Ref Review: The controversial decisions from matchday 19

Date published: Monday 2nd January 2017 11:47

Our panel debates the big decisions in the Premier League over the weekend, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s disallowed strike v Middlesbrough and a controversial Tottenham decision under the microscope.

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 most fortunate and which was the easiest decision for a match official to make.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic disallowed goal v Middlesbrough

Massively contentious moment at Old Trafford when, with the score at 0-0, Ibrahimovic met Anthony Martial’s cross from the left. The big Swede beat Victor Valdes to the ball and acrobatically swept home. However ref Lee Mason then chalked the ‘goal’ off citing a high boot. It was a smart finish and would have been one for the scrapbook. The Stretford End were furious and replays suggest Zlatan’s foot was back on dry land by the time he and Valdes clashed. He was nowhere near his former Barcelona teammate when he made contact with the ball ergo the goal should have stood. It was especially tough on Ibrahimovic who needed just one goal to equal Lionel Messi’s effort of 51 for the calendar year. Suffice to say he was not amused.


Verdict Incorrect decision


Middlesbrough penalty appeal v Manchester United

Ref Mason would have made himself public enemy number one with everyone connected with the Red Devils had he, just before Paul Pogba’s winner, pointed to the spot after Eric Bailly clashed with Gaston Ramirez in the area. It was just a little shove and while it would have been outrageously harsh on a United side who had dominated proceedings we’ve all seen them given. Mason however stood firm and correctly waved half-hearted Teesside appeals away. And that was all she wrote for the Boro.


Verdict Correct decision


Burnley penalty v Sunderland

Burnley were already 3-0 up and cruising against the hapless Black Cats when Seb Larsson chopped down Scott Arfield. As spot kicks go this was about as conclusive as the come.

Verdict Correct decision


Allan Nyom possible red card v Southampton

The Baggies full-back was a recipient of one final piece of luck in 2016 after avoiding a red card at St Mary’s. Already booked (harshly for a challenge on Cuco Martina) he went in clumsily and aggressively on Shane Long in first half stoppage-time. It was a booking all day long and would have been his second. Ref Mike Jones though kept his cards in his pocket, much to the chagrin of the home faithful. Tellingly, wily old Baggies boss Tony Pulis then hooked Nyom at half-time

Verdict Incorrect decision


Harvard Nordtveit yellow card v Leicester City

If Nordtveit fails to scale the heights as a footballer he might want to consider a career in WWE. His torso-high, studs up challenge on Ben Chilwell was about as naughty as X-rated challenges get. The whole stadium was expecting referee Anthony Taylor to produce the inevitable red card only for the Wythenshawe whistler to nonchalantly brandish a yellow. A ridiculous challenge and an equally ridiculous call to claim it didn’t merit a straight red. Tut, tut Mr Taylor.

Verdict Incorrect decision


Nacho Monreal yellow card v Crystal Palace

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The Spanish defender was not best pleased to see yellow against the Eagles but can have few complaints after dragging down the rampaging Wilfried Zaha after the latter made up fully 30 yards to get to the ball down the flank. No doubt about this one it was as blatant as they come.

Verdict Correct decision


Tottenham penalty appeal v Watford

The fact Spurs cruised to a rather facile 4-1 victory means it is all rather academic but when the first Premier League clash of 2017 was 0-0 Tottenham had a legitimate shout for a spot kick. Christian Eriksen struck a fierce drive that looked goal bound but hit the raised arm of Etienne Capoue. The Spurs players in the box went up in unison but ref Michael Oliver wasn’t interested. Big call at the time. And the wrong one on reflection.

VerdictIncorrect decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award

Manchester United

It has to be the Red Devils and in particular Mr Ibrahimovic. A wonderful piece of skill was wrongly called for dangerous play meaning he ended 2016 one agonising goal short of Messi’s total of 51 for the Callander year.


Stonewall decision of the week

David Moyes: Sunderland are improving

Burnley penalty v Sunderland

Seb Larsson showed just why Sunderland don’t employ him purely for his defensive prowess after his crude challenge on Arfield. The Swede bundled the Burnley man to the floor and it says everything that virtually no Sunderland player bothered to remonstrate with Oxfordshire whistler Graham Scott.

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