Dermot Gallagher, a former Premier League referee, has weighed in on Newcastle United’s contentious opener against Sheffield United on Sunday. Anthony Gordon set up Sean Longstaff to score Newcastle’s first goal at Bramall Lane. Sheffield United players disputed the goal, claiming Gordon had handled the ball and it had gone out of play.
A VAR review revealed that the ball had remained in play but had struck Gordon on the hand. Despite this, the goal stood following the check due to revised handball rules. Gallager stated on Sky Sports News’ Ref Watch that the correct decision was made for the goal to stand.
“Bit by bit, the whole of the ball has to be over the whole of the line, it obviously isn’t,” he stated. “As [Gordon] brings it back, it strikes his hand, which ironically keeps it in play, despite the fact that it was not deliberate.”
“He doesn’t score so therefore the new interpretation has to be it has to be a deliberate handball and the referee said no, the VAR said no, so the goal is given.”
Gallagher went on to say that the subjective nature of the handball regulation will cause considerable debate in the next season.
“Handball is just so, so difficult and I’ve come to the conclusion in week six that you’re going to have to suck it up for another 32 weeks because it’s not going to go away,” he added. Gordon was also involved in another controversial call shortly after as he was tripped inside the area by Jayden Bogle. Referee Stuart Attwell waved away the appeals and a quick VAR check deemed it was not a penalty.
Ultimately Newcastle couldn’t feel too hard done by the decision as they went on to secure a club record 8-0 away league win at Bramall Lane. The result equalled The Magpies’ biggest ever Premier League win, an 8-0 win over The Blades’ city rivals Sheffield Wednesday at St James’ Park in 1999.
Eddie Howe’s side also became the first in Premier League history to have eight different goalscorers from the same side in a single match. Longstaff, Dan Burn, Sven Botman, Callum Wilson, Gordon, Miguel Almiron, Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak all got on the scoresheet.