Ref Review: Mourinho, Wenger and Pep all given reasons to moan

Date published: Monday 1st January 2018 10:46

A look into all the controversial decisions from matchday 21 in the Premier League – with the likes of Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola having reason to moan.

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.


Jeff Hendrick offside v Huddersfield Town

Hendrick had an eventful afternoon in West Yorkshire and thought he’d put the Clarets ahead early on after a Kevin Long header was initially saved by Jonas Lossl and he popped home the rebound. However replays confirmed no fewer than three Burnley players were actually offside when the original free-kick was whipped in.

Verdict: Correct decision


Burnley penalty appeal v Huddersfield Town

Jeff Hendrick: Opened the scoring

Hendrick was left raging on the hour mark as he was denied what he felt was a clear penalty against the Terriers. Hendrick seemed to be caught by Jonas Lossl’s trailing leg after rounding him but whistler Paul Tierney was having none of it.

It all happened very quickly but the slow mo replays clearly show that Hendrick was impeded as he rounded the keeper. A penalty, and a poor call from Tierney.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Kyle Naughton challenge on Stefano Okaka

The Football Association have since charged and banned Kyle Naughton for three matches following a stamp on Stefano Okaka on Saturday. Referee Martin Atkinson completely missed it but thankfully the TV cameras did not and Naughton was soon on a violent conduct rap for what looked a pretty naughty, and needless, stamp. Quite how it went unpunished at the time though is anyone’s guess.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Manchester United penalty appeal v Southampton

Let’s have it right. It was a clear handball in the area from Maya Yoshida. Craig Pawson was happy to wave play on and the TV commentators kept saying in the aftermath that his hand ‘wasn’t in an unnatural position’. Yet the hand was about a foot out from the right side of his face. Are we missing something? Yoshida was throwing his arms about like he was doing the Macarena and for us it looks a stone-waller.

A visibly frustrated Jose Mourinho voiced his displeasure at the call afterwards while Yoshida tellingly acknowledged that “today we got the luck”.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Ashley Young elbow on Dusan Tadic

Manchester United star Ashley Young will face retrospective action and a possible ban after appearing to elbow Southampton forward Dusan Tadic at Old Trafford.

It was a sneaky but blatant elbow by the England man and while Tadic should perhaps be applauded for not making a complete meal of it, Young should have picked up at least a booking and given it was inside the United area, should the Saints not also have had a penalty?

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Paul Pogba offside v Southampton

United served up another snoozer at Old Trafford but may have won it had Paul Pogba not applied the finishing touch to a Nemanja Matic effort late on that was creeping in anyway. The Frenchman turned home from close range but was correctly flagged offside by Richard West.

Verdict: Correct decision


Crystal Palace penalty v Manchester City

Another week, another Wilfried Zaha controversy. In the dying seconds of Sunday’s high octane clash at Selhurst Park Zaha burst into the box after wriggling free of his markers. Raheem Sterling went with him and quick as a flash Zaha hit the deck in the area. John Moss immediately pointed to the spot despite any contact between the players being minimal to say the least.

Former top official Graham Poll afterwards called for Zaha to be brought to book for what he saw as a dive and the Palace man’s eagerness to hit the deck every time somebody goes near him does him no favours. Justice was done however as Ederson saved the resulting spot kick to preserve City’s long unbeaten run.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Jason Puncheon yellow card v Manchester City

Just seconds after Palace’s dramatic penalty miss Belgian schemer Kevin De Bruyne tried to get City away on the counter but was absolutely clattered by Puncheon. It was a reckless lunge that merited a yellow card and Puncheon eventually received one for his troubles. We must say we found the outcry afterwards on social media pretty hard to fathom however. Firstly it’s not a red card offence. Secondly the ref has seen it and taken the appropriate and correct action. The Twitterati reaction perhaps had everything to do with who the foul was on and how good a player he is, rather than looking at the foul objectively? For us justice was served.

Verdict: Correct decision


West Brom penalty v Arsenal

The last major Premier League decision of 2017 and Mike Dean has had a nightmare.

With time running out and the Baggies trailing 1-0 at the Hawthorns, former Gunner Kieron Gibbs touched the ball onto the arm of Callum Chambers in the area. Chambers had his arm close to his chest and in an entirely natural position.

There is no way that’s an intentional handball and you wonder what else Chambers could have done under the circumstances, as it was a clear case if ball to hand.

The worst thing about the penalty award was that Dean motioned that Chambers lifted his arm when he didn’t. Dean therefore saw something that didn’t actually happen.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


VAR probably can’t come soon enough as far as Arsenal and their fans are concerned. This atrocious call by Mike Dean follows hot on the heels of some other massive calls that have gone against them this season, such as the Alexandre Lacazette ‘goal’ at Stoke being flagged for offside or the highly contentious penalty that went against the Gunners against Watford when it seemed Richarlison had dived.

On Sunday Arsene Wenger was raging and rightfully so, as it’s decisions such as these they could see them miss out on a Champions League spot for a second straight season if they are not careful.


Stonewall decision of the week

Puncheon yellow card

John Moss came in for a bit of stick for his decision to only book Puncheon but a straight red was never really an option, was it? Granted, it was a proper Sunday League tackle and there was very little attempt to play the ball but it was late and clumsy rather than malicious or truly dangerous. A nailed on yellow. Red? Not so much.

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