Newcastle have been handed a boost as the FA announce that VAR will be used in their FA Cup Third Round tie.
The Magpies will face Blackburn Rovers at St James’ Park on January 5th. As we veer away from tradition, the game will kick off at 17:30 due to international television rights.
But while the kick off time is a bad thing, the announcement of VAR is positive news. The game against Rovers is one of nine Third Round games that will use the new technology.
It was used multiple times during last year’s competition, with varying degrees of success. But as officials begin to get more used to using it, its introduction at St James’ Park can only be a good thing.
Rafa gets his VAR wish
After a 2-1 defeat to Wolves, Rafa Benitez was fuming. His side went down to 10 men somewhat controversially, and failed to receive a penalty despite Ayoze Perez receiving an elbow in the face. These were two decisions that VAR could have changed.
Speaking after the game, Benitez told the Independent: “I saw the replay and we need VAR right now.”
This was arguably the most angry Benitez has been since he became Newcastle manager. So the news that he’ll get his wish in the FA Cup will be music to the Spaniard’s ears.
There have been multiple times this season that VAR might have helped the Magpies. At least in the FA Cup clash with Blackburn, Newcastle will have no excuses.