Fulham came so close to a massive win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, with hopes of a win left dangling a few minutes after the Cottagers conceded a late equalizer to Eddie Nketiah.
VAR review decided that Arsenal’s Rob Holding was not offside when he didn’t play the ball before Nketiah tapped home off a late corner kick, and Cottagers boss Scott Parker was left fuming with the decision.
[ MORE: Three things learned from Arsenal – Fulham ]
Parker approached the referees on the field but saved his vitriol for the tunnel, where perhaps he thought the cameras wouldn’t be as prevalent and he wouldn’t put the officials on blast prior to his post-match comments.
Parker was caught lighting up the referee team, and he laid out his frustrations on NBCSN after the game.
Parker confounded by non-offside call, VAR system
“I’m disappointed and I’m gutted and the overriding factor is the team have given absolutely everything to come to a place like this against a very good side, managed to get a nose in front. We had to weather a little bit of course and we came under it quite a bit and in the last action, I’ve just seen it back. He just looks offside to me. Holding is standing in an offside position. People maybe don’t understand but that has a consequence of where my keeper’s positioning, where the defenders are, whether he’s gone for the ball or not, he’s two yards away from the goal line and he’s in an offside position. I just don’t know.”
Parker then went on to ask why the decision was taken “miles away.”
“Residing factor is that late decision and the rules of that. To be honest the linesman probably sees that he’s in an offside position. We then go upstairs to someone who is a few miles away and he just doesn’t see or maybe just takes the law to the letter and it’s just offside for me. I’m not just saying that because I’m standing on the edge of a loss, er, a draw, it’s because it’s football.”
Scott Parker was LIVID after the match, and let the officials know it. pic.twitter.com/7KftY8Lggu
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) April 18, 2021
Does he have a point?
Before we go any further, we should probably note that there are some pretty big admirers of Scott Parker on this site, so the proceeding will not be some sort of anti-Fulham tirade.
Look, if you hate what VAR is at its core then you can side with Parker. Fulham supporters are also welcome to do that.
That said, it’s not so much that Holding pulled back considering that Alphonse Areola laid out and got to the ball and review appeared to show he was not put off and maybe even not worried about Holding
It should also be said that there is almost as much interpretation in the pausing of a replay at a perceived moment for offside review as there is deciding what a goalkeeper is thinking.
There will never be a 100 percent successful rule, though that shouldn’t stop the PL and PGMOL from refining how it uses the rulebook and VAR.
And while Parker doesn’t get the same “cooling off” period American college sports gives its coaches and players before speaking to the media, in time he’ll accept that Fulham’s gotten as many perceived breaks as slights.
That’s probably irrelevant to this single case, but let’s also address the idea of going “miles away” to the VAR.
That is exactly where this decision should go unless the referee needs to weigh in on something ground-related. The best way to get the correct decision in most cases is to take the call out of the hands of a human who would certainly prefer to be proven correct.
Heartbreaking for Fulham nonetheless, who would’ve thought nothing was coming from this game and gladly taken one before kickoff, only to begin to believe in an unlikely three points and left dissatisfied by one!