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Controversy as Aston Villa hold Sheffield United on Premier League return


Michael Oliver was centre of attention for the wrong reasons Image credit: Getty Images
Michael Oliver was centre of attention for the wrong reasons

Image credit: Getty Images

Goal-line technology stole the show as Aston Villa and Sheffield United played out a rancid goalless draw on the Premier League’s return. Villa stay second-bottom, Blades stay sixth.

Before the game, the players paused for a minute’s silence to remember the tragic loss of life over the last period, then when Michael Oliver blew there first whistle, he and all the players took a knee to indicate their support for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, whose logo adorned the back of every shirt. The symbolism was powerful; let us hope that we soon progress to action.

Not very much happened after that, both sides looking short of fitness, save for one major moment. Ollie Norwood swung in a free-kick and, under pressure from John Egan, Orjan Nyland made a mess, wrapping himself around the far post, ball touching side-netting.

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For some reason, though, the referee’s watch lacked the same match-fitness as the players, failing to vibrate, so play went on because Michael Oliver decided not to check with VAR based on what his eyes showed him.

If anything, the match got worse after the break. Villa remained on top but created less, and there were no certain chances, never mind clear goals bafflingly disallowed. Still, the Premier League is back!



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