Ref Review: Arsenal lucky, but decisions even at Bridge

Date published: Monday 2nd November 2015 3:00

Laurent Koscielny: Scores past Lukasz Fabianski in Arsenal win

Arsenal got lucky at the weekend, but Chelsea and Liverpool each had a big decision go for them, according to our Ref Review 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 weekend.

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.

Week 11

Diego Costa avoiding red card v Liverpool: Although all agreed this was far from the worst case of violent conduct we had ever seen, all five of the panel were in no doubt that Costa would have been shown a red card had referee Mark Clattenburg shoving his studs into Martin Skrtel’s midriff. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Lucas avoiding red card v Chelsea: Having already been booked once, Lucas was shown leniency by Clattenburg after a cynical trip on Ramires close to the halfway line. Only one of the panel felt it was the right decision to let him off – read Mark Holmes’ latest column if you can’t guess who! Verdict: Incorrect decision

Ander Herrera penalty appeal v Crystal Palace: Herrera went down in the Palace area after knocking the ball past Damien Delaney, but the collision he was hoping for never arrived. The only surprise is he escaped a booking. Verdict: Correct decision

Manchester City first penalty v Norwich City/Russell Martin sending-off: This was a straightforward decision for referee Robert Madley to make after Russell Martin dived to stop Raheem Sterling’s shot with his hands. Verdict: Correct decision

Fernando avoiding red card v Norwich City: Just before Sterling’s shot, however, Fernando, already on a booking, clearly dived after knocking the ball past out-of-position goalkeeper John Ruddy. It would have been bizarre to see him sent off at the same time as Martin, but that is exactly what should have happened. Verdict: Inorrect decision

Manchester City second penalty v Norwich City: This was another definite penalty, with Robbie Brady clearly fouling Sterling inside the area. Verdict: Correct decision

Swansea City penalty appeal v Arsenal: With the score still goalless, Per Mertesacker cleared moved his arm towards the ball to block Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick. Had it have been spotted,  referee Kevin Friend would surely have pointed to the spot. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Arsenal second goal v Swansea City: This one split the panel, but three out of five felt Laurent Koscielny’s backing in combined with the challenge of Olivier Giroud, who got nowhere near to the ball, meant that this the defender’s goal should have been ruled out. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Watford penalty appeals v West Ham: Watford’s players twice appealed for penalties when first Andy Carroll and late James Collins handballed inside the box, but both incidents were clearly cases of ball to hand rather than the other way around. Verdict: Correct decisions

James Collins red card v Watford: It was a clumsy challenge from behind by Collins, but it certainly wasn’t one which was likely to cause any injury to Odion Ighalo. Four out of five on the panel felt a yellow card would have sufficed. Verdict: Incorrect decision

First West Brom penalty appeal v Leicester City: With West Brom 1-0 up, Leonardo Ulloa cleared tugged on Jonny Evans as he was about to get on the end of a corner kick. Three out of five on the panel felt it was an obvious enough infringement to warrant a spot kick. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Second West Brom penalty appeal v Leicester City: In a game of several penalty appeals, Gareth McAuley looked to the referee after being wrestled to the ground by Robert Huth just before half-time. Four out of five on our panel, however, felt the Leicester defender was just stronger, despite the use of an arm. Verdict: Correct decision

Third West Brom penalty appeal v Leicester City: Huth was involved again with the score at 1-1 when he went up to challenge Darren Fletcher for a header but got nowhere near the ball, instead clattering into the back of the West Brom midfielder. A three-to-two majority felt this should have been West Brom’s first penalty of the day. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Leicester City second goal v West Brom: It was marginal, but replays showed that Riyad Mahrez was just offside when volleying home to put Leicester in front at The Hawthorns. Verdict: Incorrect decision

West Brom penalty v Leicester City: Having already had two appeals rejected, West Brom finally got a penalty when James Morrison went down under a Nathan Dyer challenge just inside the area. It was soft, but Dyer had got the wrong side of Morrison. Verdict: Correct decision

Victor Wanyama red card v Bournemouth: Already on a booking, Wanyama gave Craig Pawson little alternative but to send him off after needlessly sliding in on Lee Tomlin on the edge of Southampton’s box.Verdict: Correct decision

Ander Herrera penalty appeal v Manchester City: Louis van Gaal was adamant that Manchester United should have had a penalty in Sunday’s dour Manchester derby, but four out of five of our panel judged this as an accidental coming together and nothing more, with only one arguing that the lack of intent was irrelevant. Verdict: Correct decision

Sadio Mane sending-off v Liverpool: Having scored Southampton’s equaliser in the 86th minute at Anfield, Mane went on to pick up two bookings in stoppage time. Despite the timing of them, it was hard to argue against either. Verdict: Correct decision

For and Against

Team For Against Total For/Against
1. Leicester Eight Two +6
2. Liverpool Six One +5
3. Arsenal Five Three +2
4. Man City Five Three +2
5. Man Utd Two None +2
6. Newcastle Four Two +2
7. Tottenham Three One +2
8. Watford Two None +2
9. Chelsea Four Four 0
10. Aston Villa None One -1
11. Everton None One -1
12. Crystal Palace One Two -1
13. Sunderland One Two -1
14. Norwich None Two -2
15. Swansea One Two -2
16. Southampton One Four -3
17. Stoke None Three -3
18. West Brom One Four -3
19. West Ham One Four -3
20. Bournemouth None Six -6


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