Ref Review: ‘Stonewall decision of the week’ in Man Utd win

Chris Smalling TEAMtalk

Arsenal were rather fortunate to get away from Selhurst Park with a point yesterday, while the ‘stonewall decision of the week’ came at Old Trafford and how did Chris Smalling avoid a red card?

Refereeing decisions are regularly the source of debate among fans, pundits, players and managers so this season TEAMtalk’s ‘Ref Review’ panel will be passing judgement on every red card (or avoidance of one), every penalty  (or avoidance of one) and any other major incident in each Premier League match.

We may be in the day and age of goalline technology, while VAR made its appearance at the World Cup, but football remains littered with controversies.

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.


Bournemouth penalty v Fulham

The visitors were gifted the chance to take the lead at Craven Cottage on Saturday after a silly foul by Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who barged Callum Wilson over in the area. It was crude and clumsy from the Dutch youngster, and a penalty all day long.

Verdict: Correct decision


Kevin McDonald red card v Bournemouth

Kevin McDonald TEAMtalk

McDonald was dismissed for two bookings, the second coming for a foul on David Brooks soon after the Cherries’ second goal. Brooks was making his way towards goal when McDonald dragged him down so he can have few complaints.

Verdict: Correct decision


Mark Noble red card v Leicester City

Mark Noble TEAMtalk

The Hammers were looking good at the King Power until skipper Noble steamed in with a high-footed lunge that caught Wilfred Ndidi on the shin. Perhaps there might have been no genuine malice in the challenge but you just can’t dive in studs showing like that. He was out of control and the ref got it spot on. The dismissal was Noble’s fifth in the Premier League for West Ham.

Verdict: Correct decision


Crystal Palace first penalty v Arsenal

A controversial match at Selhurst Park with several big talking points. There was nothing contentious about this initial penalty award however. Shkodran Mustafi clearly took out poor Cheikhou Kouyate in the area to leave Martin Atkinson with no choice but to point to the spot. Pretty brainless stuff from Mustafi, who endured a torrid afternoon all round against the Eagles.

Verdict: Correct decision


Arsenal second goal v Crystal Palace

Aubameyang Arsenal TEAMtalk

Calls for the introduction of VAR in the Premier League grew louder in south London as Arsenal took a 2-1 lead against Palace in massively controversial circumstances. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did well to stab home and replays confirmed the ball crossed the line by a matter of millimetres. However it was the ‘assist’ by Alexandre Lacazette that had everyone talking as the Arsenal striker raised an arm and quite visibly deflected the ball towards the back post for Aubameyang to feast on. A blatant handball, but missed completely by the officials.

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Crystal Palace second penalty v Arsenal

That Palace and Arsenal supporters were both left disgruntled at the performance of Martin Atkinson and his team tells you what kind of afternoon it was at Selhurst Park, and the final big talking point was the second Palace penalty and the role of Wilfried Zaha in earning it. The Palace talisman showed superb skill to trick his way into the Arsenal box, and after squaring up Granit Xhaka, Zaha went down over the defender’s dangled leg. It was contentious, but a good call from Martin Atkinson, who had no slow-mo replays.

Verdict: Correct decision


Manchester United penalty v Everton

There was some lively debate on social media and in the Sky studio as to the validity of the penalty Manchester United were awarded at Old Trafford. Idrissa Gueye got some of the ball when he tangled with the Anthony Martial in the area on 26 minutes but it still looked a trip to us, and a foul, despite the post-match protestations of Blues boss Marco Silva.

Verdict: Correct decision


Everton penalty v Manchester United

Chris Smalling TEAMtalk

The Red Devils were 2-0 up and cruising when Paul Pogba carelessly lost possession after a spot of showboating in the middle of the park. Gylfi Sigurdsson took full advantage as he sent Richarlison on his way, only for the Brazilian to be brought down by a crazy tackle by Chris Smalling. A penalty every day of the week that. And twice on a Sunday. As a side note, we are really not sure how Smalling’s stayed on the pitch either. It should have been a second yellow card as he had already been booked.

Verdict: Correct decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award

Crystal Palace

With every incorrect high-profile decision such as the Lacazette handball that is not spotted, the argument swings more in the favour of VAR. Whichever way you look at it this was a bad miss by the officials as Lacazette went full Maradona in the lead up to Arsenal’s second goal and it knocked the stuffing out of poor Palace, who were right in the game at 1-1.

Stonewall decision of the week

Everton penalty

Chris Smalling was making his 300th competitive appearance for Manchester United on Sunday but his tackle on Richarlison certainly won’t make the cut when it comes to compiling his career highlights. As the Brazilian was sent through into the area by Gylfi Sigurdsson, Smalling just hacked his legs away from underneath him. A breathtakingly poor challenge and one of the most blatant penalties you will see this season.