Ref Review: Yaya lucky to stay on after shocking Can lunge

Yaya Toure: Booked against Liverpool

A look at all the controversial decisions during this weekend’s Premier League games with a number of high-profile incidents up for debate.

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.


James McClean yellow card v Arsenal

Saturday’s early kick-off was a spicy affair and it’s clear West Brom’s game plan was to impose themselves physically on an Arsenal side who have been struggling for weeks now.

However, James McClean’s challenge on Alexis Sanchez was a real shocker. He went in studs showing on the Chilean’s ankle to leave Sanchez writhing in agony. Referee Neil Swarbrick felt it only merited a booking, a decision that incensed Gunners fans on social media, with plenty commenting if it was Granit Xhaka making such a challenge he would have been off.

Replays showed McClean was very lucky to still be on the pitch as it was a dangerous lunge. Beleaguered Gunners boss Arsene Wenger stated afterwards that Sanchez’s ankle was in a “terrible state”. Not unlike Arsenal’s season as things stand….

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Hal Robson-Kanu goal v Arsenal

Hal Robson-Kanu: Scores West Brom's second

The Baggies substitute scored with only his second touch, just 75 seconds after coming on. But should it have been chalked off for offside?

Goalkeeper David Ospina made a shocking hash of a straight-forward throughball but when Robson-Kanu poked home McClean was offside and let the ball sail under his legs as it trickled home.

Swarbrick consulted his assistant, and between them they concluded that McClean was not interfering. Contentious if you’re an Arsenal supporter, but on reflection the correct call.

Verdict: Correct decision


Stoke City penalty v Chelsea

Big call this from so called ‘Stag Do’ referee Anthony Taylor, who blew for a Gary Cahill push on Jonathan Walters. It looked a fairly soft decision in real time and Blues boss Antonio Conte was furious, but the slow mo replays revealed Taylor was bang on the money as Cahill did nudge his man illegally in the area to send him sprawling.

Verdict: Correct decision


Phil Bardsley red card v Chelsea

A completely brainless tackle by Bardsley given the fact he was already on a booking. In the dying embers of a very physical encounter he completely flattened Cesc Fabregas down by his own corner flag.

Referee Taylor had no option but to produce a second yellow, followed by the inevitable dreaded red.

Verdict: Correct decision

Middlesbrough penalty appeal v Manchester United

Huge moment at the Riverside when, with the score 2-1 to Manchester United and the clock showing 88 minutes, Alvaro Negredo looked to have muscled into a great shooting opportunity in the box.

However Phil Jones put in a fantastic sliding challenge to deny the Spaniard. The home fans screamed as one for a penalty but referee Jonathan Moss was unmoved and his decision was excellent.

Verdict: Correct decision


Tottenham penalty v Southampton

Some comedy Saints defending in the area at White Hart Lane culminated in Southampton skipper Steven Davis hauling down Dele Alli.

Referee Andre Marriner was well placed and immediately blew for a penalty. There was barely a murmur of complaint from Davis, who knew the call was correct.

Verdict: Correct decision


Liverpool penalty appeal v Manchester City

Twenty five minutes into an absorbing encounter at the Etihad, Nicolas Otamendi and Sadio Mane were involved in a foot race and it’s the latter who won it before bursting into the area. However just as Mane was about to pull the trigger he inadvertently kicked Otamendi’s foot before going down.

Referee Michael Oliver waved away Liverpool appeals for a penalty and it was a good call from the official as there was no movement from Otamendi on Mane when he was in the area.

Verdict: Correct decision


Manchester City penalty appeal v Liverpool

Oliver had his hands full all afternoon but may have got a big call wrong towards the end of a frantic first half.

David Silva send a low ball flying across the face of goal and Raheem Sterling looked certain to score. However he seemed to be taken out from behind by James Milner just two yards from goal.

Replays confirm Milner’s right boot just catches Sterling’s foot, making him do an air shot with the goal at his mercy.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Liverpool penalty v Manchester City

Huge call at the Etihad as after several big shouts in the area referee Oliver finally blows for a spot-kick.

Emre Can chipped a ball into the area and Firminho controlled it well. However Clichy, who had slipped just a moment earlier, then steams in like a bull in a china shop.

He takes Firminho out with a high lunge, but also got some of the ball. It looked a 50-50 call and the City players complained long and loud, but Oliver was in no doubt.

Verdict: Correct decision


Yaya Toure red card escape v Liverpool

Yaya Toure slid in for what looked a ball he simply couldn’t win and his trailing boot caught Emre Can, who himself had slid in for a tackle, full on.

While we believe the Ivorian never intended to hurt Can, the fact he slid in so recklessly means he probably should have been sent for an early shower. While the incident was a tough one for the referee to judge, he did brandish a yellow, and on reflection – while a tough call to make when the 100mph tackles are sliding in all around you – it was the wrong one.


Verdict: Incorrect decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


The Gunners were slated in the red tops on Sunday after another insipid collective display but it all could have been so different if McClean have been dismissed for that shocker of a tackle on Sanchez.

It happened in the first half, when the score was 1-1 and, when you consider that Arsenal finished the game having had 77% possession, you wonder how it might have ended if Stoke had been forced to play more than 45 minutes with ten men?


Stonewall decision of the week

Bardsley red card

An absolutely horrific lunge on Fabregas and Bardsley was already walking off before the referee went to his pocket. Wild, late and dangerous.


Agree with our panel? Or are there any incidents you feel should have been included? Get in touch, below…