Ref Review: Dele Alli penalty verdict; VAR debate over Man Utd goal

Date published: Monday 19th February 2018 1:16

VAR took centre stage in the FA Cup over the weekend, while Dele Alli was again in the news after winning a penalty at Rochdale.


Refereeing decisions are regularly the source of debate among fans, pundits, players and managers so this season a five-strong TEAMtalk panel will be passing judgement on every red card (or avoidance of one), every penalty and any other major incident every matchday.

We’ll also decide on a weekly basis which side can consider themselves lucky and which was the easiest decision for a match official to make.


Leicester City disallowed goal v Sheffield United

Jamie Vardy was a constant menace for the Foxes against the Blades and thought he’d wrapped the game up at the King Power after firing home for what the hosts thought was 2-0. However his effort was disallowed after Riyad Mahrez was flagged for offside. Really close call from the officials, but the correct one.

Verdict: Correct decision


Swansea City penalty appeal v Sheffield Wednesday

A 0-0 draw was a result neither side would have wanted but the visitors felt they should have had a penalty before half-time when striker Tammy Abraham tumbled over under a challenge by Daniel Pudil. Swansea insisted their man was pushed in the back but ref Paul Tierney ignored their claim and replays confirmed it was a solid call from the referee with the young Swansea striker going down very easily.

Verdict: Correct decision

Manchester United disallowed goal v Huddersfield Town

No question as to what was the talking point of the weekend in terms of refereeing decisions. On Saturday evening, Juan Mata appeared to have put Manchester United 2-0 up just before the break against the Terriers when he ran on to Ashley Young’s clever pass. However, while the Red Devils were celebrating, referee Kevin Friend listened patiently to his earpiece for the VAR input and after what seemed like an eternity the ‘goal’ was eventually chalked off. Mata’s knee was later revealed to be offside. The on screen graphics were admittedly a bit iffy, leading to both manager’s questioning the validity of VAR after the game.

On Sunday Hawkeye said a “technical error led to an incorrect graphic being provided”. Given that VAR is only supposed to be used for a “clear and obvious mistake”, should it even have been used at all in this instance? We are not so sure, but eventually the correct decision prevailed.

Verdict: Correct decision

Rochdale first goal v Tottenham

Before it all went nuts in the second period Dale had actually taken the lead when Ian Henderson finished a counter-attack on the stroke of half-time. It was his sixth goal in the competition this season yet a few Spurs fans on social media were of the opinion Henderson may have been just offside when the ball was played but replays confirmed he was level. Great decision.

Verdict: Correct decision


Tottenham penalty v Rochdale

Incredible drama late on at Rochdale after Dele Alli went down under the challenge of Harrison McGahey in the 88th minute with the score at 1-1. Several Rochdale played were quick to complain that the England man had gone to ground too easily and Rochdale boss Keith Hill claimed Alli was ‘looking for’ a penalty. However while Alli has (rightly or wrongly) earned himself a reputation for diving this season, we don’t get the controversy over this one as it looked a stick on.

Verdict: Correct decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award

Manchester United

The events around Juan Mata’s disallowed ‘goal’ in Yorkshire have exposed flaws in the VAR system for sure. Given how close it was – Mata can’t have been any more than the width of a butterfly’s wing offside – the referee’s original decision to allow the goal should have stood.


Stonewall decision of the week

Tottenham penalty

Dele Alli’s reputation for going down too easily in the area is perhaps well deserved but if, say, Kevin De Bruyne wins that penalty on Sunday, nobody bats an eyelid surely?

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