Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Sheffield United: The key talking points

The Star's Sheffield United writer James Shield analyses today's game match in London, which included goals from Heung-Min Son, George Baldock and another VAR controversy.

Saturday, 9th November 2019, 5:25 pm
Today's key talking points


Not for the first time this season - and thanks to all of those who campaigned for its introduction, certainly not the last - VAR emerged as one of the biggest talking points of the game. After celebrating and then lining back up for the restart. Sheffield United's players were forced to wait three minutes to discover David McGoldrick's 'equaliser', which appeared to cancel-out Heung-Min Son's opener for Spurs, had been disallowed. John Lundstram was adjudged to have strayed offside before Enda Stevens' cross was tiurned home. Bizarrely, the line officials in Stockley Park used to decide if an offence had occurred, appeared to have drawn in the wrong place. But McGoldrick's finish was still wiped from the scoresheet.


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After being dealt a crushing and controversial blow by VAR, it would have been easy for United to fold. They spent the best part of three minutes thinking they were back on level terms, only to discover they were still trailing Son's goal. So the fact they dusted themselves down to claim a point - which was the very least they deserved - was a tribute to their character, concentration and focus. Even then, George Baldock was forced to wait before VAR indicated his goal could stand.


Managers frequently complain about refereeing decisions. And frequently, even with the benefit of hindsight an television replays, they are still wrong. But Chris Wilder appeared to have justifiable cause for complaint when, after escaping a caution for a trip on Lys Mousset, Eric Dier watched United's Oliver Norwood receive a yellow card for bringing down Dele Alli with a carbon copy tackle. The only difference between the two challenges was that the visiting player, unlike Dier, had not already been booked. Of course, referee Graham Scott will not have wanted to send-off a player only 20 minutes into the game. But he could - and probably should - have dismissed Dier having cautioned him earlier for lunging into George Baldock. It is the exactly the type of inconsistency which frustrates the life out of coaching staff, players and supporters alike.


It speaks volumes about United's attitude and growing self-belief that they have looked to pose questions of teams including Liverpool and Arsenal in recent weeks, rather than simply attempt to stifle and frustrate. That trend continued here in north London, as a positive start saw both John Fleck and Lundstram, go close during the opening period. Although Harry Kane spurned a glorious opportunity at the other end of the pitch, it was the visitors who created the better chances before the break. Lundstram, having earlier deflected Enda Stevens' cross wide from the middle of the six yard box, then saw a powerful first-time effort rebound back off the upright following good work by Jack O'Connell.