By Tim Stannard
Josep Bartomeu implies that VAR decisions only go in Real Madrid's direction after the team's 1-0 win at Athletic
What have Leicester City's attack and Real Madrid's recent results got in common? They are both very Var-dy? No? Fine.
On Sunday morning, Real Madrid's Coach Zizou demanded respect after the team's second plodding 1-0 victory in a row that owed itself to a VAR-reviewed penalty decision. "I'm tired of people saying we are winning because of referees," huffed the Frenchman after a 1-0 victory in Bilbao that was largely a repeat performance of Thursday's 1-0 win over Getafe. Both coming from VAR-awarded spot kicks.
There was fat chance of that demand being fulfilled with Barcelona playing a few hours later. Despite a returning Antoine Griezmann of all people inspiring an impressive 4-1 win at Villarreal, The Barca collective was back with the implication that the Powers-that-Be are responsible for the four-point gap between the two teams at the top of the standings, having turned two draws into two wins for Madrid.
Barcelona president, speaking to Movistar after the match, complained that "it seems it always favors the same [team]. There have been many games when VAR has favored the same [team]."
Bartomeu's comments followed Gerard Pique imagining what was going on in the VAR booth after a Lionel Messi goal had been ruled out.
We don't think Gerard Pique likes VAR 🤣 pic.twitter.com/K7oOqzZ1Zt— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) July 5, 2020
With four games to go and a four-point gap to overcome, Barcelona need Madrid to mess up in two games - a couple of power failures in a booth in Madrid and more flat performances would do the trick - as well as Barcelona remaining perfect in the team's final matches. Barcelona is next in action against Espanyol on Wednesday, while Real Madrid enjoys an extra two day's rest before a home clash against Alaves on Friday.
The Sports Burst live show will look ahead to see if a comeback is possible and also Monday-morning-quarterback Sunday's big games. Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page or beIN XTRA channel at 12PM ET.
Monday's Trans-Europe Express for Sevilla and Real Sociedad
Round 34 wraps in LaLiga on Monday, to give a solid 19 hours break before Round 35 gets underway.
Real Sociedad are kicking off the day. La Real has largely been a shambolic mess since the season restart with just one win in six turning the side from being Champions League contenders to a team in seventh and trying to bag a Europa League spot. That challenge continues against a Levante side that is plump and comfortable in mid-table.
Coverage begins at 1PM ET and that game is followed by Sevilla looking to keep their basecamp in fourth spot against Eibar. The weary Sevilla coach, Julen Lopetgui notes that his team is now playing on Monday, Thursday and Sunday, which will take it up to a year when the club's season began with a friendly against Reading on the July 13, 2019.
Mourinho threatens more rule-breaking against Everton
Also worth looking out for on Monday is Jose Mourinho breaking another social distancing rule.
Adding to his previous misdemeanors of running unofficial training sessions in a London park during the UK's lockdown, the Tottenham boss has warned that he might be getting a little too close to Everton coach, Carlo Ancelotti, ahead of an EPL match-up today.
"I think I am going to break the rule of one-meter distancing and I'm going to hug him because I like Carlo very much," joked Mourinho, whose Spurs team are currently seven points off the European places.