The 2023-24 Premier League season is only on Matchday 4 but the number of refereeing controversies continues to pile on.
The latest incident took place in Manchester City's clash with Fulham, with the defending champions welcoming the Cottagers to Etihad Stadium. Marco Silva's men entered this clash on the back of their brilliant 2-2 draw at Arsenal and were aiming to pick up a result away to another title contender.
Instead, the London club suffered what many perceive to be an injustice. After conceding the opener in the 31st minute courtesy of a lovely Julian Alvarez goal, the visitors managed to equalize only two minutes later through Tim Ream. However, Fulham entered the break 2-1 down following a controversial goal.
Nathan Ake scored for the hosts with only a few minutes left before half-time, with Bernd Leno struggling to get to the Dutchman's well-struck header. However, this goal went to VAR as Manuel Akanji, who appeared to be in the line of sight of the ball, was in an offside position.
Furthermore, the Swiss defender even scrambled to jump over the ball. However, much to everyone's surprise, VAR opted against calling referee Michael Oliver over to the screen to review the goal and thus it stood.
Marco Silva and his players were livid, as were the fans watching the game, with many arguing that Akanji obstructed the keeper. This sparked controversy on social media as fans flocked to X (formerly Twitter) to slam VAR and Premier League officials over another blunder.
Guardiola's men went on to win the game comfortably, triumphing 5-1 thanks to a second-half hat-trick from Erling Haaland, but the controversy from that VAR decision will not go away anytime soon. Here are the best posts about that incident.
What do you mean Akanji isn't interfering, he should be getting FPL points for that— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) September 2, 2023
Goal given! I am very surprised by that, would have been very easy to say Akanji was in the way of Leno imo— Sam Lee (@SamLee) September 2, 2023
| Mike Dean: "This goal can never count.. Akanji jumped over the ball, the goal should be disallowed." pic.twitter.com/acK6tHbdVf— CentreGoals. (@centregoals) September 2, 2023
Akanji is not interfering with play according to VAR. pic.twitter.com/ugR6TLG7re— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) September 2, 2023
How can Ake's goal stand, how is Akanji not interfering with play if he had to jump out the way (and in the keepers sight). PGMOL will be issuing another apology today!— Terry Flewers (@terryflewers) September 2, 2023
.@FA_PGMOL at 5pm today:— H (@ClockEndH) September 2, 2023
"After review, we have acknowledged that Manchester City's second goal should not have stood. Manuel Akanji obstructed Bernd Leno's line of sight, and an offside should have been given. We have since apologised to Marco Silva."
If Akanji is not there, Leno saves it. That's staggering to me. https://t.co/W8wMc8qGGt— Peter Rutzler (@peterrutzler) September 2, 2023
High drama here at the Etihad. Alvarez scored his 14th goal in 14 home starts. Tim Ream equalised with a tap in after Ake gave away a careless corner. Then in injury-time Ake scored a header. Akanji offside but adjudged not to have interfered. Fulham fuming... and rightly so. pic.twitter.com/S1lJSMQck5— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) September 2, 2023
How on earth has that City goal been given? Akanji very blatantly dummies the ball from an offside position…— James. (@afcjxmes) September 2, 2023
Yes, Ake's goal should not have stood for Manchester City against Fulham after Akanji interfered with the play in an offside position pic.twitter.com/lC5eO4x0j8— Has the Referee or VAR made a poor decision? (@PoorEPLreferees) September 2, 2023