Paul Merson was baffled by Mike Dean’s decision to not award Tottenham a penalty in their 1-0 defeat at home against Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.
In the second half, Harry Kane was brought down inside the penalty area after Magpies captain Jamaal Lascelles fell into him.
Although the incident was reviewed by VAR, Tottenham were not awarded a spot-kick and that has baffled former Arsenal star Merson.
“Then there was that ‘challenge’ from Jamaal Lascelles on Harry Kane. To this second, I still cannot understand how that was not a penalty,” Merson said on the Sky Sports website.
“Lascelles knew what he was doing when he fell into the path of Kane, the referee didn’t see it that way, fair enough, but if ever there was a ‘clear and obvious error’, the kind VAR was introduced to identify, this was it.
“It was unbelievable at the highest level, unbelievable. I couldn’t believe what I was watching.”
It is hard to see how Tottenham did not win a penalty against Newcastle. Even if Lascelles did not mean to fall into Kane, do any players really intend to foul attackers inside the penalty box? Lascelles brought down the England forward without touching the ball, there was contact and it should have been seen as a clear and obvious error by Dean. However Newcastle fans won’t complain because even though a converted penalty would have seen Spurs draw level, Steve Bruce and his men deserved to win that. Newcastle had just 20 per cent of possession but looked so much more organised and composed both on and off the ball. Joelinton scored a very good goal and players like him, Christian Atsu and Paul Dummett really stood out on what was a superb afternoon in the capital city. Newcastle will have more performances like that this season, but they will be lucky if they get more VAR reviews like that go their way in the future.