Ref Review: Crazy decision aids Liverpool; Pogba call bang on

Mo Salah TEAMtalk

Brighton were wrong to feel hard done by after Liverpool’s penalty winner on Saturday, while Paul Pogba’s challenge on Dele Alli was not red-card worthy, 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.


Huddersfield Town penalty appeal v Cardiff City

An absolutely huge decision that could come back to haunt the Terriers, who arrested a run of nine straight defeats but in all honesty should have beaten Cardiff on Saturday. That they didn’t was mainly due to their own profligacy in front of goal and a controversial moment on 76 minutes when ref Lee Mason changed his mind after initially awarding them a penalty.

Full-back Florent Hadergjonaj took a tumble in the area after clashing with Joe Bennett and Mason tentatively pointed to the spot.

However amid a whole heap of protest from Cardiff’s players and howls of derision from the terraces the ref then consulted linesman Stuart Burt, before dramatically reversing his original decision and awarding Cardiff a free-kick for a push by Hadergjonaj.

It was one if those ‘We’ve certainly seem then given’ penalty calls but the amazing thing was replays confirmed Mason clearly had the better view, so we are at a loss as to why he allowed his mind to be changed?

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Southampton penalty v Leicester City

A comedy of errors early on from Leicester, who were put under pressure after a dreadful goal-kick from Kasper Schmeichel. The ball eventually found its way back to Shane Long, who was then clumsily bundled over by Namplays Mendy just inside the area.

Whistler Michael Oliver – fresh from Tuesday’s VAR controversy in the Carabao Cup – blew for a penalty immediately and he was bang on the money in doing so.

Verdict: Correct decision


Yan Valery red card v Leicester City

Booked for a spot of handbags by the touch line with Ben Chilwell ten minutes previously, Valery surely then knew he had to be careful? But with half-time approaching he got on the wrong side of Marc Albrighton and stuck his arm around the defender.

Valery seemed to know his fate before the ref produced the second yellow, and the obligatory red.

Verdict: Correct decision


Liverpool penalty v Brighton

What on earth was Pascal Gross doing here? Absolutely horrendous challenge in the area and referee Kevin Friend had an easy decision to make given this was a stonewall penalty. Gross got himself in a terrible position and was not really in the right place to make a tackle when he went in on Salah, with disastrous consequences.

Verdict: Correct decision


Bournemouth goal-line clearance v Everton

The Toffees were so close to breaking the deadlock at Goodison early in the second half. Richarlison headed at goal at the back post, the ball was blocked and fell nicely for the Brazilian. He then smashed a low shot at goal that was blocked right on the line by Nathan Ake and eventually cleared.

The home fans screamed for a goal and the referee looked at his watch to see if it went over, but it didn’t.

Verdict: Correct decision


Tottenham disallowed goal v Manchester United

Spurs thought they had taken the lead on the half hour at Wembley after Kieran Trippier’s cross was bundled towards goal by Dele Alli. The ball eventually reached Kane, but he was in an offside position as he stroked the ball home. It was pretty tight but ultimately a good call from the officials.

Verdict: Correct decision


Paul Pogba yellow card v Tottenham

The Frenchman had another decent game but could have seen red after catching Dele Alli on the left knee with his studs. It looked pretty nasty on replay but we don’t feel Pogba was intentionally trying to hurt the England man and was instead trying to step across the ball.

A yellow was fair enough under the circumstances but Graeme Souness didn’t think so. The former Liverpool man, never shy to give his thoughts on Pogba, said afterwards “If the referee doesn’t see it as a red card, but he has seen the foul, then he knows nothing about football.”

Don’t take that personally Mike Dean. It’s just Souness being Souness.

Verdict: Correct decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award

Huddersfield Town

“I can’t find the words for how this can happen”. David Wagner was clearly hurting after referee Lee Mason changed his mind about awarding Huddersfield a penalty and branded it “a big, big mistake.” It was a strange one as Mason clearly had a very good view of the incident, but still eventually deferred to the judgement of his assistant.

You wonder just how big a call that is going to prove for the Yorkshire club when the dust settles on the 2018/19 season?


Stonewall decision of the week

Liverpool penalty

“I feel for Pascal because Salah is probably the most dangerous player when he gets into those situations,” said Chris Hughton afterwards, but privately the Brighton boss will have been seething with Gross’ oafish challenge in the area on Liverpool’s top scorer.

It really was stupid from Gross – who was never really in position to make a challenge – and a clear penalty, even though Salah went down like an ironing board.