Ref Review: Our take on Spurs controversies; Arsenal fortunate

Brighton Tottenham TEAMtalk

Arsenal were lucky against Everton, while there could have been a host of red cards this weekend. Are referees playing to different rules this season?


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.

Watford penalty appeal v Fulham

Big shout for a penalty at Craven Cottage but Martin Atkinson was unmoved. Demari Gray span and played a delicate ball in behind for Will Hughes, who got the run on Alfie Mawson, who then clumsily slid in. Mawson, who had already been booked, didn’t seem to get the ball and was tackling from behind. To us it looked like a penalty. Poor officiating and maybe something VAR could have cleared up in a jiffy.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Timothy Fosu-Mensah tackle on Troy Deeney

Troy Deeney TEAMtalk

Fosu-Mensah’s horror tackle on Saturday was perhaps another shining example of why VAR is needed. Ref Martin Atkinson can’t have seen the incident properly, given that he opted to give the Manchester United loanee a yellow when he clearly should have walked. It was a really dangerous, awful tackle that could have incurred serious injury.

Former Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray said afterwards: “That is a terrible tackle. Troy Deeney’s a lucky man. If the weight was on Deeney’s leg there he could easily have snapped him.” Atkinson’s vision of the incident looked like it might have been impeded and if he had seen this properly the defender would have been on his way.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Joe Ralls yellow card v Manchester City

Joe Ralls Sergio Aguero TEAMtalk

In a word, ouch. Having seen this a few times now we are amazed about two things. Firstly, how Ralls only received a yellow for what was a blatant ‘legbreaker’ of a tackle. And secondly, how Ilkay Gundogan did not suffer more serious injury. Ralls and Gundogan went in for a 50-50 and Ralls ends up catching the knee of Gundogan with a ghastly, studs up lunge somewhere near his knee.

However you interpret the current laws of the game, on what planet is that only a yellow? Really poor from the officials. Speaking afterwards about the decision not to send off Ralls a rather diplomatic Pep Guardiola, who was seen remonstrating with the fourth official after the incident, said: “Michael Oliver decided it was a yellow card. He said it was a foul.”

Oliver was in a great position so we are unsure how he’s not applied the letter of the law.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Tottenham penalty v Brighton

Farcical defending from Brighton to gift Spurs – who had lost three in a row – the initiative at the Amex. Kieran Trippier’s free-kick was blocked by the hand of Glenn Murray in the wall and ref Chris Kavanagh was quick to spot the infringement. Egregious handball by Murray, but a good call from the officials.

Verdict: Correct decision

Brighton penalty appeal v Tottenham

Chris Hughton was adamant Brighton should have had their own penalty against Spurs as Eric Dier clashed with Lewis Dunk in the area. “He’s on his way down and he’s got a clear hold of Dunky’s shirt,” moaned Hughton afterwards.

He has a point. Dier had a chunk of Dunk’s shirt in the area and we saw far softer penalties given at the recent World Cup. However this was no stonewaller and we are happy to give the officials the benefit of the doubt.

Verdict: Correct decision


Brighton disallowed goal v Tottenham

Shane Duffy TEAMtalk

Brighton also had a goal disallowed for offside against Shane Duffy. A corner was punched unconvincingly by Paulo Gazzaniga, and when the ball came back in it was nodded into the net. Duffy was definitely offside, so another good shout from the officials this.

Verdict: Correct decision


Arsenal penalty appeal v Everton

The Gunners were getting a little nervy before Alexandre Lacazette’s wonder strike and were asking Jonathan Moss for a penalty at The Emirates just after half-time, but their claims fell on deaf ears as the ball hit Jonjoe Kenny on the arm. Replays confirmed the officials got this one right as it looked a clear case of ball to hand.

Verdict: Correct decision


Arsenal second goal v Everton

Everton battled gamely at The Emirates and missed a host of chances with the score at 0-0. Clearly then the Blues were furious with the officials when Arsenal’s second goal was allowed to stand midway through the second half. It was terrible defending from the Toffees, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was definitely in an offside position when latching onto a Mesut Ozil pass. It wasn’t even close, with Marco Silva stating afterwards: “The second goal is clearly offside. It is really frustrating and I tell you why. In that moment we had just one player in our box, it is too clear for the assistants.”

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


Two huge calls went against them at Craven Cottage. In the first instance Timothy Fosu-Mensah got away wit what looked a clear red after his studs up lunge on Troy Deeney. Then towards the end of a half Watford controlled whistler Martin Atkinson failed to give a penalty after a desperate lunge on Will Hughes from Alfie Mawson in the area. If that was given chances are Watford would have gone 2-0 up and been out of sight.

Stonewall decision of the week

Brighton Tottenham TEAMtalk

Tottenham penalty

On a weekend when plenty of officials got some big calls wrong in the Premier League, praise must go to Chris Kavanagh, Daniel Cook and Sian-Massey Ellis for their handling of Brighton v Tottenham. A solid showing from the officials and a great spot for the Spurs penalty too, with Glenn Murray’s ludicrous handball among the more blatant you will see this season.