The ‘Official’ Review: A look back at the weekend’s controversial decisions

Another match week and another set of controversial decisions in the Premier League.

This week the focus was firmly on the top four as Liverpool hosted Everton, and Manchester City travelled to Arsenal.  Both games provided a host of goals, as well as a number of controversial talking points.

Join us each week as we analyse the key refereeing decisions of the weekend in the Premier League.

Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
Referee: Andre Marriner

A huge game between two of the Premier League’s heavyweights saw the spoils shared after a hard fought affair. Both managers were under increasing pressure and at times that tension spilled over into the game.

Monreal Handball? No Penalty

With the game poised at 2-2 and City pushing for the winner, Jesus Navas and Nacho Monreal compete for an airborne ball in the Arsenal penalty area. Monreal appears to accidentally handle the ball whilst attempting to head clear.

Source: Sky Sports

Navas’ right foot comes into contact with Monreal’s left arm, affecting his movement towards the ball. City players appealed, whilst the Arsenal man looked suspiciously guilty. Marriner wasn’t in the greatest position to view the incident, and the fact that it occurred so late in the game could have affected his decision not to award a spot kick.

Sergio Aguero playfully suggests that Monreal admitted he handled the ball.                                             Source: Sky Sports

Whistle Blower Verdict: Referee Andre Marriner made the correct decision not to award a penalty for Manchester City. The incident was clearly accidental and the law of the game states that a handball has to be intentional for a penalty to be given. 

Liverpool 3-1 Everton
Referee: Anthony Taylor

The Merseyside derby was as feisty as ever, with Liverpool eventually running out comfortable 3-1 winners over rivals Everton. However, the major talking point of the game surrounded a nasty tackle from Ross Barkely.

Ross Barkley on Dejan Lovren: Yellow Card

Having already escaped caution for a nasty tackle on Emre Can after only six minutes, Ross Barkley was on thin ice.  The Everton man didn’t reign himself in however, as he committed a dangerous late foul on Dejan Lovren, leaving the Liverpool man in obvious discomfort.

Source: Sky Sports

Tensions are always high in this fixture, and players are often told to ‘go hard’ into tackles.  On this occasion Barkley took this a step too far as he left his mark on the Liverpool man.

Whistle Blower Verdict: It was an incorrect decision from Taylor not to send Barkley off.  The tackle was late, high and extremely dangerous.  All the ingredients of a straight red card.  Perhaps the occasion of the derby was on his mind, as he appeared more lenient than normal. Barkley was a very lucky boy. 

Manchester United 0-0 West Bromwich Albion
Referee: Mike Dean

Fellaini and Yacob: No Caution

A coming together in the middle of the park saw Wayne Rooney and Claudio Jacob tangle petulantly. Rooney appears to shove Jacob before the situation defuses. Defending his teammate, Fellaini approaches Jacob. The two exchange words before they come head to head with neither backing down. Eventually they are separated, largely thanks to Jesse Lingard’s mediation. Both players escape caution.


Whistle Blower Verdict: Correct decision from Mike Dean not to caution either player, instead opting to have a word and issue a final warning for both players. This allowed the referee to keep the game in control, not allowing incidents like this to boil over. 

Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace
Referee: Craig Pawson

Andros Townsend Handball? No Penalty

The shock result of the weekend saw Crystal Palace run out 2-1 winners over Antonio Conte’s table topping Chelsea side. However, the Blues will feel aggrieved that they weren’t awarded a penalty for handball in the first half.

Source: Sky Sports

With Chelsea trailing and pushing for an equaliser, Pedro fired a shot goal bound which clearly hit Townsend on the right arm. Chelsea players appealed adamantly, however Craig Pawson pointed to the corner flag, rather than the penalty spot.

IMG_3960 4
Source: Sky Sports

Whistle Blower Verdict: Incorrect decision from Craig Pawson not to award a penalty kick for Chelsea. In his defence the incident occurs so quickly that it is difficult to be 100% sure that Townsend intentionally handled the ball.  As well as this, his lineman’s view is somewhat obscured by Marcos Alonso. 

This incident is a great indication of where Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology would be useful to help referees come to a considered and correct decision. 

READ MORE: The ‘Official’ Review: A look back at midweek’s controversial decisions
READ MORE: The ‘Official’ Review: A look back at the weekend’s controversial decisions

Author: George Vines

Football Business & Media Studies; UCFB Wembley

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