Ref Watch: Debate over Spurs 'pen' – but ref made 'mess' of Gakpo incident


Dermot Gallagher returns for a busy Ref Watch, with the former Premier League referee assessing the controversial incidents from the weekend’s action…

‘Gakpo incident a mess that could have been avoided’

INCIDENT: Anthony Taylor prevents Cody Gakpo from scoring after Alphonse Areola put the pull down for a free-kick – despite the referee not awarding a foul.

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The Ref Watch panel have their say on the controversial moment in Liverpool’s game with West Ham when Cody Gakpo was prevented from putting the ball in the net

DERMOT SAYS: “It’s a mess that could have been avoided very easily.

“Areola grabs the ball – I think he collides with the post. Anthony Taylor, for whatever reason, signals advantage.

“But when he goes back upfield, Areola throws the ball to the ground. The referee sees it, blows up and decides the goalkeeper needs treatment.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between West Ham and Liverpool

“He’s dug himself out well by seeing Gakpo’s closing in and the player needs treatment, but one wonders if it had gone in the net.

“But he originally decided he didn’t need treatment. That’s where he makes the mistake – he turns his back on the ball. For that period, you’re not in control of the situation.”

‘Fair call to rule out Van de Ven goal’

INCIDENT: Micky van de Ven’s goal for Tottenham was ruled out against Arsenal by VAR for a marginal offside.

The Spurs defender was ahead of play when Pedro Porro struck the ball – but it ricocheted off Takehiro Tomiyasu and Gabriel before reaching Van de Ven.

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Tottenham were denied an equaliser against Arsenal following a VAR review, with Micky van de Ven adjudged to be offside

DERMOT SAYS: “The argument is, ‘has Tomiyasu deliberately played the ball, has it struck him or has he blocked it?’

“I don’t think that is a footballing action. His knees are bent and his legs are together. It flies off Gabriel.

“I think that’s a fair call – it has struck him. The VAR is absolutely correct.”

Should Spurs have had a penalty?

INCIDENT: Spurs wanted a penalty for a challenge made by Leandro Trossard on Dejan Kulusevski before Arsenal scored their second goal.

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Highlights from the Premier League match between Tottenham and Arsenal

DERMOT SAYS: “I think there is a little bit of a nick on him but then he clips his own heel. For me, minimal contact – not a penalty.”

Stephen Warnock: “I think it’s a penalty. The big thing for me is whether it is minimal contact or not, there is contact.

“I don’t like it because it is very difficult to get out of the way. Trossard clips his heel, which makes him then cross his legs.

“By interfering with my stride pattern you have knocked my leg, where I can only kick my own leg. But I don’t go down unless you don’t touch me. That can only be a penalty.”

White’s ‘subtle’ antics with Vicario at corners

INCIDENT: Ben White is marking Guglielmo Vicario in the north London derby and tries to undo the Spurs goalkeeper’s gloves.

No action is taken on the Arsenal defender.

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The Ref Watch panel discuss whether Ben White was fortunate to escape punishment following several incidents involving Guglielmo Vicario

DERMOT SAYS: “If the referee sees it he can speak to him. He can’t give a sanction and he can’t give a free-kick because the ball is dead.

“Does he decide it is unsporting behaviour and yellow card him? Does he go over and give him public admonishment? Or does he not see it – which I don’t think he does because it is so subtle.”

‘VAR right to intervene over Disasi goal’

INCIDENT: Chelsea thought they had scored a stoppage-time winner at Aston Villa through Axel Disasi – only for referee Craig Pawson to disallow the goal for a push on Diego Carlos by Benoit Badiashile after a pitch-side review.

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Highlights from the match between Aston Villa and Chelsea in the Premier League

DERMOT SAYS: “I thought it was a foul at the time. I thought a foul would be given and I was surprised it wasn’t.

“When the goal went in, I was confident VAR would pick it up.

“If the players are side by side and he goes with his shoulder, that’s OK. But the player’s [Badiashile] behind him and he goes into his back.

“The ball’s not in picture and the law says that if you’re going to shove somebody, the ball’s got to be playable.

“I think he decides wrongly that it’s not a foul. It’s clear and obvious.

“We’ve got a referee and we’ve got a VAR, so we’ve got different tolerance levels. Craig Pawson doesn’t think that was a foul but I do, so if I was the VAR, I would alert you to go to the screen.

“He can go to the screen and hold his ground.”

‘No evidence to disallow Villa opener’

INCIDENT: The ball appears to roll out of play on the touchline in the build up to Aston Villa’s opener against Chelsea – but play goes on and the goal is given.

DERMOT SAYS: “There’s no evidence the ball is out of play. I think it may well be because [Lucas] Digne gives up the ball…

“But the ball goes out to the far side, where [Leon] Bailey is challenged twice by [Marc] Cucurella. It then goes back to another Villa player, who’s challenged by [Mykhailo] Mudryk. It then goes to the other side.

“There’s 24 seconds between that ball possibly going out and the ball going in. It’s too far to go back and the assistant would say the ball didn’t go out.”

‘Gordon penalty award very harsh’

INCIDENT: Newcastle were awarded a penalty for a foul by Sheffield United’s Mason Holgate on Anthony Gordon – which started outside the box.

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Highlights from Newcastle’s match against Sheffield United in the Premier League.

DERMOT SAYS: “There’s actually two trips, but the second one is on the line or actually in the area so the referee is well within his right to give a penalty.

“I listen to the VAR – they said the same.”

Stephen Warnock: “The first trip leads to the second trip – it is a knock-on effect of the first foul. I think it is very harsh.

“It is such a tough call.”

‘Good use of VAR to overturn Sheff Utd penalty’

INCIDENT: Sheffield United were denied a late penalty after an on-field review recommended by VAR overturned the initial decision to penalise a challenge on Jayden Bogle inside the box.

DERMOT SAYS: “He definitely gets the ball and then the player goes over his leg. It wasn’t a foul.”

Sue Smith: “Credit where credit is due – that was really good use of VAR.”

‘VAR has learned and Onana hasn’t’

INCIDENT: Burnley were awarded a penalty late on at Manchester United for a foul by Andre Onana on Zeki Amdouni.

The challenge was similar to an incident against Wolves earlier in the season, which went unpunished. PGMOL latterly decided to apologise for their error in that instance.

DERMOT SAYS: “There is a great learning process in this. Eight months down the line we se the same goalkeeper at the same end making the same challenge. We were told no penalty on the night. Penalty was given on Saturday.

“It’s a great advancement. Rather than try to be consistent, they have said, ‘we got that wrong and we are going to correct it’.”

Stephen Warnock: “VAR has learned and Onana hasn’t.”

‘Would’ve been harsh to give Man Utd penalty’

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Highlights from Manchester United’s match against Burnley in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Man Utd were not given a penalty for a handball by Vitinho against Burnley after the ball struck his hand.

Erik ten Hag questioned why this wasn’t given but Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s handball against Coventry in the FA Cup was.

DERMOT SAYS: “They were unlucky against Coventry. I said it was harsh on Wan-Bissaka. This would’ve been even harsher.

“The only thing you’d say about Wan-Bissaka is that the ball went a long way and this was even shorter.

“I didn’t think either of them were penalties.”



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