Ref Review: Man Utd get ridiculous rub of the green; City’s helping hand

Juan Mata TEAMtalk

Manchester United got lucky at home to West Ham and it was Man City’s turn for a helping hand in the title race at Selhurst Park, 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.


Gabriel Jesus goal v Crystal Palace

Gabriel Jesus TEAMtalk

The goal that wrapped up Man City’s impressive win away at Crystal Palace was offside. Kevin de Bruyne slid in Jesus in the left channel and it looked a tight call before he fired in at the near post. TV replays showed that Jesus’ leg was offside and the goal should not have stood.

Verdict: Incorrect decision 


Ashley Barnes yellow card v Cardiff City

‘All you need is love’ sang The Beatles. However Kevin Friend can’t have been a fan of The Fab Four after booking Ashley Barnes for kissing Joe Bennett on the nose (honestly). Bennett was booked for a late challenge on Barnes. Barnes was then cautioned for kissing Bennett as the players squared up. Twice. You don’t get many firsts in football these days, but this could be one. We think the booking was harsh. At least he got a kiss. We can’t even get a text back.

Verdict: Incorrect decision 


Cardiff City disallowed penalty v Burnley 

Cardiff have two penalty appeals in a few seconds early on in the second half, both for handball against Ben Mee. Mike Dean gave a penalty for the second one, but after talking to the linesman then rescinded the original call. Mee nodded it onto his own hand, and was lucky to get away with it as so few Premier League calls are reversed in these non VAR times.

Cardiff had every reason to be furious, especially after what happened against Chelsea the other week. The officials have confused everybody once again though on this occasion the right decision, we think, was eventually reached. A world weary Neil Warnock said afterwards: “I have no view at all thanks. I’ve already seen the FA three times this week.”

Verdict: Correct decision 


Anthony Knockaert red card v Bournemouth 

Anthony Knockaert TEAMtalk

We have no idea what Anthony Knockaert was thinking. A wild, crazy and very late tackle on Adam Smith. He was so late with the tackle he was in danger of missing Easter. In retrospect it was a pretty disgusting challenge and it could have been a career ending tackle.

Verdict: Correct decision


West Ham disallowed goal v Manchester United 

Felipe Anderson had the ball in the net after a cross from the left was nodded down and he volleyed home superbly with a scissor-style worldie at the Theatre of Dreams. He was immediately flagged offside but replays confirmed Diogo Dalot looked to be playing the Brazilian on. BT Sport replays appeared to show Dalot’s feet beyond those of Felipe Anderson. It was an incredibly tight call either way, but the goal should have stood.

Verdict: Incorrect decison


Manchester United penalty #1 v West Ham

This was never a penalty! Anthony Martial played the ball back to Juan Mata at the top of the area, and Robert Snodgrass came in from behind to challenge Mata, who went toppling over him. The referee instantly pointed to the spot although there didn’t seem to be much contact at all.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Manchester United penalty #2 v West Ham

No debate about this one. Sub Martial was sent through and as he glided into the area from a central position and went to pull the trigger, Ryan Fredericks clattered into him and brought him down. One hundred per cent penalty.

Verdict: Correct decision


Liverpool penalty appeal v Chelsea

Mo Salah scored a goal of the season contender against the Blues but in the first half all eyes were on him as he took a tumble in the Chelsea box. Salah made his way into the area and fell over under a challenge from David Luiz. However, replays showed that any contact was minimal and while it was not a dive – Luiz swung at Salah thus checking his run – it was not a foul either. Good shout from Michael Oliver, who enjoyed a tidy game.

Verdict: Correct decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off Award 

Manuel Pellegrini TEAMtalk

West Ham 

Honourable mention to Cardiff City but the Hammers were hoodwinked not once but twice at Old Trafford. They also enjoyed more possession than the Red Devils, hit the bar and were denied at least twice by two outrageous saves from David De Gea. And Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskajer admitted: “We got away with it.”

Stonewall decision of the Week 

Knockaert red card 

Terrible foul and one you would perhaps expect to see on FIFA when someone is losing, rather than in an actual Premier League match. How the Bournemouth player escaped serious injury is anyone’s guess.