Ref Review: Liverpool decision vindicated; Spurs lucky at Everton

The decision not to award a Wolves penalty against Liverpool proved to be the correct one, while Tottenham got lucky before running riot against Everton – 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.


Wolves penalty appeal v Liverpool

Huge appeal from the home fans at Molineux with the score at 1-0 as Matt Doherty hit the floor in the area under pressure from James Milner. We don’t think it should have been a penalty for while it was clumsy from Milner in the sense that he dived in, he stopped well short and if anything Doherty’s momentum carried him into the Liverpool man. Great call from Craig Pawson if anything.

Verdict: Correct decision


Burnley penalty appeal v Arsenal

It’s hard to imagine a more obvious penalty than Sead Kolasinac’s push in the back on Shane Long at the Emirates. Referee Kevin Friend waved away the visitors’ protests, with Sean Dyche adamant afterwards it should have been a spot kick. “Our player got two hands in the back today and we are now 60 games without a penalty,” he fumed. “They are big moments. Important moments.” Long may have made the most of it but it was a clear infringement and the officials got it wrong.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Crystal Palace penalty v Manchester City

If this proves to be the seminal game of the 2018/19 Premier League season then there’s no doubt the decision to award Palace a penalty when 2-1 ahead was the game’s crucial moment. A thundering header from Andros Townsend came back off the post, Max Meyer was quickest to react to the rebound before he was sent sprawling by Kyle Walker. It was a very smart touch from Meyer and Walker instinctively dived in, but didn’t time his challenge correctly and the rest, as they say, is history.

Verdict: Correct decision


Ball boy incident: Manchester City v Crystal Palace

An overly-keen ball boy caused confusion at the Etihad during Manchester City’s stunning 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace. With Pep Guardiola’s men trailing and the clock ticking down, a ball boy was a bit too keen to help the Citizens get on with it as he retrieved a stray Max Meyer cross, before it had actually gone out of play for a goal-kick. There was a few seconds of uncertainty with both sets of players berating Andre Marriner as to what course of action he should take, before common sense prevailed and the whistler ordered a drop ball by the byline.

Verdict: Correct decision


Lewis Dunk red card v Bournemouth

Dunk was dismissed for picking up two bookings and he can count himself unlucky as the first yellow looked dubious at best. The defender was carded after a nothing challenge on David Brooks and if anything it looked like Yves Bissmouma had actually committed the foul. Chris Hughton wasn’t happy afterwards as he moaned “No doubts about the second yellow, but for the first we felt it was Yves Bissouma who makes the first contact, so that was harsh on Lewis. That’s our grievance, that the first yellow should have been for Bissouma rather than Dunk.” A clear case of mistaken identity from Mike Dean.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Newcastle United penalty appeal v Fulham

Substitute Kenedy was left raging late on after taking a tumble in the box after a cross from the left while being marked by Joe Bryan. Martin Atkinson was unmoved however and to be fair it was a good call from the officials with Kenedy climbing all over the Fulham man, who didn’t appear to do any awful lot wrong.

Verdict: Correct decision


Fulham penalty appeal v Newcastle United

Another huge call near the end on Tyneside as Aleksandar Mitrovic, against his old club, had a shot blocked by the arm of Jamaal Lascelles. This one looked more like a penalty as Lascelles’ arm was certainly not against his body when Mitrovic thundered his shot goalwards. It would have been a brave call from Atkinson to give it but on reflection he should have.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Watford penalty v West Ham

Troy Deeney opened the scoring with a first-half penalty after defender Fabian Balbuena fouled Roberto Pereyra at the end of a vibrant move involving Jose Holebas and Gerard Deulofeu. Silky stuff from the Hornets, and Lee Mason was left with no choice but to call it.

Verdict: Correct decision


Cardiff City penalty v Manchester United

In the event it was pretty immaterial, such was Manchester United’s dominance on the day but they can count themselves unlucky for conceding a penalty in Wales for an alleged handball in the area by Marcus Rashford. Rashford clearly used his shoulder as opposed to his hand/arm so we don’t feel he should have been penalised. It was interesting that it was the referee’s assistant, and not Michael Oliver, who essentially called it.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Everton disallowed goal v Tottenham

Huge moment at Goodison when, with the Toffees 1-0 up, Dominic Calvert-Lewin thought he had doubled their lead with a brilliant header from about 15 yards out. However the ‘goal’ was then chalked off for an alleged push on Davinson Sanchez. Replays showed there was hardly any touch on the defender though, and Gary Neville among others in commentary were struggling to see how the referee deemed it a foul.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


The Toffees had a terrible recent record against Tottenham going in but if that Calvert-Lewin goal had stood and they went 2-0 up at home, they would have been major favourites to bag a rare victory against the Londoners. There has been plenty of debate regarding whether it was a foul or not, but looking at it another way, if Sanchez had done similar to the Everton man, how likely is it that the referee would have awarded a penalty? Not very is the honest answer to that.


Stonewall decision of the week

Watford penalty

It was an afternoon to forget for the boy Balbuena, who gave away a penalty, was booked and then went off injured with a suspected knee ligament issue (all at once) at the London Stadium. It was clumsy and a clear foul. Indeed as penalties go this was a stick on.