Man Utd and Liverpool legends agree on controversial penalty decision in Luton Town v West Ham United
There was a controversial moment in the final minutes of Luton Town’s home defeat against West Ham United.
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Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher were adamant Luton Town should have been awarded a penalty in Friday night’s home defeat against West Ham United.
Top flight football finally made a welcome return to Kenilworth Road for the first time in over three decades when the Hammers became the first visitors of the season.
It was the visitors that took charge of the contest eight minutes before half-time when Jarrod Bowen opened the scoring and David Moyes side looked well on their way to the points when Kurt Zouma doubled their lead in the closing stages. A first Hatters goal for Mads Andersen gave some hope to Rob Edwards side and they felt they should have been awarded a penalty deep in injury-time when England international James Ward-Prowse appeared to handle in the area.
Former Manchester United star Neville insisted the Hatters were unfortunate not to be handed a chance to snatch a late point and suggested video assistant referee John Brooks should have asked Tierney to take a second look at the incident on the pitchside monitors.
He told Sky Sports: “(It was) not luck, they could have done with a better decision.
“Look, when the ball comes from that distance, you don’t even think about whether the arm is close to the body or not close to the body. It can’t hit you arm flush when it’s come from 30 or 40 yards away.
“For me, this is a penalty all day long. He turns his head away, James Ward-Prowse, to where the ball is and he has his arm up there. Honestly, I think it’s a penalty all day long. I think Paul Tierney should give it, if he doesn’t give it then I think VAR should ask him to go to the screen.
“He’s looking right at it, obviously you can argue he’s blocked a little by Ward-Prowse’s body but that’s where VAR should come into it and I do think they are overthinking things. We’ve been supportive of VAR in terms of the accuracy of decision-making but there’s just a couple now that are building up week-on-week.”
Neville’s former Three Lions team-mate Carragher questioned the VAR process after a new ‘high bar’ was introduced for handballs during the close-season.
He said: ’I agree and I think it goes back to what we have now with VAR in terms of this high bar in terms of overturning the decision and almost wanting the referee to referee and make the decision - and unless it’s an absolute howler, VAR aren’t going to get involved.
“Obviously they didn’t think it was. There’s no doubt, there’s nobody can be watching that and saying it’s not handball. The arm is away from the body.”