Ref Review: The controversial decisions of the midweek games

Date published: Friday 22nd April 2016 3:27

Our panel debate several highly-dubious decisions in the Premier League across the midweek programme, with a lack of consistency from referee Jon Moss bewildering our panel.

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 keep a tally of the major decisions to go for and against each team in an attempt to settle the never-ending debate about whether certain clubs are favoured more than others by Premier League referees.


Possible Tottenham penalty v Stoke: The result of this match thankfully did not come down to this particular incident, but it is definitely worth a mention as the debate with infringements at set pieces continues. Referee Jon Moss penalised Wes Morgan for grappling Winston Reid at the weekend, and as the ball was floated across on the hour mark at the Britannia Stadium on Monday night it appeared a similar situation took place.

Ryan Shawcross appeared to drag Toby Alderweireld to the floor, though no penalty was awarded. It was effectively a bear-hug, with Shawcross making no attempt to play the ball and simply focusing on stopping his man from getting there. Our panel had little doubt about this one, however, and felt it was a missed decision from Neil Swarbrick. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Townsend challenge on Kolarov leading to goal for Man City: This is a more difficult one to call. Townsend is in fairness the wrong side of the ball, and Kolarov does well to shield it like the smart player he clearly is.

However, once the contact does come, he makes a meal of it and goes down easily. The sport is dangerously transitioning towards becoming entirely non-contact, something which is evidenced by the way Kolarov went down. The referee gets the benefit of the doubt on this one though as it is a foul by current standards. Verdict: Correct decision

Missed Aguero offside when scoring v Newcastle: There is absolutely no doubt about this one. When the ball is played in, Sergio Aguero is a good two yards offside. Linesman simply has to spot it; end of debate. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Aguero penalty appeal v Newcastle: This links with the Townsend challenge in the sense that players simply have no way of putting pressure on the ball from behind a player without them going down in a heap.

What Aguero did in this instance was instinctive of a striker: get the ball in a dangerous position inside the area and protect it until you can create an opportunity. He is looking for the contact from Chancel Mbemba and once he gets it he looks for the penalty. There is minimal contact, however, and certainly nothing foul-worthy, so Kevin Friend gets good marks for this as he did not fall into the trap. Verdict: Correct decision

Ramiro Funes Mori: Apologised for tackle on Divock Origi

Funes Mori red card v Liverpool: From real-time footage this one looked fairly innocuous. Both players came together for the same ball, but then emerging from the collision was Divock Origi looking seriously hurt. Upon replay, it showed what a reckless challenge it was from Funes Mori. He comes in both late and over the top of the ball, planting his studs into Origi’s standing leg with what was a stamp not a scrape. A very dangerous challenge that may yet have caused serious injury for the Belgian, although it is somewhat fortuitous in a way that his leg didn’t snap under the pressure. Verdict: Correct decision

Souare red card escape v Manchester United: Yes this challenge from Pape Souare is a strong one, but in no way shape or form can this ever be a red card. In fact, our panel felt that Souare was unlucky to even receive a yellow card for this. It was a perfectly timed cut-out of a dangerous break for United in which Juan Mata’s heavy touch allows the Senegal international to slide in and avert the trouble. The play on the ball is excellent and it is the follow through that knocks over a stand-still Mata, who goes down like a ragdoll. Verdict: Correct decision

West Ham penalty No 1 v Watford: This one is a very tough call to make from a referee’s point of view as there are arguments from both the striker camp and defender camp. Jose Holebas somewhat clumsily jumps over the back of Cheikhou Kouyate, something which is seen a lot in football and would not normally be a problem. However, he gets absolutely nowhere near the ball. Holebas is literally yards away from it, meaning it can only really be deemed as holding on Kouyate who is looking to move towards the ball to receive it. Again, a hard decision for Mike Dean, but it was the right one. Verdict: Correct decision

West Ham penalty No 2 v Watford: Again, this is a no doubter. Michail Antonio uses a lovely change of direction and begins to head to the byline inside the area before being scythed down from behind by Almen Abdi. The Watford man claims he got a touch of the ball although the replays show no change in direction, meaning Mike Dean was given no other choice but to rightly award the spot kick. Verdict: Correct decision

Watford penalty v West Ham: A third penalty in the match was awarded by Dean when Angelo Ogbonna was penalised for a foul on Sebastian Prodl from a corner. Again this just proves the point that there is no consistency when making decisions based on contact in the box. Having already awarded two penalties for the Hammers, it is perhaps not surpring that when Prodl goes down Mr Dean points to the spot. Maybe he is holding him a bit higher than normal, but there is nothing really in it amongst all the jostling and it seems a harsh call. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Amrabat red card v West Ham: While the second challenge from Nordin Amrabat is certainly not a leg-breaker, it is still a silly challenge to make on a booking. However, does he get a yellow card for that if he isn’t already on one? Our panel leant towards no, and with just seconds left in the game it seemed like more of a forced decision. Verdict: Incorrect decision

West Brom penalty appeal v Arsenal: West Brom made appeals for a penalty when Alexis Sanchez, in controlling a high ball out of the sky, saw it pop up and hit his hand in the area. Under current rules, this was the right call with it being a classic case of ball to hand, not hand to ball. Whether the rules may change in the not too distant future, however, is another conversation altogether, but for now….Verdict: Correct decision 

Arsenal penalty appeal No 1 v West Brom: Arsenal felt they could have had a penalty when Alex Iwobi went down in the area under a ‘challenge’ from Craig Dawson. Bearing in mind this is the same referee who carded Jamie Vardy at the weekend and subequently sent him off, we were slightly confused by the referee’s actions – or lack of – here. Fine, this absolutely wasn’t a penalty as there was no contact, so under our system counts as a correct decision. But we did feel Iwobi made a meal of the challenge and the inconsistency of the official is baffling, as was the lack of a card for Iwobi. However, as as far as the penalty appeal goes….Verdict: Correct decision (not to award a penalty)

Arsenal penalty appeal No 2 v West Brom: Another baffling inconsistency from Moss here, who once again decided against carding Mohamed Elneny for an awful dive in the area in trying to win his side a penalty. Our mission statement in this feature, however, is to only assess whether the official was right or wrong to award, or in this case, not award the penalty, and in this case it was exactly the right call. Verdict: Correct decision (not to award a penalty)


For and Against

Team For Against Total For/Against
1. Liverpool Fourteen Six +8
2.Leicester Seventeen Ten +7
= Man United Nine Two +7
= Man City Thirteen Six +7
5. Aston Villa Seven Two +5
6. Sunderland Nine Five +4
7. Tottenham Eight Five +3
8. Crystal Palace Seven Five +2
9. Everton Four Four 0
= Stoke Seven Seven 0
11. Watford Six Seven -1
12. Chelsea Nine Eleven -2
13. Norwich Four Seven -3
=West Brom Seven Ten -3
15. Arsenal Ten Fourteen -4
16. Southampton Seven Eleven -4
18. Newcastle Five Ten -5
18. Swansea Five Eleven -6
19. Bournemouth Five Twelve -7
20. West Ham Seven Eighteen -11


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Home Forums Ref Review: The controversial decisions from the midweek games

This topic contains 6 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  NOLU 9 months ago.

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    Oli Fisher

    Our panel debate several highly-dubious decisions in the Premier League across midweek, with a lack of consistency from Jon Moss questioned.

    [See the full post at: Ref Review: The controversial decisions from the midweek games]



    Ah excellent. The old “got the ball” argument against Souare’s two-footed lunge. Got the ball so “in no way shape or form can this ever be a red card”. Baffling.

    Two feet and/or off the ground = excessive force. Souare is both. Excessive force is the criteria for a red card according to the laws of the game (which you should definitely have a read of, as it sounds like you never have). It is a red card in all “shapes” and “forms”, as almost every single match report of the game since has stated, yet your actually actually lauds the challenge as excellent play. Quite astounding.

    Remember Moreno’s challenge on Shaw? Moreno “got the ball” but he smashed Shaw’s leg into 3 pieces. After the game former and current referees were unanimous it should have been a red card. That is the damage excessive force can do.

    You just do not ever need to throw your whole body weight in to a challenge. Doing so is exactly what the laws of the game state to be a red card offence.



    If you count all the apparently controversial decisions that this panel has deemed incorrect, it is interesting to note that there are more supposedly incorrect decisions involving teams in the top half of the table than there are in the bottom half. In fact, on average, teams in the top half had more that 19 poor refereeing decisions so far this season, where the bottom ten sides have only averaged about 13 bad decisions. You can draw certain conclusions from this, depending on your angle. Either the games involving top half sides are more high-tempo, highly charged affairs, so that referees are pressurized into making incorrect decisions. Or the panel focusses a disproportionate amount of attention on the games involving bigger teams…



    So a challenge on the touch line by Milner in the stoke game warrants inclusions as a decision given to Liverpool, but a blatant dive by Baines, to get Milner a yellow card doesn’t warrant inclusion, I think this feature has become a bit ridiculous.


    James Marshment

    Paxman – the foul on Milner (v Stoke) led (in)directly to a goal for Liverpool. Compare that vs the Baines card, whether controversial or not, we’d be here all day writing this feature if we reviewed every controversial booking. Had it then led to a second yellow (and a red) we’d have certainly reviewed it. Cheers. -Marshy



    If the purpose of this is to discuss the Ref decisions then why does it not also conclude that John Moss made 2 incorrect decisions (in favour of Arsenal) for the 2 dives attempting to win penalties? Particularly as it was the same ref who was dolling out the yellow cards last week and ignoring headlock type challenges. (Hope he never refs a Liverpool game)



    This becomes more nonsensical by the week.

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