Ref Review: Liverpool, Man Utd given a helping hand; Arsenal hindered

Salah Van Dijk TEAMtalk

Liverpool and Manchester United had luck on their sides this weekend, while Wolves were also rather fortunate, 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.


Liverpool first goal v Bournemouth

Mo Salah’s first half goal was the difference between the teams until Liverpool ran away with it in the second period, but their opener looked suspiciously offside. Bobby Firmino fired in a shot and Salah reacted to put the rebound away but he was clearly off when the Brazilian let fly. Jurgen Klopp said afterwards: “I don’t know if it was offside, I’ve not watched it back.” Trust us Jurgen, it was.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Granit Xhaka yellow card v Huddersfield Town

Granit Xhaka TEAMtalk

Arsenal had no fewer than three players booked for simulation against the Terriers yet the first of which, Granit Xhaka, seemed a bit iffy. The Swiss seemed to be fouled in the middle of the park if anything by Aaron Mooy but Paul Tierney saw fit to book him instead.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Shkodran Mustafi yellow card v Huddersfield Town

It was a fiesty affair in North London with 33 fouls and nine yellow cards in total. One of them went to Mustafi for diving and the Arsenal defender clearly exaggerated contact as he tried to win a penalty for his side.

Verdict: Correct decision


Matteo Guendouzi yellow card v Huddersfield Town

Guendouzi became the third Arsenal man to be cautioned for simulation when he was booked with ten minutes left. Again the decision looked fair enough. Indeed, Gunners boss Unai Emery had no complaints about any of the cautions, saying in his press conference afterwards: “I don’t want simulation for players. I want more rhythm in the match. The opposition can decide how they want to play and for me it is a tough match for that because the opposition stopped a lot in fouls and these yellow cards are good.”

Verdict: Correct decision


Alexander Lacazette disallowed goal v Huddersfield Town

Alexandre Lacazette TEAMtalk

Emery was less understanding of Tierney’s decision to chalk off what looked a good goal from Lacazette for offside. The rules state it’s not offside ‘if the ball was last deliberately played by an opponent’ and that seemed to be the case in this instance. The Frenchman did look just off for the original Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang flick on but this was not picked up by the officials, who actually blew after he intercepted the pass from a Huddersfield player. So on reflection the ‘goal’ should have stood.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Manchester United third goal v Fulham

A slick triangular passing move was finished brilliantly by Romelu Lukaku to put the Red Devils out of sight against the Premier League’s basement boys. There was however a suspicion Juan Mata was offside in the build up after being played in by Jesse Lingard. Replays confirmed the Spaniard, who was excellent on the day, had actually timed his run to perfection.

Verdict: Correct decision


Fulham penalty v Manchester United

Ander Herrera was penalised after bringing down Aboubakar Kamara in the area. It looked like Herrera got the ball, before getting a piece of Kamara on the follow through. In the end it didn’t cost United, but we are not sure whether Lee Probert and his officials got this one right.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Andre-Frank Anguissa red card v Manchester United

Andre-Frank Anguissa TEAMtalk

Anguissa was clearly enraged with what appeared a soft second yellow at the Theatre of Dreams and took several minutes to leave the pitch. He was booked after 31 minutes for a foul on Jesse Lingard that blatantly was a yellow card. However his second booking, for a foul on Marcus Rashford, was far more dubious and Rashford himself could have had few complaints if he himself was called for the foul as the pair came together.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Wolves penalty appeal v Newcastle United

Wolves wanted a penalty on Tyneside when, with the scores level at 1-1, Matt Doherty charged into the box and Matt Ritchie desperately slid in to to clear the danger. It was a clean tackle though and Mike Dean got it spot on, giving a corner only.

Verdict: Correct decision

DeAndre Yedlin red card v Wolves

The big talking point at St James’ Park was the second half straight red for Yedlin. The Newcastle defender took a heavy touch that Jota pounced on and the American, as the last defender, then hauled the Wolves man back, leaving the officials with little option but to send him for an early bath.

Verdict: Correct decision


Willy Boly challenge on Ayoze Perez

Wily Boly Ayoze Perez TEAMtalk

Rafa Benitez was left raging after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat and mentioned VAR no fewer than 10 times in his post-match press conference. He was convinced Boly escaped a red card, and conceding an inevitable penalty, in the 75th minute when Perez was smashed in the nose by a stray elbow. Luckily for Wolves Mike Dean didn’t seem to realise the severity of the incident and Wolves went on to win.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


Sunday’s game was littered with controversy and it looked like the officials missed a pivotal moment when Perez went down clutching his face in the box. Anyone jumping with their arms in the air like Boly did runs the risk of conceding a penalty and the Wolves man clearly caught Perez. Positionally Mike Dean seemed to have a decent view of it too so no wonder Senor Benitez went crazy afterwards as it’s a decision that’s clearly cost his side.


Stonewall decision of the week

DeAndre Yedlin TEAMtalk

DeAndre Yedlin red card

Mike Dean has shown more red cards than any other referee in the Premier League this season (five in 12 games) but got this one bang on as the Toon defender took down Jota and denied him a clear goalscoring opportunity.


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