Ref Review: Attwell strikes as United denied penalty; Aubameyang offside

Date published: Monday 5th February 2018 10:57

Anfield took centre stage in the refereeing stakes on Sunday, while Man Utd were denied a blatant penalty and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang “got away with one” on Premier League matchday 26.


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.

Manchester United penalty appeal v Huddersfield Town

Genuinely bizarre decision from Stuart Attwell, who somehow didn’t give a penalty early on at Old Trafford when Scott McTominay was cleaned out by Terence Kongolo while challenging for a ball in the area. A very dangerous, moronic challenge from Kongolo and a clear, clear foul. He could and perhaps should have seen red too. Horrendous stuff from Attwell.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Manchester United penalty v Huddersfield Town

Attwell got it all wrong in the first half but went some way towards redeeming himself in the eyes of the Old Trafford faithful by correctly spotting Michael Hefele’s clear foul on Alexis Sanchez just inside the area. It was clumsy from the Terriers sub and Attwell was well placed to point to the spot.

Verdict: Correct decision


Glenn Murray goal v West Ham

Fantastic advantage played by referee Roger East in the lead up to Brighton’s opening goal at the Amex. Aaron Cresswell absolutely clattered Anthony Knockaert from behind and the whistler could have called a halt to proceedings to issue the inevitable booking. Instead play was waved on and the ball broke for Pascal Gross to play Murray through, who coolly slotted home. The pair then had to be separated just moments after the half-time whistle as they headed back to their respective dressing rooms, with Knockaert presumably still fuming over the horror lunge that could have done him some serious damage.

Verdict: Correct decision


Brighton penalty appeal v West Ham

A huge shout for handball just before the half hour mark by Angelo Ogbonna as a shot from Knockaert was smashed at him from point blank range. Roger East however immediately said no. Replays suggest the winger’s effort was goalbound but East was well placed and Ogbonna was probably only saved by the fact the effort struck him at very close range.

Verdict: Correct decision


Fousseni Diabate yellow card v Swansea City

In Diabate, Leicester have unearthed another diamond from the French lower leagues. He was the best player on the pitch against Swansea though ironically could have been sent off in the first minute. He went in studs up on Sam Clucas but the referee deemed the challenge worthy only of a booking. In retrospect Diabate was a lucky boy and could have walked.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Jamie Vardy goal v Swansea City

No arguments about Vardy’s clinical finish for his thirteenth of the season, but was the England man offside? Nice bit of improvisation from Kelechi Iheanacho, who shifted the ball from one foot to another before sliding Vardy in. It was oh so close but after being on the wrong end of a tight offside call just a few minutes before, Vardy didn’t hear a whistle this time round and finished with aplomb. Slow mo replays suggest the ref and his assistant got it right.

Verdict: Correct decision


Wilfred Ndidi offside goal v Swansea City

Riyad Mahrez may have been AWOL but Ndidi wasn’t and put in a fantastic shift for the Foxes. It was a display that perhaps should have been capped with a goal too. All a bit confusing as Ndidi thought he had got a second after a classy finish but ref Anthony Taylor took advice from assistant Adam Nunn and correctly ruled it out for offside. The flag seemed to be raised for an eternity so it wasn’t ideal that Taylor took so long to see it, but the original offside call was a fair one.

Verdict: Correct decision


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal v Everton

A gorgeous clipped finish over Jordan Pickford to register his first goal in a Gunners jersey after being put through by fellow new boy Henrikh Mkhitaryan. There was much to like about the goal, save for the fact it was clearly offside. Yet given Everton were already 3-0 down and we hadn’t even seen 40 minutes on the clock, Big Sam Allardyce’s protests were understandably muted.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Crystal Palace penalty v Newcastle United

You have to wonder about the consistency of referees in the top flight when at Old Trafford McTominay is virtually assaulted in the box and doesn’t get a spot kick yet Andre Mariner’s assistant awards Christian Benteke a penalty for the slightest tug on his shirt for a header he was never really close to reaching. Ciaran Clark had hold of Benteke’s shirt but the Palace striker also had his arm on the Toon defender’s shoulder. And while the ref doesn’t see too much wrong with it his assistant was waving frantically and eventually Marriner called it. It’s a soft award but Benteke was impeded.

Verdict: Correct decision


Crystal Palace penalty appeal v Newcastle United

So Marriner and co deemed the Clark tug worthy of a penalty? By that logic Palace should’ve had another when Jonjo Shelvey grabbed a fistful of James McArthur’s shirt in the box. There was no attempt to play the ball so by rights it was another penalty, surely?

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Dele Alli yellow card v Liverpool

He’s been warned by Mauricio Pochettinho already this season to cut out the diving but Alli sullied his reputation yet further at Anfield after another theatrical tumble in the area. He was rightly booked by John Moss and acknowledged the official afterwards as if to say ‘fair cop’.

Verdict: Correct decision

Tottenham penalty #1 v Liverpool

Harry Kane and Spurs were embroiled in a cheat storm after accusations he dived at the feet of Loris Karius to win Spurs’ first penalty. To be fair it did look like a dive and Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was furious with the decision, booming “It’s clear in these type of situations the opposition wants to go down, wants to cause these type of problems.” It was definitely a theatrical tumble from Kane, who was played onside after a miskick from Dejan Lovern. The officials got together but were seemingly only interested in whether England man Kane was onside and not the fact that he dived to win the penalty.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Tottenham penalty #2 v Liverpool

Absolute scenes at Anfield. Just when it appeared Mo Salah’s superb solo effort had won it at the death for the Reds, Erik Lamela went down in the area after a challenge from Virgil Van Dijk. The penalty area was a mass of bodies so the officials did well to spot the infringement. It looked as though the referee turned down the initial Tottenham appeals but was then convinced after consulting with assistant Edward Smart.

It’s such a big call. Van Dijk catches the Argentine, no doubt. Was it enough for him to go down? Only Lamela, who admittedly hit the deck as though he’d been hit with an axe, can really answer that. But the world’s most expensive defender was asking for trouble with such a clumsy tackle.

Verdict: Correct decision

Team most likely to feel brassed off award


Two very debatable penalty calls, and both went against the Reds at home. Kane eventually took his tally to 22 for the season with virtually the last kick of the game after missing an earlier penalty that was given when it should not have been. Even for the second penalty, there were plenty of Liverpool fans on social media alluding to the fact Lamela may have been offside before Van Dijk brought him down.

Stonewall decision of the week

McTominay penalty appeal v Huddersfield Town

Ironic that the most obvious decision of the week was one that wasn’t given. The midfielder, picked ahead of £89million man Paul Pogba, was wiped out by Kongolo just yards from the ref, but amazingly no foul was given. McTominay had to be examined by United backroom staff – who must have feared concussion – but happily was deemed OK to continue. Graham Poll perhaps summed it up best when asked for his opinion on the incident when he said “Sometimes I don’t know what to say.”


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