Ref Review: Man City get double helping hand in FA Cup; stonewall penalty fury

Manchester City had the footballing gods smiling on them this weekend, while Burnley were denied a stonewall penalty against Leicester, 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.


Manchester City penalty v Leicester City

A truly pulsating game at the Liberty and a “proper FA Cup tie” if ever there was one. However it was marred by a couple of huge refereeing decisions. The first of which saw Raheem Sterling given what looked a very soft penalty after he went down when challenged in the area by Cameron Carter-Vickers. To be fair to Sterling there was no clear act of ‘simulation’ here but it did look as though the Swansea man definitely got a touch to the ball first.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Sergio Aguero goal v Swansea City

Sergio Aguero TEAMtalk

With the Championship side still seething from that penalty award they were then dealt a hammer blow when Aguero steered home a brilliant header with two minutes left from an offside position. A great effort from the Argentine, but had VAR been present like it was in Saturday’s other two quarter-finals it would almost certainly have been chalked off. “If it is not penalty and it is offside like the people say, I’m sorry,” said Guardiola afterwards, as the debates raged as to why VAR has only been used at Premier League grounds in this season’s competition.

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Victor Lindelof overturned red card v Wolves

Man Utd TEAMtalk

The Swedish defender was given a pardon after a clumsy tackle on Diogo Jota in the latter stages of Saturday night’s FA clash. It was reckless rather then dangerous so VAR ref Chris Kavanagh was right to overturn the onfield decision of Martin Atkinson to hand the big United defender a reprieve.

Verdict: Correct decision


Harry Maguire red card v Burnley

Harry Maguire TEAMtalk

The Foxes centre-back was dismissed after just four minutes at Turf Moor for a last-man foul on Johann Berg Gudmundsson. It was a brave call from Michael Oliver so early in the game but ultimately the correct one. Even Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was in agreement, conceding afterwards “I think he made the right call, as much as it goes against us. We can deal with it better.”

Verdict: Correct decision


Burnley penalty appeal v Leicester City

Sean Dyche’s team could easily have had a second-half spot kick when Wilfred Ndidi tripped Charlie Taylor, but referee Michael Oliver was unmoved amid the protests. We feel Taylor was certainly clipped and that the Clarets should have been given the chance to go 2-1 up. Stonewaller.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Shane Ferguson red card v Brighton

Ferguson was given his marching orders for a horror stamp down the back of Lewis Dunk’s calf late into extra-time during Sunday’s FA Cup clash at the Den, leaving Chris Kavanagh with little option.

Verdict: Correct decision

Liverpool penalty v Fulham

Sadio Mane TEAMtalk

It looked like there might be another twist in the title race on Sunday when Ryan Babel scored an unlikely leveller for Fulham against Liverpool. However just six minutes later Sergio Rico clumsily dragged the shoulder of Sadio Mane after somehow spilling a routine effort from Sadio Mane. A clear penalty.

Verdict: Correct decision

Jurgen Locadia offside v Millwall

Jurgen Locadia TEAMtalk

Locadia had the ball in the Millwall net with seconds remaining in extra-time, but the Brighton substitute was flagged for offside.

Video replays though showed that Martin Montoya was just onside as the ball was played to him before his pass to Locadia, but once again with Millwall not being a top flight club no VAR was in operation. Another wrong call, but in the end the decision did not matter with Brighton winning on penalties.

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Team most likely to feel brassed off Award

Swansea City

Touch of class from Mr Guardiola to apologise to the Swans after his side benefitted from two contentious decisions, but it won’t be much consolation to the Championship side, who gave it everything against the English champions. The penalty to get the Citizens level was plenty dodgy, while their winner was clearly offside.

Stonewall decision of the Week

Shane Ferguson TEAMtalk

Ferguson red card

It was a dangerous, cowardly stamp from Ferguson and he deserved to go. Boss Neil Harris, who is Mr Millwall, was even struggling to defend him afterwards when he said “Shane Ferguson is our best penalty taker and he wasn’t on the pitch because of a moment of stupidity.”