Ref Review: Our verdict on Son denial; VAR missed Vardy clash

Date published: Monday 19th March 2018 1:22

Another week and more VAR controversy as Son Heung-Min’s goal was disallowed in the FA Cup, while Jamie Vardy was a lucky boy, all in Ref Review.


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.


Charlie Adam red card v Everton

Even allowing for the shocking weather conditions it’s difficult to make a case against the dismissal of Mr Adam on the half hour against Everton on Saturday. The Stoke man flew in on Wayne Rooney with his studs showing and even Boss Paul Lambert conceded afterwards: “If you go in with the studs in the modern-day game you put yourself in a position to be red carded.” Ref Martin Atkinson had a great view of it and didn’t hesitate in producing a red.

Verdict: Correct decision


Crystal Palace penalty v Huddersfield Town

An invaluable away win for Palace this and the points were all but sealed after Andros Townsend was taken out by Mathias Jorgensen after a great run. It was a stonewall penalty, duly converted by Luka Milivojevic to give the Eagles’ survival bid a massive shot in the arm.

Verdict: Correct decision


Tottenham disallowed goal v Swansea City

Another FA Cup tie, and yet another VAR controversy. Spurs’ South Korean star Son Heung-Min thought he had put Spurs firmly in the driving seat after firing home with a spectacular effort after a ball over the top by Christian Eriksen, only for the effort to be flagged for offside. It was a really marginal decision, and close enough for Kevin Friend to consult VAR. Again the replays were hardly conclusive, with opinion divided as to whether Son was offside or not despite numerous replays. It also threw up another question. What would have happened if the VAR had conclusively shown that Son was onside? The goal, surely, could not have stood, because Swans ‘keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt had stopped playing once the whistle had been blown? In this instance the officials erred on the side of caution and stuck with the original onfield call.

Verdict: Correct decision


Southampton penalty v Wigan Athletic

Wigan’s Dan Burn brought down Manolo Gabbiadini with the latter through on goal during Sunday’s FA Cup quart-final and while there was no debate about the award, some pundits felt the Wigan man might have also been sent off. What saved Burn however was the fact he made a legitimate, if clumsy, attempt for the ball. Great call by the referee.

Verdict: Correct decision


Jamie Vardy clash with Cesc Fabregas

VAR was again called into action during Sunday’s FA Cup clash between Leicester City and Chelsea when Cesc Fabregas complained to Craig Pawson that Vardy hit him in the face. In real time it was clear that Vardy aimed a swing in the direction of Fabregas and we feel it was an act that merited a booking at least. Amazingly the VAR didn’t see anything untoward despite the benefit of several slow mo replays.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


It may seem a bizarre choice given how comfortably Spurs won in the end but their players, and boss Mauricio Pochettinho, were clearly perplexed by having to wait for more than three minutes for a definitive decision on the Son offside. It’s clear that waiting more that a few seconds to find out whether a goal should stand risks killing the mood. But three minutes in the freezing cold? The Spurs boss didn’t hold back afterwards either as he said: “It’s a nightmare. I feel so sorry for the people trying to use that system. I think I prefer it when the ref and assistant make mistakes than to wait three or four minutes for things.”

Stonewall decision of the week

Southampton penalty

The spot-kick was eventually saved in spectacular fashion by Christian Walton – and you will not see a better save all season by the way – but the decision to award the penalty was one hundred per cent correct.


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