Ref Review: The controversial decisions from week 29

Christian Benteke: Won Liverpool's controversial penalty

Christian Benteke: Won Liverpool's controversial penalty

Our panel debate Christian Benteke’s highly-controversial penalty, while red cards for Everton, Arsenal and Southampton also come up for discussion on an action-packed 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 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.

Week 29

Francis Coquelin red card v Spurs: The Arsenal midfielder might feel slightly aggrieved about his first caution for handball, but when all things considered, it was probably the right call. His second yellow – for a thoughtless lunge on Harry Kane – was certainly worthy of a caution, so he can have no complaints about the subsequent red. Verdict: Correct decision

Possible offside in build-up to Harry Kane goal v Arsenal: Question marks arose about whether Dele Alli might have been offside in the build-up to Kane’s wonder strike against the Gunners. But replays showed the midfielder bent his run and was played onside by Kieran Gibbs before backheeling the ball to Kane to do the rest. Verdict: Correct decision

Eric Dier possible sending off v Arsenal: The midfielder was correctly cautioned for hauling back Danny Welbeck in the second half, but referee Michael Olivier showed extreme leniency not to rule his second offence – for pulling on Olivier Giroud’s shirt – worthy of a caution. And in our view, the ref got this one wrong. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Watford penalty appeal v Leicester: Nordin Amrabat felt he was impeded by Christian Fuchs in the penalty area, but contact was minimal and the referee was right to allow play to continue. Verdict: Correct decision

Kevin Mirallas red card v West Ham: The Belgian’s first caution by ref Anthony Taylor was highly controversial, with the decision to card him for a dive more than harsh. The Everton star, however, can have little complaints about his second for a lunge on Aaron Cresswell, but the Toffees star will be licking his wounds over the first and will quite rightly feel aggrieved. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Everton penalty v West Ham: Mo Besic danced his way round a few challenges before Alex Song upended him right on the line. However, replays showed the challenge was committed marginally outside the area and the decision – albeit a close one – was (borderline) the wrong one. Verdict: Incorrect decision

West Ham penalty appeal v Everton: Dimitri Payet’s volley struck the arm of Besic, but with the midfielder in close quarters, and ducking beneath his arm to protect himself, it was definitely not deliberate and a clear case of ball to hand. Verdict: Correct decision

Everton penalty appeal v West Ham: With the scores at 2-2, Besic fired a goal-bound shot which appeared to strike the arm of Cheikhou Kouyate, but replays were inconclusive and the ball appeared to strike him around the shoulder area, so the referee just about got this right. Verdict: Correct decision

Man City penalty v Aston Villa: Ciaran Clark was adjudged to have fouled Kelechi Iheanacho in the penalty area and the Villa man did catch the Nigerian’s leg with contact enough to deem the decision right. Verdict: Correct decision

Jose Fonte red card v Sunderland: The Saints skipper was the last man when he impeded Fabio Borini and can have no arguments with being sent for an early shower. Verdict: Correct decision

Swansea penalty appeal v Norwich: Andre Ayew was upended just inside the area by Timm Klose, but referee Craig Pawson allowed play to continue. Looked a poor decision at first viewing and even worse with the benefit of replays. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Chelsea penalty appeal v Stoke: Marc Muniesa appeared to bundle Oscar in the back just inside the area, but contact was not strong enough to warrant a spot-kick and the referee was right to wave play on. Verdict: Correct decision

James Milner red card v Crystal Palace: The ref had little choice but to show the Liverpool man a yellow for his first tackle on Yohan Cabaye and it was a similar story with his second after he caught Wilfried Zaha. Verdict: Correct decision

Possible Papa Souare red card v Liverpool: The Palace man left an imprint on Mamadou Sakho’s leg following a tackle near the touchline. But there’s not enough evidence to conclusively say the challenge deserved a red and was intentional, let alone done with malice. Verdict: Correct decision

Liverpool penalty v Crystal Palace: Christian Benteke went down under a ‘challenge’ from Damien Delaney in the fifth minute of injury time. A highly-debatable decision this one as replays showed Delaney’s knee did catch Benteke’s leg, though whether enough to bring him down in the manner it did is another matter. The referee (who had consulted with his linesman before awarding the spot-kick) even admitted himself that the decision was wrong, with our panel narrowly voting 3-2 in favour of Alan Pardew. Verdict: Incorrect decision

Juan Mata red card v West Brom: A weekend of debate two yellows leading to reds was completed when the Man United ever-present was also sent packing early doors. The first, for blocking an early West Brom free-kick, and the second, for a needless hack at Darren Fletcher, however, were both the correct calls, according to our panel and the Spaniard can have no arguments. Verdict: Correct decision


For and Against

Team For Against Total For/Against
1. Man Utd Eight One +7
2. Leicester Twelve Seven +5
3. Liverpool Eleven Six +5
= Tottenham Eight Three +5
5. Man City Nine Five +4
= Aston Villa Six Two +4
7. Sunderland Seven Four +3
8. Newcastle Five Five 0
= Watford Four Five 0
10. Everton Two Three -1
11. Crystal Palace Three Five -2
= Stoke Four Six -2
= Chelsea Eight Ten -2
14. Arsenal Eight Eleven -3
= Southampton Six Nine -3
= West Brom Six Nine -3
= Norwich Two Five -3
18. Swansea Five Ten -5
19. West Ham Four Ten -6
= Bournemouth Four Ten -6