Ref Review: The controversial decisions over Christmas

Date published: Thursday 29th December 2016 8:58

Our panel debates the big decisions in the Premier League over the festive period, with Nathan Redmond’s red card and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s brilliant but dodgy strike in the spotlight.

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.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan goal v Sunderland

The Armenian lit up Old Trafford with an outrageous backheel on Boxing Day before admitting it was “the best goal I ever scored”.  And while the flick may end up winning Goal of the Season replays suggest Mkhitaryan was offside when the magic happened. Those in the Stretford End who witnessed this astonishing effort however won’t care in the slightest.

Verdict – Incorrect decision


Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty appeal v Sunderland

Ibra bagged his 50th goal of 2016 after scoring the Red Devils’ second in a 3-1 win but he didn’t cover himself in glory after going down very easily in the box at Old Trafford with the result still very much in the balance. Any contact with the Sunderland player was minimal and thankfully Martin Atkinson waved play on. On reflection Ibrahimovic might count himself lucky he wasn’t cautioned for simulation.

Verdict – Correct decision


Olivier Giroud goal v West Brom

The Frenchman came up with a crucial late winner at the Emirates but his 86th goal had Baggies boss Tony Pulis raging. Pulis alleged Giroud “smashed” into his defender Gareth McAuley in the build up to Arsenal’s winner but referee Neil Swarbrick can rest easy, the challenge was absolutely fine.

Verdict – Correct decision

Fabio yellow card v Burnley

Ref Craig Pawson booked 11 players at Turf Moor but the big talking point was his failure to send off Fabio, who tried to break up a Burnley counter by flying into Steven Defour. The studs were high and it looked a bad challenge on Defour. He got nowhere near the ball and under the circumstances the card produced should definitely have been red rather than yellow.

Verdict – Incorrect decision


Manchester City penalty v Hull City

Raheem Sterling had been kept relatively quiet until dancing into the area with 18 minutes left at Hull. Andrew Roberton, beaten for pace, stuck out a clumsy leg abd the dynamics of the game were transformed.  Robert Madley had no option but to point to the spot.

Verdict – Correct decision


Burnley penalty appeal v Middlesbrough

Andre Gray’s volley nine minutes from time was enough to give Burnley the three points but their fans thought they should have had a penalty in the first half for a handball by Callum Chambers in the area. On reflection though under-fire whistler Pawson got this one right.

Verdict – Correct decision

Crystal Palace penalty appeal v Watford

Referee Mark Clattenburg judged that Wilfried Zaha had initiated contact and booked him for simulation. He tangled with Miguel Britos three minutes from time but if anything Britos does his best to avoid contact. Palace fans were furious and there mood wasn’t helped by Harry the Hornet mocking Zaha after the game by theatrically throwing himself to the ground. It was a bizarre end to s breathless game and old Harry the Hornet could have faced retrospective action with Sam Allardyce claiming “The mascot is out of order isn’t he, because it could have produced the wrong reaction?” Happily common sense has prevailed and neither the club nor the FA will be taking matters further.

Verdict – Correct decision

Redmond red card v Tottenham

Nathan Redmond grabbed a handful of Dele Alli’s shirt as the England man burst through last night in the 57th minute.

There was plenty of confusion on social media as to whether Redmond’s foul was a sending off and a penalty. Mike Dean thought so.

Verdict – Correct decision

It may seem harsh but under the new rules Dean was right to award a penalty and brandish a red card. Had Redmond tried to win the ball with a tackle he would have been shown a yellow.


Heurelho Gomes possible red card v Watford

Gomes was a lucky boy to still be on the pitch after hacking down Christian Benteke in the box after the pair clashed following Sebastian Prodl’s woeful backpass. It was a wild challenge that should have seen him sent to the stands. To add insult to injury the Brazilian then saved Benteke’s penalty after diving low down to his left.

Verdict – Incorrect decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award

Crystal Palace

The Eagles were not happy about a few crucial decisions by Clattenburg against Watford, or the antics of Harry the Hornet. Indeed in 15 matches Palace have played and Clattenburg has been the man in the middle, they have yet to win. If Gomes was sent off for taking Benteke out the chances are they would have scored from the resulting penalty and from 2-0 up would surely have kept the 10-men Hornets at arms length.


Stonewall decision of the week

Man City penalty v Hull City

They say speed kills and Hull defender Robertson will testify to that after being done in the area by a rapid Raheem Sterling. The fact not a solitary Hull player contested the decision told its own story. A penalty every day of the week.

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