Ref Review: All the controversial decisions on matchday 8

We take a look at all the weekend’s controversial decisions with Romelu Lukaku, Philippe Coutinho and Richarlison’s theatrical penalty against Arsenal all under the microscope.

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.

Romelu Lukaku clash with Dejan Lovern

Lukaku cut a forlorn, isolated figure for much of Saturday afternoon at Anfield but the emphasis on TV afterwards over his “clash” with Lovern probably underlines the fact this was a game with precious few legitimate highlights. The pair were involved in a physical tussle which ended with Lovern rolling around clutching his face. The suggestion was Lukaku caught him with a stray boot but replays showed nothing untoward and Martin Atkinson made the correct call to let the game continue.

Verdict: Correct decision


Coutinho penalty appeal v Man Utd

Jurgen Klopp was convinced Philippe Coutinho should have had a penalty after a collision with Ander Herrera in the box in the second half. Graeme Souness suggested the ref Martin Atkinson was correct though and it certainly looked like that to us. Herrera’s challenge was a strong one, but Coutinho could have stayed on his feet and he looked like he’d played for it.

Verdict: Correct decision


Andy Carroll red card v Burnley

A mere 99 seconds separated England man Carroll’s two yellow cards, for two similar incidents at Turf Moor that saw him forced to take an early bath. His first aerial challenge on James Tarkowski was perhaps more clumsy than naughty but he led with his elbow and he could have few complaints over the caution. But then to go in elbows up on Ben Mee just moments after that first booking was plain reckless. Stuart Atwell was in no doubt the big Geordie had to go and West Ham boss Slaven Bilic was clearly furious with his striker on the touch line.

Verdict: Correct decision


Huddersfield Town penalty appeal v Swansea

The Terriers had not scored in three but Tom Ince was unlucky not to win a penalty for them, with the score still 0-0, during their clash with Swansea on Saturday. Ince reacted quickest to a long ball over the top but was then seemingly brought down in the area by Martin Olsson. Ref Paul Tierney saw nothing wrong with the challenge but there was a coming together and it was clumsy from Olsson. We’ve definitely seen them given.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Tom Cleverley goal v Arsenal

If Alexandre Lacazette’s effort at Stoke was offside, then surely this was too? Freeze frames when the dust settled confirmed that Troy Deeney was just offside in the build up to Tom Cleverley’s last minute winner. And we thought these things evened themselves out over the course of a season?

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Watford penalty v Arsenal

The decision proved to be a complete game changer but was the referee’s call to give the Hornets a spot-kick at Vicarage Road the correct one? Richarlison burst into the area in the second half of a frantic game and the hapless Hector Bellerin was adjudged to have fouled him, but the truth is the young Brazilian has probably conned the officials. There was a ‘coming together’ but it looked a dive for all the world and Arsene Wenger was suitably appalled afterwards. A very soft award. And it all means the Gunners have now conceded 11 penalties since the start of last season, four more than any other current Premier League side.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Brighton penalty appeal v Everton

A turgid first half suddenly burst into life just after the half-hour mark when Anthony Knockaert blasted a shot goalwards that was blocked. The rebound fell to Lewis Dunk who slammed another shot goalwards that Michael Keane bravely got his body in the way of. Brighton players argued the ball hit Keane’s hand but in fairness it would have been a very, very harsh award as he knew precious little about it.

Verdict: Correct decision


Everton penalty award v Brighton

After enjoying a tidy game Bruno has had an absolute nightmare here with time running out. As Everton launched a probing ball into the box he’s basically stopped defending and decided to throw an elbow at young Dominic Calvert-Lewin. A moment of madness and it’s essentially cost Brighton two valuable points.

Verdict: Correct decision

DeAndre Yedlin possible red card v Southampton

Yedlin was a very lucky boy not to see red after a crude lunge on Nathan Redmond. He was already on a booking after picking up an earlier yellow for dissent and the Redmond tackle looked late, heavy and worthy of a caution in its own right. Ref Kevin Friend seemed to take an age as he walked towards the Toon star but in the end elected to dish out a strong word in his ear rather than another card. His clemency was surprising though as really Yedlin should have walked.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Southampton penalty v Newcastle United

Big call from Kevin Friend at St Mary’s and in fairness he gets it spot on. Definite penalty as Florian Lejeune – who had an otherwise excellent game – got it all wrong and tripped Shane Long in the area. Huge moment in the match but fair play to the official for being right on the money.

Verdict: Correct decision

Team most likely to feel brassed off award


Boss Wenger labelled the penalty decision “scandalous” and it certainly changed the game at Vicarage Road. The Gunners were leading through Per Mertesacker’s first half goal and looking in the box seat for a precious three points before Richarlison’s theatrics in the area. Big call by Neil Swarbrick, and like Wenger we don’t feel he got it right. To add insult to injury Watford’s late winner also looks marginally offside.


Stonewall decision of the week

Andy Carroll red card

Carroll inexplicably picked up two bookings in as many minutes for almost identical offences and when your own manager concedes he had “no complaints” about the sending off you know it was probably warranted. Burnley manager Sean Dyche was in agreement as he added “It was a definite sending off because of the laws of the game.”