Ref Review: United ace lucky to dodge red; Liverpool thankful of no VAR

Maroune Fellaini TEAMtalk

Liverpool can consider themselves fortunate not to concede a penalty at Watford, while Man Utd could have been down to 10 men at home to Crystal Palace, 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.


James Maddison red card v Brighton

England midfielder Maddison was dismissed just before the half hour mark at the Amex Stadium, after picking up two yellow cards in a matter of minutes. The first was fair enough after he clipped Anthony Knockaert when he was on the charge. And the second came not long after as he went down in the box after ghosting past Shane Duffy in the area. Ref Christopher Kavanagh rightly penalised Maddison for simulation, and while Claude Puel seemed bemused by the decision it was a great call by the man in the middle. Hours later Maddison essentially admitted to diving after he took the unusual step of apologising about the incident on social media.

Verdict: Correct decision


Leicester penalty v Brighton

The Foxes appeared to have it all to do when trailing 1-0 and having been reduced to 10-men. However they kept plugging away and got their rewards when Kelechi Iheanacho was brought down in the box 11 minutes from time. Beram Kayal tripped Iheanacho in the area and Seagulls boss Chris Hughton admitted afterwards he had no problem with the award.

Verdict: Correct decision

Romelu Lukaku offside v Crystal Palace

Romelu Lukaku TEAMtalk

Jose Mourinho questioned the heart of his players after their 0-0 draw with Palace and in truth it was another poor display. However they thought they’d opened the scoring when Lukaku pounced on a rebound to turn the ball home after Wayne Hennessey had saved smartly from Ashley Young. The flag was up quickly though and while Lukaku was quick to berate the linesman the decision was correct.

Verdict: Correct decision

Marouane Fellaini challenge on Luka Milivojevic

Maroune Fellaini TEAMtalk

A really ugly challenge by Fellaini that somehow went totally unpunished by ref Lee Mason at Old Trafford. The Manchester United midfielder was only the pitch for eight minutes before his shocking tackle on Luka Milivojevic brought play to a halt. It may not have been intentional but Fellaini clearly raked his studs on the ankle of the Palace man. It was a yellow card as an absolute minimum for us and the United man might yet face retrospective action.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Watford penalty appeal v Liverpool

A howler from Jon Moss who somehow failed to give what looked a stonewall penalty to Watford. Andy Robertson was definitely fortunate not to give away a penalty when he brought down Will Hughes in the box early in the second half. It looked a clear foul but wasn’t spotted by the men who matter.

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Jordan Henderson red card v Watford

Jordan Henderson TEAMtalk

The Liverpool skipper continues to divide opinion on Merseyside but what’s not up for debate is the fact his dismissal at Vicarage Road was unnecessary. The second yellow for a foul on Etienne Capoue in particular, in a game in which Liverpool were in firm command, was really sloppy. And the red means he will now miss the Merseyside derby. Ouch.

Verdict: Correct decision

Bournemouth disallowed goal v Arsenal

David Brooks TEAMtalk

It was so nearly a perfect start for Bournemouth against the Gunners on Sunday. Callum Wilson received the ball in the box before being dispossessed, but he kept it alive by prodding it through to David Brooks. The youngster slotted past Bernd Leno with aplomb but the flag was up. To be fair he can’t have been anymore than 10 centimetres ahead of the last man but he was offside so it’s a cracking shout from the officials.

Verdict: Correct decision


Philip Billing goal-line clearance v Wolves

Wolves came perilously close to an equaliser against Huddersfield and it took an astonishing clearance on the goal-line from Billing to keep out a header from Raul Jimenez. Kevin Friend immediately waved play on and goal-line technology later showed the referee got it right, just.

Verdict: Correct decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


A really poor decision from Moss at a crucial time. If he spots the rather blatant foul at 0-0, and Watford score from the resulting spot-kick, the game obviously goes in a whole different direction. It seems VAR can’t come soon enough for Watford fans.


Stonewall decision of the week

James Maddison TEAMtalk

Maddison red card

Leicester have now picked up four red cards from just 13 Premier League games this season and they’ll have to take the latest on the chin. The laws of the game state a player should be cautioned for ‘unsporting behaviour’ and it was a clear case of simulation on the part of Maddison, who had already been booked.