Newcastle United match analysis: Why Rafa Benitez's calls for VAR are justified following Wolves defeat
Thank god VAR is coming to the Premier League next season.
St James’s Park has witnessed its fair amount of controversy over the years – and yesterday’s visit of Wolves is one to add to that list.
First-half, Wolves got their noses in front through Diogo Jota before Ayoze Perez restored parity six minutes later.
Second-half Mike Dean had two big calls to make.
First followed DeAndre Yedlin’s sending off after he got himself in a tussle with Diogo Jota in 57th minute on the left-hand side of the penalty area.
Those calls are always up for a natural debate. Sometimes they’re awarded and sometimes they’re not – perhaps the introduction of VAR will bring some consistency on that front.
But while Benitez believes the red card was the wrong outcome – it wasn’t that decision that really got under his skin.
Nine minutes from the end, a Salomon Rondon cross appeared to bring an elbow from Wolves defender Willy Boly on Ayoze Perez.
Benitez pointed out three factors Dean ignored.
And not forgetting play wasn’t halted for a head injury in a counter-attack that almost saw Matt Doherty grab an earlier winner.
VAR’s THE word for Rafa.
“You see the red card and the elbow in the face of Ayoze, which is a penalty and a red card,” said an adamant Benitez.
“So we lose three points and have to keep fighting in difficult circumstances.
“I have seen the replay, you can see the face of the player (Boly) and after what happened. Anyone can see that, so we need VAR.
“I saw the replay and we need VAR, right now. You can see the replay.
“I was praising the referees after a player was talking and they fine me. So imagine how I feel now.
“You can see the two incidents in the video - it was unbelievable.”
It was a seventh St James’s Park defeat for the Magpies. They already held the record for the club’s worst start to a home campaign since 1953-54 at kick-off.
Newcastle were the better side until everything unfolded from Yedlin’s dismissal.
Salomon Rondon looked lively, denied three times by Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio in the first-half.
He almost scored in back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since September 2016 when his free-kick crashed off the crossbar before Perez eventually finished off the move.
But on occasions like Sunday evening, VAR would arguably have been the difference from Newcastle opening up a six-point gap over the relegation zone instead of it staying at three.
‘We need VAR and maybe (our home form) will change a little bit,” said Benitez.
“I know where we are. When we finished the transfer window we knew it could be like this.
“But when you are doing well on the pitch, you expect something more.”
Had it been in place yesterday, though, a Doherty 94th-minute would have been spared, and the St James’s Park faithful could have gone home in higher spritis.
Instead, it’s back to the drawing board ahead of two massive games against Huddersfield Town and Fulham.
Let's hope they won't bring further calls for VAR by Benitez...