Ref Review: The controversial decisions from week 35

Date published: Monday 25th April 2016 9:10

Daniel Sturridge: No penalty after challenge from Cheick Tiote

Our panel discuss several highly-contested decisions in the Premier League this weekend, with plenty of debatable incidents in the Liverpool v Newcastle and Sunderland v Arsenal matches.

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 keep a tally of the major decisions to go for and against each team in an attempt to settle the never-ending debate about whether certain clubs are favoured more than others by Premier League referees.

Possible offside in Liverpool’s opener v Newcastle: Daniel Sturridge fired Liverpool into an early lead at Anfield when he latched onto Alberto Moreno’s long pass against Newcastle. The visiting defenders initially appealed for offside against the England man, but replays showed he’d timed his run to perfection, with Jamaal Lascelles clearly playing Sturridge onside. Verdict: Correct decision

Possible offside in Liverpool’s second goal v Newcastle: The same player (Sturridge) was again lurking with intent when Adam Lallana tucked home a fine second for Liverpool, with the former well offside when the latter curled in. However, while the striker was technically offside, he was neither interfering with play, or blocking Karl Darlow’s view, meaning again the officials got this one right. Verdict: Correct decision

Newcastle penalty appeal v Liverpool: Ayoze Perez went down in the area under a clumsy challenge from Liverpool youngster Connor Randall, with the ref giving the Kirkby-born youngster the benefit of the doubt. Replays showed that while there was ever-so-slight contact, the referee once again got this call spot on. Verdict: Correct decision

Liverpool penalty appeal No 1 v Newcastle: Liverpool felt they were denied a clear penalty when Roberto Firmino’s cross appeared to strike Paul Dummett’s hand. However, ref Andre Marriner said no, and only awarded the Reds a corner. Our panel, however, felt the officials got this one wrong and a penalty should have been awarded. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Liverpool penalty appeal No 2 v Newcastle: Daniel Sturridge appealed for a spot-kick when he went down in the area under a challenge from Cheick Tiote, but again replays showed contact was minimal and the Liverpool forward went to ground far too easily. Our panel felt the referee was on the money on this occasion. Verdict: Correct decision

Disallowed Liverpool goal v Newcastle: Roberto Firmino turned the ball into the net from close range after Joe Allen’s header from a James Milner cross had fallen into his path, only for the Brazilian to see his joy cut short by the linesman’s flag. Once again, the officials got this one right. Verdict: Correct decision

Manchester City penalty v Stoke: Manchester City were handed a spot-kick when Kelechi Iheanacho was adjudged to have been pulled down / obstructed in the area by Ryan Shawcross. This was a tough one for our panel to call, but we sided with the ref four votes to one after deciding the Stoke man had enough of an arm round his opponent after getting caught out by the one-two. A soft penalty to concede, but a penalty all the same…Verdict: Correct decision

Bournemouth penalty appeal v Chelsea: Lewis Grabban felt he should have won a penalty when he went to ground under a John Obi Mikel tackle in the area. Although the Nigerian’s tackle wasn’t the best and he probably didn’t get the ball either, our panel felt it was Grabban who had initiated the contact and his bid to deceive the referee quite-rightly failed. Verdict: Correct decision

Sunderland penalty appeal v Arsenal:

Jermain Defoe: Felt Sunderland should have had penalty

Jermain Defoe made strong appeals for a penalty when his fierce volley was blocked by Per Mertesacker’s hand at close range. This was a really difficult one for our panel to decide as, while we felt the German did not intend to handle the ball, his arm was in an unnatural position, with it being raised as he pirouetted to protect himself from the shot. The referee, however, instantly waved the appeals away, and while we’re not sure whether he either didn’t see it, or whether he merely decided it was unintentional, we felt – under the current laws in the game (eg a deliberate handball) – the ref ,just about, got this right. Verdict: Correct decision

Arsenal penalty appeal v Sunderland: Just a few moments after the Mertesacker handball let-off at the other end, referee Mike Dean had another handball incident to deal with, this time at the other end. The incident occurred after Alex Iwobi had fired a shot goalwards and it had taken a deflection and struck DeAndre Yedlin’s hand as the full-back slid in to block the shot. Like the Mertesacker one at the other end, however, while Yedlin’s arm was in an unnatural position, because the ball had deflected on to it from extremely close range, we again felt Dean made the right call. And for consistency’s sake, he would have been wrong to award one and not the other. Perhaps the laws need changing and clarifying, but for now and under current laws, we felt the referee again got this one right. Verdict: Correct decision

Leicester free-kick award in build-up to second goal v Swansea: A Leicester match littered with far less controversy than last Sunday’s affair with West Ham, the only dubious call to emerge from this encounter was Mark Clatterburg’s decision to hand a free-kick for the hosts in the build-up to the second goal. The offender in this case was Swans winger Wayne Routledge, who the ref had decided fouled Wes Morgan out on the touchline. However, while our panel felt there wasn’t a huge amount of contact, we decided Routledge had simply been outdone by the stronger man in Morgan and had committed a foul. Verdict: Correct decision


Seasonal for and against

Team For Against Total For/Against
1. Liverpool Fourteen Seven +7
=Leicester Seventeen Ten +7
= Man United Nine Two +7
= Man City Thirteen Six +7
5. Aston Villa Seven Two +5
6. Sunderland Nine Five +4
7. Tottenham Eight Five +3
8. Crystal Palace Seven Five +2
9. Everton Four Four 0
= Stoke Seven Seven 0
11. Watford Six Seven -1
12. Chelsea Nine Eleven -2
13. Norwich Four Seven -3
=West Brom Seven Ten -3
15. Arsenal Ten Fourteen -4
= Southampton Seven Eleven -4
= Newcastle Six Ten -4
18. Swansea Five Eleven -6
19. Bournemouth Five Twelve -7
20. West Ham Seven Eighteen -11

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