This weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures were not short of key refereeing decisions that left lots to be debated.
Martin Atkinson had to deal with a hostile atmosphere at The Emirates during the north London derby between Arsenal and Spurs, Peter Banks had a big call to make in Leicester’s win over Bournemouth involving Youri Tielemans, while Aston Villa‘s late equalizer against Crystal Palace was ruled out after Villa player was deemed to have dived.
Here is my verdict on all the key refereeing moments from this weekend’s action.
ARSENAL vs SPURS
Martin Atkinson controlled a thrilling north London derby with great experience and it was an excellent decision not to award Spurs a penalty when Harry Kane went down late on.
Kane used his body and leg to initiate the contact with Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos and it was not a penalty. VAR would have checked the incident but Atkinson’s on-field decision was correct.
Should Kane be booked for simulation? I would say not as there is contact. I also didn’t think there was anything in the Dani Ceballos-Dele Alli clash. And again no need for VAR to get involved.
VAR was consulted on Arsenal’s disallowed third goal – and of course the assistant ref had the call spot on. PGMOL will be happy with the use of VAR after such a bad day on Saturday.
VERDICT: Officials did grand job meaning VAR hardly used
Martin Atkinson controlled a thrilling North London derby with great experience on Sunday
LEICESTER vs BOURNEMOUTH
Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans should have been sent off for a nasty, studs-up challenge on Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson, which made contact high on the shin.
At match speed, I can understand why referee Peter Banks could have missed this. However, I am shocked that VAR official Martin Atkinson did not recommend a review or change the decision having seen replays.
If PGMOL have set the bar too high for VAR intervention then we are going to see more dangerous challenges such as this going unpunished – and that is a major concern.
VERDICT: VAR got it wrong.
NEWCASTLE vs WATFORD
Newcastle’s equalising goal against Watford should have been disallowed after replays showed the ball make contact with the hand of Isaac Hayden before being diverted into the path of scorer Fabian Schar.
The incident was similar to Manchester City’s disallowed goal versus Spurs a fortnight ago when Aymeric Laporte handled before Gabriel Jesus scored – and that was correctly ruled out under the new Law changes.
It is my fear that, in trying to speed up the checking process, VAR has only looked at a potential offside and not the handball – and this is a worry going forward, as a clear infringement has been missed.
VERDICT: VAR got it wrong.
Fabian Schar’s equaliser for Newcastle against Watford should have been ruled out by VAR
CRYSTAL PALACE vs VILLA
The worst decision of the weekend came during Aston Villa’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace when they were denied a stoppage-time equaliser. The golden rule for referees now is to allow a phase of play to be completed and, if a goal is scored, then a review takes place.
Kevin Friend failed to adhere to this when he blew his whistle and cautioned Villa midfielder Jack Grealish for diving, just before Henri Lansbury scored.
The VAR official Andrew Madley could not interfere because Friend had already whistled before the goal was scored – and therefore prevented any review.
Replays showed contact between Grealish and Palace defender Gary Cahill – which was not enough for a penalty – but Villa will feel very unfortunate that VAR was not able to review the situation, as the goal would have probably been allowed to stand.
VERDICT: Referee got it wrong
Kevin Friend failed to adhere to the golden rule when he cautioned Jack Grealish for diving