle against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, as a controversial 2-0 win once again saw VAR dominated the headlines.

Antony Martial and Harry Maguire both scored headers either side of half time as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men rode their luck at times to secure all three points. 

Harry Maguire

The Blues were twice victims of marginal calls as substitutes Kurt Zouma and then Olivier Giroud both saw their efforts ruled out in an eventful ​Premier League clash.

In a first 45 devoid of quality, Aaron Wan Bissaka produced an excellent cross for Martial to divert past Willy Caballero just minutes before the interval. 

Zouma thought he had dragged his side back level but Azplicueta was deemed to have fouled Brandon Williams in the build-up and the goal was disallowed.

​Man Utd skipper Maguire who was fortunate to still be on the field, having earlier appeared to kick out at Michy Batshuayi, then powered home from a Bruno Fernandes corner.

But the drama wasn’t finished there, Giroud thought he had halved the deficit but again VAR came to the visitors’ rescue. 


Key Talking Point​

Where else to start, other than that three-letter word VAR?

It was a night of sheer frustration for Lampard’s men as not once but twice they were denied goals courtesy of the video assistant referee, while the system failed to intervene on Maguire’s off-the-ball challenge.

Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League

First Zouma’s effort was ruled out after Azplicueta had been adjudged to push Williams in the build-up to the goal.

But it appeared harsh, especially as the Spaniard had been initially impeded by United midfielder Fred.

Then they had the injustice of Maguire finding the back of the net after the England defender arguably should have been sent off for his earlier kick out on Batshuayi.

Substitute Giroud was the next to be denied, though there was little to complain about as his foot was clearly offside for his expertly taken header.

Nevertheless, it was another game that once again had pundits and spectators alike talking about VAR and its implications, more than the teams’ performances.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Caballero (6); James (6), Christensen (5), Rüdiger (5), Azpilicueta (6); Jorginho (6), Kanté (5), Kovačić (7*); Willian (6), Pedro (5), Batshuayi (4)

Subs: Mount (7), Zouma (7), Giroud (7)

STAR MAN – Mateo Kovačić

The Croatian midfielder is enjoying his best season in the Blue of Chelsea and he was once again the driving force behind Lampard’s men against United.

He was constantly looking to pick the ball up and make things happen for the home side. 

The midfielder was at his battling best up against Fred and Chelsea old boy Nemanja Matić in the centre of the park.

Ngolo Kanté being forced off early through injury meant a greater onus was placed on Kovačić’s shoulders, a responsibility which he took in his stride.

He was denied by a wonderful last-ditch challenge by Eric Bailly as Chelsea looked to claw their way back into the game. 


Key Talking Point

United probably should have been down to ten men with Maguire lucky to stay on the pitch. In a carbon copy of the Heung-min Son red card against Chelsea, tumbling to the floor Maguire seemed to petulantly kick out at Batshuayi off the ball, catching him in the groin.

Referee Antony Taylor missed the indiscretion but the decision was consulted by VAR. However, no violent conduct was decided and Maguire remained on the field.

It was, without doubt, a turning point in the game as United would have found it an uphill task had Maguire received his marching orders.

The Chelsea bench, boss Lampard and Jody Morris were up in arms by the ruling to wave play on without punishment for United’s skipper.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: De Gea (6); Wan-Bissaka (7), Bailly (8*), Maguire (7), Shaw (7), Williams (7); Fred (7), Matić (8), B.Fernandes (8); James (6), Martial (7).

Subs: Pereira (6), Ighalo (6), Dalot (N/A)

STAR MAN – Eric Bailly

After a nervy start to the game, Bailly grew into the match and gave a solid performance at the heart of United’s defence.

It was expected that the defender would take a while to bed back into United’s rearguard, having been out since the opening day victory against Chelsea in August.

But it didn’t take him long to settle back in and he produced reminders of his undoubted quality alongside Maguire and Luke Shaw in a United back three.

He slotted straight back into the team and it didn’t appear as if he had gone over six months without seeing first-team action.

The Ivorian produced one incredible block to deny Kovačić when Chelsea were threatening to mount a fightback.

It was not a flawless display but one full of promise and United’s fans will be pleased to have Bailly back available once again.

Looking Ahead

The Blues face another stern ​Premier League test on Saturday as they come up against former boss Jose Mourinho and ​Tottenham to Stamford Bridge.

United are back in action on Thursday night when they travel to Belgium to take on Club Brugge in the first leg of their last 16 Europa League tie.