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Two major VAR calls went against Premier League leaders Manchester City as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton on Saturday.
City’s winning run in the Premier League was finally brought to an end after 12 consecutive victories, with Southampton managing to frustrate Pep Guardiola's side at St Mary's.
Kyle Walker-Peters put Southampton ahead with a fine finish after just seven minutes, before Aymeric Laporte equalised with a header for City after the break.
City pushed hard for a winner and thought they had won a penalty when Kevin De Bruyne was brought down on the edge of the area by Oriol Romeu and Mohammed Salisu.
However, after a lengthy VAR review, the challenge was judged to have occurred just outside the box and no penalty was given.
Minutes later, Southampton midfielder Stuart Armstrong escaped with just a yellow card after catching Laporte on his thigh with a studs-up challenge.
Stuart Armstrong avoids a red card for this challenge on Laporte.— SPORTbible (@sportbible) January 22, 2022
Correct decision? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Hgickq1N5L
The tackle was the subject of another lengthy VAR review but referee Simon Hooper was instructed to stay with his original decision, to the frustration of some City fans.
“Var doing everything to keep Southampton in the game, should of been a pen an a red card from Armstrong,” wrote one fan on Twitter.
Another added: “What are the commentators on here, that’s a stone wall red for Armstrong, missed the ball completely, reckless, VAR at its finest again.”
Can’t for the life of me understand why they aren’t overturning that Armstrong yellow card decision - clear high boot and should be red— Charlie Bradbeer (@BradbeerCharlie) January 22, 2022
VAR has failed City there tbh. Armstrong really lucky to have stayed on there. You don’t have to break someone’s leg in a dangerous play to get a red.— NiHADlfc (@NiHADlfc) January 22, 2022
Screenshot making it look bad, Armstrong only grazed him, minimal contact— Kevin (@ky_an17) January 22, 2022
However, other fans believe VAR made the correct call not to send Armstrong off.
“That Armstrong challenge on Laporte is prime example why still photos don’t tell the story. A photo shows Armstrong catching him studs up on the thigh. The reality was he barely touched him, was no force, wasn’t reckless, didn’t endanger the opponent,” wrote one user on Twitter.
Another added: "Screenshot making it look bad. Armstrong only grazed him, minimal contact."
Well thanks for the souvenir lol pic.twitter.com/okzDpDytXt— Aymeric Laporte (@Laporte) January 22, 2022
Laporte took to Twitter after the match to post an image of a large graze caused by Armstrong's challenge, alongside the caption: "Well thanks for the souvenir lol."
The draw moves City 12 points clear of closest rivals Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table, although Jurgen Klopp's side have two games in hand on the defending champions.
Southampton, meanwhile, are up to 12th place and are now 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
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