VAR’s flaws a small price to pay for a fairer game
Death, taxes and Manchester City racking up a cricket score at the London Stadium; whatever life throws at us it is reassuring to know that some things remain unavoidable.
Also in that category: people moaning about the video assistant referee (VAR), which had a major bearing on whether West Ham shipped three, four or five against the Premier League champions on Saturday.
Central to the complaints were the delays caused when checking if Raheem Sterling was offside for Gabriel Jesuss disallowed effort and his own second goal, and whether Declan Rice had encroached before clearing the loose ball from Sergio Agueros saved penalty.
Read more: A bluffers guide to how VAR works
Seemingly lost on the VAR truthers is the fact that – as a direct result of the reviews – all of the above decisions were ultimately called correctly.
Perhaps it is because these short delays seem an unnecessary convenience when the only issue in question is the severity of the thrashing City dish out on the opening weekend of a new season.
But what about in a relegation decider on the final day of the campaign, when making the wrong call would unjustly cost a club another season in the top flight and upwards of £100m?
And if the title race proves as close as last year, the exact number of goals that City or Liverpool score could even decide the destination of the trophy. The season already has that whiff about it.
Let us follow, for a moment, VAR critics line of reasoning to its logical conclusion: that it is worth getting things wrong if it means fewer stoppages to play. Speed is better than justice.
That is cutting the nose off to spite the face. Pauses in the game while reviews are carried out will continue to upset some, but VARs drawbacks really are a small price to pay for making the game fairer.
Early leavers pay price at Spurs
On the topic of constants, Tottenham continue to leave it late at their new home, Harry Kanes double in the last five minutes finally seeing off a leggy Aston Villa on Saturday evening.