Ref Review: Our verdict on all the weekend controversies

We take a look at all the weekend’s controversial decisions with Man City’s penalty, a Crystal Palace red card escape and a huge decision in the Stoke v Bournemouth game 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.


Manchester City penalty v Burnley

Sergio Aguero stole the headlines as his penalty conversion took him to 177 Manchester City goals, level with all-time City scorer Eric Brooks.

However was the penalty award on the level? Bernardo Silva went down so dramatically, clutching his ankle and writhing in agony after tangling with goalkeeper Nick Pope with the score 0-0.

Yet it was remarkable how quickly he recovered in the short time between being awarded the spot kick and Aguero taking it. Sean Dyche alleged it was “cheating” when he said “If I kicked my kid in the garden he wouldn’t fall like that” and the Burnley boss had a point as any contact was minimal at best.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Yohan Cabaye red card escape v Newcastle

Yohan Cabaye: A doubt for Crystal Palace ahead of Bournemouth game

Former Toon star Cabaye was massively fortunate not to be dismissed on his return to Tyneside after a rather shocking lunge on DeAndre Yedlin. It was late, through the back of his man using a scissor action. And absolutely scandalous really that Cabaye received only a yellow for what was clearly a stick on straight red.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Bournemouth penalty v Stoke City

It seems that every time we watch Stoke on Match of the Day Ryan Shawcross is either conceding a penalty or getting himself sent off. It was the former on Saturday, and he can have no complaints for a silly trip in the area on Benik Afobe in the area.

Verdict: Correct decision


Stoke penalty appeal v Bournemouth

Returning goalkeeper Asmir Begovic opted to stick an unnecessary boot on the thigh of Stoke forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting for absolutely no reason when catching the ball. The Cameroonian winced for a second in pain, but had he gone to ground (as many others would) he’s have left the referee with a decision to make.

As it was, play was waved on, but the needless action could have proved extremely costly in the outcome of this early-season six pointer.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Everton goal v Arsenal

On Sunday Wayne Rooney rolled back the years against the team he first came to public attention against by scoring a peach 15 years ago with another stunning effort from range, but should Everton’a opener have stood?

Per Mertesacker played the ball centrally to Granit Xhaka, who was muscled off the ball by Idrissa Gueye fully 35 yards from goal. Gunners fans will say he was fouled, Everton fans will say pick pocketed. The man who really mattered though, Craig Pawson, saw nothing wrong with the challenge and the goal, rightly for us, stood.

Verdict: Correct decision


Calvert-Lewin challenge on Nacho Monreal

An incident which left Monreal absolutely furious at Goodison where, with the ball running out of play towards the end of a breathless first half, Calvert-Lewin gave the Arsenal defender a clear shove in the back.

Monreal then goes toppling over the advertising hoardings before haring after the Everton youngster to voice his displeasure. You have to ask how the ref has not booked him as it was blatantly dangerous play.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Gueye red card v Arsenal

Let’s have it right. Gueye is an immense player who gets through an obscene amount of work in the middle of the park. However his late lunge on Xhaka, considering he was already on a booking, was reckless in the extreme. Indeed he was already walking off before Pawson flashed another yellow his way.

Verdict: Correct decision


Liverpool goal v Tottenham

Mohamed Salah scored with a pretty scruffy finish to briefly get Liverpool get back in the game at Wembley. However, was it a foul on Harry Kane before he lost the ball leading up to Liverpool goal? It certainly looked like it from our vantage point, though Spurs won’t be losing much sleep after putting in a fabulous shift to eventually crush the Reds 4-1 under Wembley’s iconic arch.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


Dyche commenting on Silva’a theatrics was pretty revealing, and while City probably would have got to them eventually Burnley will always feel a sense of ‘What if’ about the penalty award. It was very soft, and until that point they had been coping rather well at the Etihad.


Stonewall decision of the week 

Gueye red card v Arsenal

Gueye had been his usual combative self in midfield and had enjoyed a decent game but the decision to go in so clumsily on Xhaka, studs showing and catching the Arsenal man on his boot while already on a yellow, was pretty ludicrous.