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Premier League

VAR under spotlight again as Chelsea cruise past Rennes with help from officials

THROUGHOUT the season there are always going to be moments where teams get the swing of the pendulum in terms of VAR decisions – and other games when it will go against them.

Tonight, in Chelsea’s Champions League win over Rennes, the pendulum swung heavily in the direction of Frank Lampard’s side.

Chelsea benefitted from a major VAR decision before half-time to go 2-0 in front

The Blues were narrowly winning the Group E tie thanks to Timo Werner’s tenth-minute penalty after he was fouled in the box by Rennes defender Dalbert.

Chelsea were not playing badly by any stretch but after the goal Rennes started to get back into the game and actually edge Chelsea slightly in terms of possession.

The game had a feel of being on a knife’s edge and Rennes looked like threatening the Chelsea goal as things went on.

But Lampard’s side were about to be handed the game on a plate before the half-time whistle sounded.

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Dalbert was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the penalty area, which was picked up by VAR.

The German referee Felix Zwayer then checked the monitor at the side of the pitch and gave the penalty to Chelsea, and duly sent Dalbert off for an early shower.

Werner scored his second penalty of the night for Chelsea and put them two goals clear, with one extra man on the pitch.

Chelsea didn’t even need to get out of second gear and were very much gifted a massive Champions League victory in what looked like a pair of very harsh decisions from tonight’s officials.

German referee Felix Zwayer penalised Dalbert for his handball after the ball bounced up off his leg

He also showed the Rennes defender a second yellow card to send him for an early bath

They went on to score their third goal despite not really playing amazingly well, but they did the job and came away with yet another clean sheet – their fifth in a row, the first time they have done this since 2010.

Edouard Mendy now has six shoutouts in his first seven games for Chelsea, another incredible fact. Chelsea have gone seven-and-a-half hours now without conceding.

But Rennes can feel aggrieved, Chelsea will take that with open arms knowing fully well that it has been before, and will be again, themselves on the back of some poor VAR decisions and officiating.

It also begs the question once more, is VAR really helping or hindering the game?

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Many have their strong views on the subject and it always manages to split opinions but when you see decisions like this tonight, it really does throw VAR under the bus and many believe it is ruining the beautiful game.

Chelsea will take it. It’s put them in a fine position to qualify for the knockout stages of Europe’s most prestigious competition.

Chelsea fans will certainly take it, a chance to see their team advance in the competition once more is a big appeal – and to do it without their players hardly having to put their foot on the gas at all, can only be a good thing.

But we shall sign out with the words of Rio Ferdinand at half-time when describing the penalty and sending off incident: “It’s a disgrace, it’s ruining football.”

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