Ref Review: Sterling rightfully yellow carded after dive

We reflect on matchday 23 of the Premier League and there were some shocking decisions by referees over the weekend.


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.


Swansea penalty appeal v Newcastle United 

New boss Carlos Carvalhal was left raging for what he described as a “clear penalty” that Swansea failed to be awarded on Tyneside. In the first half of an even encounter Mo Diame appeared to block a shot from Mike van der Hoorn with his elbow. It was missed by ref Graham Scott despite wild protests from various Swansea players in the vicinity. Replays suggested Diame’s arm was not in a natural position and therefore it should have been handball and a spot kick. When you are down amongst the dead men though, decisions like this have a habit of not falling your way.

Verdict: Incorrect decision 

Abdoulaye Doucoure goal v Southampton 

Roger East has had a complete nightmare here, not to mention Southampton, who were robbed of their first win in 10 Premier League matches after a crazy last few minutes at Vicarage Road. Leading 2-1 against the Hornets, the Saints were under the cosh as Doucoure stopped to nod home Troy Deeney’s header back across goal in the final minute. The ball however missed his head, but was swept home with a subtle hand. Inexplicably Mr East and his two assistants missed the game’s defining moment and the goal was given.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Wayne Rooney offside v Tottenham

Mr Rooney thought he had scored on 22 minutes at Wembley after dabbing the ball past Hugo Lloris following Cenk Tosun’s flick. However the England man was rightly flagged for offside.

Verdict: Correct decision


Harry Kane first goal v Everton

“I might have been offside. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t.” So said a sheepish Harry Kane in his post-match interview reacting to his first goal against the tricky Toffees. Kane slammed a side-footed shot into the net following Son’s cross but was blatantly offside. Not so, according to the officials, and he went on to grab another and become the club’s record scorer in the Premier League.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Crystal Palace penalty appeal v Burnley

Huge moment at Selhurst Park early on and Michael Oliver surely got it wrong. Bakary Sako, who was excellent all afternoon, was scythed down in the box by James Tarkowski. However Oliver somehow failed to award a penalty.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


West Brom penalty appeal v Brighton

The Baggies long wait for a Premier League win finally ended on Saturday as they beat a below par Brighton 2-0. They were good value for the win and also saw a penalty appeal waved away midway through the first half when a Matt Phillips shot struck Glenn Murray on the arm. The appeals were waved away by Martin Atkinson and to be fair to Murray it was more ball to hand, though his arms were quite high.

Verdict: Correct decision


Riyad Mahrez penalty appeal v Chelsea

Mahrez has been on fire for Leicester in recent weeks but blotted his copybook somewhat here after an outrageous second half dive at a Stamford Bridge. Andreas Christensen doesn’t move in the box as Mahrez tumbled over his outstretched leg in search of a spot kick. The normally mild-mannered Christensen was furious, confronting Mahrez afterwards with a wagging finger and a few choice words. On a weekend where the officials got things wrong in so many top flight games, Mike Jones was bang on the money here.

Verdict: Correct decision


Ben Chilwell red card v Chelsea

Young Chilwell was dismissed for the first time in his career for two yellow cards. And while the first may have been semi dubious he can have no argument about the second. He caught Victor Moses on the shin. Studs up. Case closed.

Verdict: Correct decision


Bournemouth penalty appeal v Arsenal

Let’s have it right. Just what was Alex Iwobi doing? The Arsenal man, in a nod to Chuck Norris, elbowed the ball away after a Bournemouth cross. His arm was clearly in an unnatural position. He elbowed the football. It was stonewall. In the words of Graeme Souness afterwards “What’s not to give there?” Thankfully the decision didn’t cost the Cherries, who came from behind to win 2-1.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Manchester City penalty appeal

Just in case Liverpool fans needed another reason to boo him mercilessly, Raheem Sterling took a dive in the box with just six minutes gone of Sunday’s pulsating Anfield spectacular. There was a slight suggestion that Emre Can brushed Sterling’s heels initially, but replays confirmed it wasn’t a penalty. If the ref didn’t deem it a spot kick there is also an argument Sterling should have been booked for simulation.

Verdict: Correct decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


You have to feel for Mauricio Pellegrino, a manager on the brink, trying to comprehend a 10-game winless run which looked like ending until Doucoure’s outrageous late leveller. In these heady times of VAR trials, here is a perfect example of a decision that would have been referred, an infringement spotted and a goal removed.

Stonewall decision of the Week

Chilwell red card at Chelsea

The second booking was clearly the result of a reckless act. Whether Chilwell meant to make the foul or not, it was reckless. And brainless given he had been booked not long before.