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

Join us here at ‘The Official Review’ as we analyse the controversial talking points and key decisions of the weekend.

Sunderland 0-3 Manchester United
Referee: Craig Pawson

Larsson on Herrera: Red Card

The biggest talking point of the weekend concerned Sebastian Larsson’s tackle on Ander Herrera as Manchester United ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over  bottom placed Sunderland.

With the game poised at 1-0, referee Craig Pawson opted to show the Swede a straight red card following his high tackle on Herrera.

Larsson appeared to win to the ball first, however the nature of the challenge forced the referee into making a key decision.

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Larsson and Sunderland felt aggrieved by the Pawson’s decision to show a straight red, feeling a yellow would have been more justified.

Following the game Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports, “I think its a yellow card.  I said at half time, I think were getting to the point in football now where if you go to ground, you are risking a red card”.

Sunderland have since appealed the decision and are awaiting a response from the FA regarding Larsson’s fate.

Whistle Blower Verdict: A good decision from the referee: Red card. Larsson was overly forceful and looked out of control as he tackled Herrera.  He led with his boot high and his studs showing which could have caused serious injury to his opponent. Despite Redknapp’s comments, this tackle was evidence of dangerous play and justifiable of a red card. 

Larsson later had his appeal rejected by the FA.


Middlesbrough 0-0 Burnley
Referee: Martin Atkinson

Michael Keane: Yellow Card?

Middlesbrough and Burnley played out a stalemate that wasn’t without controversy, as one of Martin Atkinson’s decisions was called into question.

With Boro pushing for a winner, Michael Keane brought down Patrick Bamford as he went clean through on goal.

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Everyone in the ground expected to see the red according to the ‘last man’ rule.  Bamford himself was adamant that Keane had committed a professional foul. However, referee Martin Atkinson deemed the incident only worthy of a yellow card.

Perhaps with the help of ‘VAR’, the referee would have been able to take a minute to make a more considered decision.

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Whistle Blower Verdict: An incorrect decision from Atkinson not to send Keane off for a professional foul. Perhaps his decision was influenced by what he deemed to be lack of intent from the Burnley man.  
A change of the law in the recent season means a player can commit a a foul on the ‘last man’ and only be awarded a yellow, should the referee feel he made an honest attempt to win the ball. Nonetheless, Keane was a very lucky boy.

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Author: George Vines

Football Business & Media Studies; UCFB Wembley

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