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What is the point of VAR, exactly?

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Jack Grealish made a great play to earn Villa a point at Selhurst Park. It’s a shame Kevin Friend disagreed, and even more of a shame that VAR didn’t do its job either.

Crystal Palace v Everton FC - Premier League
VAR during English Premier League between Crystal Palace and Everton at Selhurst Park Stadium , London, England on 10 August 2019
Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

What are we doing here?

Kevin Friend made a bad decision. Really, a series of bad decisions today, but really, one absolutely atrocious decision.

If Kevin Friend is doing his job, here’s what we’re talking about: Jack Grealish made a great run into the box, played through fouls from both Wilfried Zaha and Gary Cahill to slip the ball to Henri Lansbury, who coolly slotted home after the referee played advantage.

Instead, here’s what happened: Jack Grealish made a great run into the box, played through fouls from both Wilfred Zaha and Gary Cahill to slip the ball to Henri Lansbury, but before the midfielder could coolly slot home, Kevin Friend blew his whistle to book Jack Grealish for a dive.

Referees are human, and they aren’t perfect. Friend made a bad call, and in the process of making that bad call, took a goal away from Henri Lansbury. It happens, whatever.

Luckily, we had VAR to reverse the call, give Villa their rightful penalty, and Jack Grealish buried the rightful equalizer.

Wait.

VAR did... absolutely fuck all.

I don’t get it. At all. I love the idea of VAR, getting calls right and everything. I abhor the “controversy is good” line of thinking, because it leads to garbage like this, in matches that could be incredibly consequential at the end of the year.

But if you’re not going to fix this egregious error, then what’s the whole point of it all? It’s the worst call of the season, a clear and obvious error that should’ve been a penalty (well, actually a goal from open play for Villa).

Two points Crystal Palace didn’t deserve. One missed point that Villa did enough to win.

And it should’ve been avoided by someone doing their damn job.