The Premier League is back: 20 games, 52 goals.
Thirty-seven players have scored so far, including hat-tricks from Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Norwich’s Teemu Pukki, with the added twist that every goal is now scrutinised by a video assistant referee (VAR).
It has led to celebrations, cheers, hesitation, jeers, anxious waits and, in four cases, disallowed goals for City’s Gabriel Jesus (twice), Brighton’s Leandro Trossard and Wolves’ Leander Dendoncker.
“It’s killing the passion in football!” complain critics. “Players, managers and fans won’t celebrate like they used to.”
“Nonsense, it adds to the drama!” counteract others. “Football’s about entertainment. Let’s use technology to help.”
VAR has, as expected, polarised opinion. Significantly, it has been introduced in the Premier League at the same time as key amendments to the laws of the game.