Graham Potter: Chelsea boss says West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek made a ‘good save’

Chelsea boss Graham Potter says West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek made a “good save” as the Blues were denied a late penalty in a frustrating 1-1 draw.

Referee Craig Pawson waved play on after Conor Gallagher’s 89th-minute shot clearly struck Soucek’s hand, with VAR making no decision on the incident.

“I thought it was a good save,” said Potter, whose side have won one game of their last seven league games.

“It looks like one of those ones that if it had been given I don’t think it would have been overturned.”

A message on Chelsea’s Twitter feed, which got tens of thousands of likes, said: “Soucek makes a great save from Conor Gallagher.”

Potter added: “It looks like a handball to me.

“I didn’t know Tomas could get down that easily and save like that. But it’s not for me to say about VAR.

“Sometimes they go for you and sometimes they don’t, you just have to accept that.”

Former England defender Danny Murphy said the decision was “absolutely ludicrous”.

“I am lost for words at the incompetence of the people doing VAR,” he added.

Chelsea's Conor Gallagher's shot appears to strike West Ham's player Tomas Soucek's arm
Chelsea have won five of their 16 Premier League games under Graham Potter

What happened with penalty that was not awarded?

Soucek was falling to his left when he diverted the shot by substitute Gallagher off the target with his left hand.

Despite a VAR check, no penalty was given and the match ended 1-1.

“No wonder these Chelsea players are going bananas,” former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand told BT Sport.

“What a save – I cannot believe it has not been given. It’s a stonewall penalty.”

Chelsea legend and former West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola added: “It is clearly the hand – it is not attached to the body. A shot at goal is blocked, in my opinion a penalty.”

The referee’s view: ‘The law is clear’

Former Premier League referee Peter Walton said he was disappointed the video assistant referee did not tell Pawson to watch the incident again on the pitch side monitor.

“The law is clear,” Walton told BT Sport.

“VAR clearly thinks the arm was in a natural position to break its fall. When you look at it closely the ball is past his knee and he decides his arm is there.

“I am disappointed VAR didn’t give the referee a chance to look at it.”

‘Unmanageable’ or ‘2024 title hopefuls’?

Despite spending big over the past two transfer windows, Chelsea have won just one of their past seven Premier League games.

They are marooned in mid-table and a challenge for a top-four finish looks increasingly unlikely.

Former players are split on where the club is heading under Potter, who is five months into a five-year contract.

Ex-Chelsea and West Ham keeper Rob Green told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s if he finds his best XI – if he gets given the time – and I’m not sure he will.”

Former England captain Alan Shearer, also speaking on 5 Live, added: “Potter knows the rules in football.

“As much as he will be saying ‘we have to write this season off’, he knows if he doesn’t get results immediately he won’t be the one picking the team next season. He will be gone.”

Ex-Chelsea and West Ham defender Scott Minto believes the Blues could challenge for the title next season.

“You will see the best of them next season – but you cant have a squad this big going into next season because managers want some consistency,” Minto told BBC Sport.

Green said the size of Chelsea’s squad made them “unmanageable”.

He added: “The players and expectations are literally unmanageable. You cannot manage that many players. You get splinter groups in the dressing room and it becomes unmanageable.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like