Even VAR may have blown a fuse – Bournemouth boss Howe
Referee Roger East awarded three penalties at the Vitality Stadium.
Eddie Howe believes the Video Assistant Referee would have struggled to clear up a host of contentious penalty decisions during Bournemouth’s 1-1 draw with Wolves.
VAR technology is set to be introduced into the Premier League next season and could have proven pivotal at the Vitality Stadium after referee Roger East awarded three spot-kicks and turned down another strong appeal.
Cherries winger Ryan Fraser appeared to be fouled outside the box by Ivan Cavaleiro, leading to an 85th-minute penalty that Joshua King struck against the right post.
Striker King had converted from the spot in the opening period after going down under minimal contact from Joao Moutinho.
With seven minutes remaining Raul Jimenez levelled from 12 yards following Adam Smith’s adjudged foul on Matt Doherty.
Smith, who had already been booked but was not punished further, was penalised for wiping out Doherty after his opponent had got a shot away.
“The only danger with VAR, if you’re looking at those decisions, maybe Ryan’s is outside the box but are any of the others clear-cut? No, probably not,” said Cherries boss Howe.
“So it’s still going to be someone else’s interpretation.
“I thought Ryan’s one was probably outside the box in all honesty but I haven’t seen them again. The first one I saw something, a tangle of legs.
“The one that I probably have the biggest opinion on is their penalty.
“It’s just you rarely see them given. Adam’s committed to his challenge, Doherty’s got his shot away. I really wasn’t expecting a penalty to be given.
“Arguably, if it’s outside the box I have seen fouls given for those things but inside the box rarely is a foul given for that, so I was surprised to see that one.”
Bournemouth’s £12million defender Chris Mepham, making his first top-flight start, was not penalised after inadvertently heading the ball on to his right arm six minutes after King’s opening goal.
On that decision, Howe added: “It would have been debatable.
“Some referees may have given that, some, like Roger, wouldn’t have done.
“I’d have said no, not a penalty but again I think it depends on what team you support.”
A glitch which saw the sprinklers come on during stoppage time capped an incident-packed afternoon on the south coast.
Bournemouth midfielder Jefferson Lerma escaped with only a yellow card – his 10th of the season resulting in a two-game ban – after appearing to catch Moutinho with an elbow in the second period.
Wolves’ travelling fans repeatedly vented their anger at match official East, although manager Nuno Espirito Santo refused to be critical and had no interest in discussing the merits of VAR.
“I don’t speak about VAR now, I speak about the game,” said the Portuguese.
“I know that there were very many decisions but the task of the referee is so tough
“I’ve not seen the images yet, which is good because now I have an excuse not to answer. I am always supportive of the referees because it’s so tough.
“The reactions of all the players in all situations, you cannot judge because the players sometimes are not so honest, so let’s not go this way.
“Of course, they say (Bournemouth’s second penalty) wasn’t. I must see it to judge it.”