Ref Review: Controversy reigns as ‘lucky’ Arsenal beat West Brom

Arsenal were somewhat fortunate to pick up three points against West Brom, while our panel also review incidents involving Jose Mourinho, Emre Can and Wayne Rooney.

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 lucky and which was the easiest decision for a match official to make.

Serge Aurier red card v West Ham

An inauspicious start for Aurier to life in the top flight and incidentally, does this lad like a slide tackle? He can have few complaints when, while already on a caution, he went in with a rather wild lunge on Andy Carroll. Both tackles were of the reckless variety and merited cautions. It was Tottenham’s first red card in the Premier League since Vlad Chiriches in the 2014-15 season, but didn’t end up being the disaster it might have been after they held on to win 3-2 at the London Stadium.

Verdict: Correct decision


Simon Francis ‘elbow’ v Everton

Francis was extremely fortunate not to be shown a straight red for a blatant elbow to the face of Wayne Rooney. The pair went up for a challenge in the area but Rooney was left in a heap and when he got back up blood was streaming from a cut to his eye. To be fair Martin Atkinson was well placed but completely missed the collision and replays confirmed the Bournemouth man should have seen red – putting aside any question of intent – for leading with his elbow in such a dangerous manner. Ergo it should have been a penalty too.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Rajiv Van La Parra yellow card v Burnley

Van La Parra was cautioned for simulation after trying to win Huddersfield a second half penalty at Turf Moor. Both sides walked away with a point but the Terriers might have won it had ref Christopher Kavanagh been taken in when Van La Parra took a theatrical tumble after instigating contact with defender Matt Lawton. Happily the referee was right on the money and got it spot on.

Verdict: Correct decision


Marcos Alonso yellow card v Stoke City

Key moment at the bet365 Stadium came when Alonso was booked for a rather cynical, crude lunge and then moments later felled Mame Biram Diouf with what looked another heavy challenge. Whistler Mike Dean elected just to have a strong word in Alonso’s ear rather than produce a second yellow, much to the chagrin of the Stoke fans, and tellingly he was hooked by Antonio Conte just moments later. Conte insisted afterwards the substitution was “tactical”, with opposite number Mark Hughes saying “Maybe referee Mike Dean allowed Alonso the benefit of the doubt.”

Verdict: Correct decision


Jose Mourinho ‘red card’ v Southampton

In a bizarre late twist at St Mary’s Mourinho was sent to the stands by ref Craig Pawson for encroaching onto the pitch as he barked orders at his players to get back into position. Pawson’s decision was clearly influenced by fourth official Mike Jones, who was unimpressed by Jose’s touchline antics. Mourinho has form in this area, as just two weeks ago he caused a stir by venturing into Mark Hughes’ technical area at Stoke and was sent to the stands last November when the Red Devils played Burnley. He certainly should not have been on the pitch, but we feel to banish him to the stands in such circumstances reeked of overkill on this occasion.

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Leicester City penalty v Liverpool

Hugely contentious moment at the King Power as Simon Mignolet conceded a penalty after clashing with an onrushing Jamie Vardy in the area. It was a difficult decision to make at full speed from referee Anthony Taylor, but he got it bang on. Slow mo replays confirmed Mignolet actually made contact with the ball first before colliding with Vardy, but that was more luck than management with the keeper appearing to only have eyes for the man. It was reckless and it could have left Vardy seriously injured. The England man couldn’t make Mignolet pay though and saw his blast down the middle repelled.

Verdict: Correct decision


Leicester City penalty appeal v Liverpool

A raucous, richly entertaining second half at the King Power and Emre Can was pretty lucky not to concede another Liverpool penalty for handball just moments after Vardy’s penalty miss. He moved towards the ball with his hand in the area and the only thing that’s saved him really is the fact that Taylor had blew for a debatable penalty just moments before. It was yet another wrong call from Taylor though.

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Tomer Hemed goal v Newcastle United

It was a smart finish by Hemer but afterwards Rafa Benitez raged that the goal should have been chalked off due to a foul being committed on Chancel Mbemba in the build up. He definitely had a point. TV pundits insinuated afterwards that Newcastle’s players were partially to blame for not appealing for the foul but ultimately it’s the referee and his assistants who have missed this.

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Tomer Hemed stamp on DeAndre Yedlin

Hemed proved the match winner for Brighton against Newcastle but looked massively fortunate not to be send off after appearing to stamp on Yedlin in the second half. Seagulls boss Chris Hughton insisted afterwards there was “no intent” but Toon fans were quick to point out that it looked a very similar ‘challenge’ to the one that saw Jonjo Shelvey see red for the Magpies against Tottenham earlier in the season. To add insult to injury Andre Marriner was the referee on both occasions. A lack of consistency maybe but you would not bet against him ending up with a retrospective ban after that.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


West Brom penalty appeal v Arsenal

The Baggies were almost rewarded for a bright start at the Emirates when Jay Rodriguez went scampering into the box and was upended by a sliding Shkodran Mustafi challenge. Manager Tony Pulis called it a “stonewall penalty” and it’s hard to disagree with his assessment as ref Bobby Madley played the advantage as the forward gathered his feet before seeing his shot turned onto the post by Petr Cech.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Arsenal penalty v West Brom

Arsenal won a spot kick of their own in the second half when Allan Nyom was adjudged to have unfairly pushed Aaron Ramsey in the area (and over the touchline). Years ago it would have been given as a shoulder barge, but the Cameroonian was probably too aggressive under the current laws of the game, and while unfortunate, it was just about the right call.

Verdict: Correct decision



Team most likely to feel brassed off award

Newcastle United

The goal that sunk them should not have stood due to a clear foul in the build up while the eventual match winner should also have been dismissed for a clear stamp in the second half. They also had a penalty appeal knocked back so it’s safe to say the Magpies won’t have Mr Marriner on their Christmas card list this year.

Stonewall decision of the week

Van La Parra yellow card v Burnley

When even his own boss David Wagner accepted afterwards the Dutchman deserved his booking it’s hard to argue against Kavanagh’s decision to caution Van La Parra. Opposite number Sean Dyche was more candid, saying after the game “It’s unacceptable in my book. I can’t abide it. I feel for the referee and I thought he was excellent in the moment. But he should be protected from that.” The dive was absolutely blatant and a yellow all day long.