EPL week 16 review: Benitez demands VAR after late defeat against Wolves

EPL Week 37 Review: Man City retain the title after battering Brighton

Week 16 of the English Premier League sees Wolves move into tenth place after a last-gasp winner from Matt Doherty sees them overcome Newcastle at St James’ Park. 

EPL Wk 16 Review: Benitez demands VAR after late defeat against WolvesWhen it comes to the English Premier League (EPL), Newcastle v Wolves is hardly beluga caviar, but let’s get the chopsticks out and rifle through it nonetheless.

Wolves arrived at St James Park full of hope after beating Chelsea four days earlier to end a run of seven games without a win, and I am sure the Molyneux backroom staff had reminded all and sundry that Newcastle had lost six times in eight home games this season.

You can make that seven in nine.

It was a game that Newcastle should never have lost. Even the coach with the name like a church like warble, Nuno Espírito Santo, told the press that they were ‘lucky’ to leave the North East with all three points.

The first half saw Newcastle dominate possession like a receptionist dominates the phone lines with 60% of the ball sticking to the feet of the men in black and white, and Salomon Rondon came close to turning that possession into something that matters when he chested, turned and volleyed a brilliant ball from the right, only for him to strike the shot straight at the keeper.

Then came the sucker punch.

Helder Costa picked the ball up on the left-hand side of the Newcastle penalty area. The Portuguese star floated a majestic ball to Diogo Jota who controlled with his chest before finishing from six yards. It was his second successive goal after a run of 13-games without one.

Newcastle reacted brilliantly and went into the half-time team talk, level. Rondon cracked the underside of the crossbar with a thunderous free kick. Wolves cleared their lines, but the ball flew back into the box, and Ayoze Pérez headed the equaliser.

Then came the pivotal moment in the match.

Only 57-minutes had registered on the clock when DeAndre Yedlin brought Jota down as he threatened to bear down on goal. The tackle was cynical, but he was a long way out, and Jamaal Lascelles was also tracking back.

Rafa Benítez was furious with the decision demanding that the EPL introduce Video Replay Assistants (VAR) immediately rather than wait until the start of next season.

The decision by Mike Dean to send the lad off changed everything. Newcastle sat back, and Wolves filled in the gaps. Raul Jiminez smacked the crossbar with a thunderbolt, and Matt Doherty saw Martin Dubravka save a terrific curler.

Then with virtually the last kick of the game, Jota dribbled through a pack of zebras, shot, Dubravka saved, and Doherty was on hand to head home the winner.

There were 94-minutes on the clock.

Next up for Wolves is a home tie against Bournemouth, whereas Newcastle travels to fellow relegation strugglers Huddersfield in a crucial tie.

Here are the rest of the weekend’s results:

Results in Full

Bournemouth 0 v 4 Liverpool
Burnley 1 v 0 Brighton
Man Utd 4 v 1 Fulham
Arsenal 1 v 0 Huddersfield
Cardiff 1 v 0 Southampton
West Ham 3 v 2 Crystal Palace
Chelsea 2 v o Man City
Leicester 0 v 2 Spurs
Newcastle 2 v 1 Wolves

To Be Played (Mon)

Everton v Watford

Premier League Table

1. Liverpool – 42 points
2. Man City – 41
3. Spurs – 36
4. Chelsea – 34
5. Arsenal – 34
6. Man Utd – 26
7. Everton – 23
8. Bournemouth – 23
9. Leicester – 22
10. Wolves – 22
11. West Ham – 21
12. Brighton – 21
13. Watford – 20
14. Cardiff – 14
15. Newcastle – 13
16. Crystal Palace – 12
17. Burnley – 12
18. Huddersfield – 10
19. Southampton – 9
20. Fulham – 9


To Win

Man City 4/11
Liverpool 5/2

Top 4 Finish

Man City 1/1000
Liverpool 1/100
Spurs 1/3
Chelsea 1/3
Arsenal 5/6
Man Utd 15/2


Huddersfield 4/9
Burnley -4/7
Cardiff 4/6
Fulham 4/5
Southampton 2/1

Top Scorer

Mohamed Salah 11/4 (10 goals)
Harry Kane 5/2 (9 goals)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 5/1 (10 goals)
Sergio Aguero 4/1 (8 goals)

Next Manager to Leave

Jose Mourinho 9/4
Roy Hodgson 4/1
Sean Dyche 9/1