Ref Review: Arsenal’s top-four hopes ruined by Michael Oliver

Ainsley Maitland-Niles TEAMtalk

Arsenal were reduced to 10 men in the first half on Sunday as they were beaten 3-0 by Leicester and Michael Oliver was in the spotlight after dismissing Ashley Maitland-Niles, all in Ref Review.


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.


Son Heung-min challenge on Robert Snodgrass

Son got away with one here. The Tottenham talisman clearly stamped on Snodgrass right under the nose of the linesman. Amazingly nothing given despite the fact he planted his studs on the top of Robert Snodgrass’s instep. Naughty.

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Tottenham penalty appeal v West Ham

Heung-Min Son Tottenham

Spurs’ inability to beat the Hammers in Saturday’s early kick-off will have ruined many a Saturday coupon. However it could all have been so different if they had been awarded a second half penalty with the game goalless.

All eyes were on ref Anthony Taylor when Son Heung-min exchanged a neat one-two with Ben Davies, yet as the Korean checked inside he was blocked off by Arthur Masuaku before hitting the turf. Worth a shout but it looked a case of the defender just standing his ground in the end.

Verdict: Correct decision

Fulham penalty appeal v Cardiff City

There were half-hearted calls from the home fans behind the goal for a spot kick when the impressive Joe Bryan hit the deck in the box after big Aaron Gunnarsson’s shoulder charge, but it was no great surprise when Chris Kavanagh crosses his arms to signal play on.

Verdict: Correct decision


Wolves penalty appeal v Watford

Wolves were deserved winners against the Hornets but the final score maybe should have been more emphatic after they were denied what looked a stick on penalty late on.

Sub Christian Kabasele went through Diogo Jota with a forceful tackle in the area, but despite getting none of the ball, Whistler Simon Hooper said ‘no dice’.

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Jose Holebas yellow card v Wolves

Holebas was a very luck boy not to be sent off on Saturday. He aimed a crazy forearm smash into the throat of Jota and if that’s not violent conduct we don’t know what is! The ref somehow deemed it worthy of a yellow. Amazing.

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Everton penalty appeal v Crystal Palace

Not given. And rightly so. Richarlison went down in the box but his (admittedly muted) appeals were waved away in favour of a corner. It was a dive. There’s no other way to describe it. Well done Lee Mason.

Verdict: Correct decision


Ainsley Maitland-Niles red card v Leicester City

Two fouls. Two bookings (the first seemed very, very harsh) and off he went. The young Gunner slid into James Maddison for the second yellow but again there didn’t seem to be a huge amount of contact.

Uphill battle after that for Arsenal. Unai Emery was obviously fuming and threw his jacket off in a John Wayne-esque protest. To be honest neither challenge was cynical or particularly nasty. A red therefore seemed pretty outlandish under the circumstances.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Manchester City goal v Burnley

Sergio Aguero TEAMtalk

The champions huffed and they puffed at Turf Moor but needed goal-line technology to take the lead against a resolute Burnley outfit on Sunday.

Sergio Aguero, who has scored some huge goals for the Citizens down the years, finally forced one past Tom Heaton. However Matt Lawton was on the line and after chesting the ball hacked it clear. After a split second delay that seemed like an eternity, the ref gave the goal.

Technology later confirmed the ball was over the line by 29mm – which is less than 3cm.

Verdict: Correct decision


Burnley goalline clearance v Manchester City

Superb play by Jesus this and City were literally inches from putting the game to bed.

He cut inside wonderfully beyond Lowton from Kyle Walker’s cross-field ball over to the left, floated past Heaton as only a Brazilian can with his second touch and smashed it home. However a terrifically combative Ben Mee wasn’t having it, somehow getting back on the line to clear.

Tierney looked at his watch again, but this time there was no buzz. Correct call. Mee had kept it out by millimetres.

Verdict: Correct decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off Award


A third defeat in a row for Arsenal to seriously damage their top four prospects but it may all have been so different had Ainsley Maitland-Niles not been sent off early on.

The Arsenal full-back only committed two fouls in the game yet was dismissed after just 36 minutes at the King Power. Unai Emery was left frustrated with Michael Oliver afterwards, citing the fact that the first yellow was not worthy of a caution and we would be inclined to agree with him.

Stonewall decision of the Week

Richarlison TEAMtalk

Richarlison dive

A crazy weekend of action and not a lot of clearcut decisions but if Lee Mason had awarded Richarlison a penalty for his theatrical tumble against Palace there would have been hell on. A stonewall non-penalty if ever we’ve seen one!