Ref Review: Most brassed off award goes to minnows

Liverpool got lucky in their 1-0 victory at Huddersfield and Man City got the rub of the green against Burnley, all in this week’s 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.


Vincent Kompany yellow card v Burnley

Vincent Kompany TEAMtalk


A busy old afternoon for Jon Moss began in the very first minute at the Etihad, when Vincent Kompany’s reckless challenge on Burnley winger Aaron Lennon saw the City captain booked. Kompany went in high, studs showing, and caught Lennon (who later required two stitches) high on the thigh.

It was clearly dangerous but it’s one of those decisions that is taken with a bit of leniency due to it occurring so early in a game. Bottom line though, it shouldn’t matter when a bad tackle happens. A wild, studs up lunge into an opponents groin area, whether there is intent or not, should always be punished accordingly.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Manchester City second goal v Burnley

There was huge controversy about City’s second goal at the Etihad too, which came after Leroy Sane went down in the area under a challenge by Jack Cork. Referee Jon Moss waved play on but the Burnley defence stopped, allowing David Silva to retrieve the ball before it ran out of play and cross for Bernardo Silva to sweep home.

To be fair to the officials here we’ve yet to see a single replay that one hundred per cent confirms the ball went out before David Silva retrieved it. Also, Burnley’s defenders should be playing to the whistle.

Verdict: Correct decision


Leroy Sane yellow card v Burnley

Leroy Sane TEAMtalk

Having watched it a few times we are unsure how Sane was not dismissed for an utterly mindless kick from behind on Matthew Lowton. Seriously though, who does that at 3-0 up? In the same way Joe Ralls made no effort to play the ball the other week against Tottenham and was dismissed, Sane made zero attempt to get the ball at the Etihad yet was only booked.

The German can count himself lucky with Clarets boss Sean Dyche moaning afterwards “He kicked Matt for no reason at all, just smashing him around his legs. It has got to be a red card, as simple as that.”

Verdict: Incorrect decision


James Milner ‘handball’ v Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield TEAMtalk

Jonathan Hogg thought he had won his side a penalty in the first half for the Terriers when his header cannoned off James Milner’s thigh and on to his arm, only for Michael Oliver to completely ignore the protests.

Huddersfield were chasing the game at 1-0 down when the controversy at the John Smith’s Stadium unfolded. Milner looked sheepish over the incident, but for us his arm was in an unnatural position and Liverpool could have had few causes to complain had it been given.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Alex Pritchard offside v Liverpool

There was much debate at half-time over a Pritchard ‘goal’ ruled out by ref Michael Oliver for offside just before the break. There was a school of thought that suggested the ball came off Adam Lallana before falling to Pritchard in the area.

If that was the case it obviously should have stood but replays were certainly not conclusive. Pritchard himself was ruled offside by a whisker but we are not sure he was level with Virgil van Dijk before racing away to put the ball past Alisson.

Verdict: Correct decision


Marko Arnautovic offside v Tottenham

A keenly contested London derby at the London Stadium and West Ham thought they has levelled late on when Javier Hernandez fired home. However Arnautovic had set off too soon on his run to tee it up. Offside and a great call by Martin Atkinson and his assistants on a weekend when officials across the Premier League failed to cover themselves in glory.

Verdict: Correct decision


Luka Milivojevic yellow card v Everton

Plenty of Evertonians felt Milivojevic should have walked for a rash tackle on Richarlison early in the second half. However the tackle wasn’t that high and his studs weren’t showing so the yellow card brandished by Anthony Taylor was the correct call.

Verdict: Correct decision


Crystal Palace penalty v Everton

Seamus Coleman Wilfried Zaha TEAMtalk

Crucial moment at Goodison when with the game finely poised at 0-0 on the hour mark, Wilfried Zaha was tripped inside the area by Seamus Coleman. Zaha has come in for some merciless criticism in recent times over accusations of simulation but this is a clear foul, with Coleman’s trailing leg clearly catching the winger.

Verdict: Correct decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award

Man City Burnley TEAMtalk


Even though Burnley didn’t muster a single shot on target in Saturday’s 5-0 defeat, Sean Dyche was livid after what he saw as three crucial decisions go against his men. You could argue that Sane kicking out at Lawton wouldn’t really have changed much if the German was dismissed as the hosts were already 3-0 up. But it’s a different game surely if Kompany is dismissed in the first minute for going in studs up on Lennon?

The second goal too, which was bizarre, also knocked the stuffing out of Burnley.


Stonewall decision of the week

Arnautovic offside v Tottenham

Hammers fans were on their feet, a flare was released onto the pitch and the bubble machine kicked into overdrive. Alas it was all a bit premature as Arnautovic was a good yard offside before he played Hernandez in to score.