What Michael Oliver did right after VAR decision says everything about Everton and Premier League

Referee Michael Oliver speaks to Jordan Pickford during the match between Arsenal and Everton at the Emirates Stadium on May 19, 2024

It was fitting for all the wrong reasons that the last chance of the season the Premier League have to stick the knife into Everton, they do it again through their match officials with referee Michael Oliver ignoring Gabrel Jesus' blatant handball to allow Arsenal's last-minute winner.

Arsenal were going for the title so it was a different type of atmosphere but I thought Everton gave a good account of themselves, put the pressure on and forced the issue like everything counted. It would have been easy for them to go through the motions and crumbled but the players and Sean Dyche deserved something out of that game.

Having got our noses in front it was disappointing to concede an equaliser soon after with what was a typical Arsenal goal - although they were a bit fortunate with it going through a couple of players' legs - put we kept at it to the best of our abilities in the second half until the sucker punch at the end. Look it's a mistake from Ashley Young, you get told as a kid not to do square balls like that, never mind to do it against Arsenal with the quality that they've got.

Gabriel Jesus touches the ball with his arm, he meant it and he leans his body to gain an advantage so it's 100% handball even though his arm is by his side. I don't think the referee looked at it enough from different angles.

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The way Oliver strolled off with an air of arrogance it seemed like he was playing up to the occasion with Arsenal going for the title and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters watching on in the Emirates Stadium. Referees have got a tough job and always get loads of stick but you react to the way they treat you.

If you could have a conversation with them it was ok but if they spoke to you like a school teacher, it made it more frustration. Oliver just seemed to give it a short glance and act like 'it's my decision and I'm going to be the big one.'

The thing is, it was the wrong decision and the occasion has got to him. It can happen, we're all human, it gets to players, sometimes on derby day you can overstep the line and it happens to referees and given all that was at stake, I think it did affect Oliver, 100%.

I've questioned VAR and Premier League clubs are going to be voting on it. They've been micro-managing games and re-refereeing games at times with no consistency but this showed the flaws in the system in a different way.

I think it's going to stay but it needs to improve, along with the match officials. We've had it for five years now, you expect issues and tweaks at the start but the system as a whole seems to be getting worse, it's not just the technology, it's the officials who are using it.

Also, if it's an obvious one like Jesus, just tell the referee he missed it and crack on rather than waste time having him go over to watch it on the monitor and stopping the game.

It was nice at least for Idrissa Gueye to score again after the announcement that Everton have taken up their option to extend his contract by a year and he is one of those players who you know what you're getting from him. It was only when we were going through a bad run and he was unavailable that we realised what we were missing.

When he came back for the run-in we saw the kind of performances he's capable of producing and what he brings to the team. He's got his flaws of course, every player does, but I think he's been instrumental in the latter part of the season after coming back into the side, we've looked a totally different team with his experience and presence in working hard and breaking things down.

It's what a Dyche team needs. It's well-deserved that he gets an extra year as he's difficult to replace - as we found out when he left first time around.

Two players who are even older than Gueye, Young and club captain Seamus Coleman have also been offered new one-year deals. However, I also think we need more pace and strength with more dynamic-type players.

Young shouldn't be starting games regularly, he should be a squad player to come in and do a professional job when needed. We need improvement on the wings, in the number 10 area and the finding replacements for the players who Kevin Thelwell says will be sold.

He and Dyche are close mates from their Watford days but he won't be doing him any favours. The way he looks after himself will rub off on the youngsters and the same goes for Coleman and they'll realise that's the kind of determination and dedication they need to add to their game to make it.

Finally, what about the Premier League putting out a story of the season video that featured players and managers from every other club in the division but not us?

It's those sort of things that wind Evertonians up. You think of what's gone on this season at Everton yet somehow we're the forgotten club.

How can you forget a club who has been in the spotlight possibly more than anyone else this season? It's another one that as Evertonians we shrug it off because we're not surprised but hopefully next season we can make the headlines more for our on-the-pitch displays, whoever comes in to run our beautiful football club.

Blues must sort summer friendly schedule to avoid slow start

Everton need to get our pre-season plans sorted.

We've been here in the past where things haven't been signed off and the players don't know where they're going or what kind of quality they'll be facing and that's hurt us.

Dyche will be demanding a tough pre-season and deserves that from the club to get sorted. Too many times previously we've played weak teams and then one decent opposition at the end of it all but that's not enough.

Look at some of the opponents our rivals are facing in the summer, both tactically and physically they're getting themselves ready for the Premier League. If you're a player going away, it makes your holiday a bit easier if you know what you're coming back to as the unknown unsettles footballers.

We don't want another slow start to a season. The club need to do all they can to make sure that doesn't happen.

There's going to be a lot of change at Everton this summer and we don't want a nightmare scenario where we get relegated in our last season at Goodison Park. It's going to be tougher in the Premier League next season with the teams that are coming up to replace the ones that are going down so we've got to at least be reaching the levels of this season - on the pitch - with a playing personnel that is different.