Ref Review: The controversial moments from matchday 1

A look at all the controversial incidents during the Premier League’s opening weekend with a number of high-profile decisions up for debate.

Refereeing decisions are regularly the source of debate among fans, pundits, players and managers so this season a five-strong TEAMtalk panel will be passing judgement on every red card (or avoidance of one), every penalty and any other major incident every matchday.

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.



Arsenal penalty appeal v Leicester City

The first major decision of the new season and it went against Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. Trailing 2-1 at home to Leicester with time running out in the first half, Sead Kolasinac flicked a ball in the area that appeared to strike the hand of Wilfred Ndidi. Was it hand to ball or ball to hand though? Mike Dean thought it was the latter and blew for a corner, much to the disgust of the majority packed into the Emirates.

Replays suggest it could easily have been given however as Ndidi’s hand was not down by his side but very much in the air when making contact with the ball.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Arsenal third goal v Leicester City

Huge talking point post-match was whether Mesut Ozil handled in the lead up to Aaron Ramsey’s equaliser to make it 3-3? Mike Dean was well placed and seems to have missed a blatant handball by the German. And it’s one of those that actually gets worse with every replay.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Arsenal fourth goal v Leicester City

What a game to kick off the 2017/18 Premier League season and what a finish in north London. 3-2 down in the dying embers of a pulsating match, Arsenal score two in two minutes to send their fans into raptures. The winner from Olivier Giroud was a header rammed home via the crossbar, with video technology confirming Dean’s decision to allow it was the right one.

It fell way over the line before being clawed out back into play by Kasper Schmeichel and the officials got it spot on.

Verdict: Correct decision


Liverpool penalty v Watford

The first penalty of the Premier League season and it’s an absolute stone waller. Mohamed Salah burst into the area and was way too quick for Heurelho Gomes, who was simply too slow off his line and clipped the nippy Egyptian as he went past him.

Verdict: Correct decision


Watford third goal v Liverpool

Huge moment at the death at Vicarage Road as Liverpool failed to deal with a corner and Richarlison smashed the ball goalwards from the bye-line. Simon Mignolet spooned the ball onto the bar but Brittos reacted quickest to bundle the ball over and salvage a point for the Hornets.

Twitter then went mental with Reds fan pointing out that Brittos was in fact in an offside position and interfering with the ‘keeper. It was oh so marginal but slow mo replays confirm the ball was blasted forward, not sideways, by Richarlison so the goal technically should not have stood.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Gary Cahill red card v Burnley

Straight red for Cahill early on at Stamford Bridge to send Chelsea into full panic mode and ultimately destroy the dreams of short odds coupon backers the length and breadth of the country.

The England man overran the ball when on a run in the Burnley half, then went flying in on Steven Defour trying to retrieve it. The studs were up but there was minimal impact on Defour and on reflection the decision looks really harsh.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Cesc Fabregas red card v Burnley

“3-1, to the referee” sang Blues fans in unison immediately following the dismissal of Fabregas for a second booking but the Spaniard really cannot have any complaints.

He was booked earlier in the game for sarcastic applause following a decision made by Craig Pawson that he didn’t agree with, but for his second yellow he went flying in recklessly on Jack Cork and was promptly dismissed.

Fabregas was furious but the challenge was a naughty one and a merited a booking all day long.

Verdict: Correct decision


Gabriel Jesus disallowed goal v Brighton

Jesus thought he had put the Citizens in front against a dogged Brighton side when he bundled home from Kevin De Bruyne’s first half pass.

However whistler Michael Oliver was quick to blow up for handball and replays confirmed the referee got it bang on with the Brazilian’s last touch being applied with his hand. He would later have another effort ruled out, again correctly, for offside but it didn’t matter too much as the Premier League title favourites eventually sauntered to a routine 2-0 victory on the south coast.

Verdict: Correct decision


Jonjo Shelvey red card v Tottenham

A moment of absolute madness from Newcastle’s captain, who quite ridiculously (but intentionally) stood on Dele Alli’s ankle when the England midfielder was laying on the floor. It was crude, thuggish and blatant. Following the straight red from Andre Marriner, Toon fans then began to boo Alli, presumably for having the temerity to allow his ankle to be stamped on.

Revenge was a dish best served cold for Alli on this occasion however, who recovered from the incident to put Spurs 1-0 up not long after.

Verdict: Correct decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


Craig Pawson only issued four red cards while on duty in the whole of the last Premier League season but he brandished two at Stamford Bridge and the first was a complete game-changer. Following Cahill’s early red the champions found themselves 3-0 down in no time as Burnley made the most of the their numerical advantage.


Stonewall decision of the week

Shelvey red card v Tottenham

jonjo shelvey

A more blatant red card you will not see. TV Pundit Alan Smith asked “Is that the most stupid red card you have ever seen in your life?” and we have to admit it is up there.

He has stood on Alli’s ankle while he was on the deck, right under the nose of the referee. Completely brainless behaviour.