Ref Review – Manchester City unlucky but Southampton & Arsenal justified

By Rich Laverty.

It’s that time of the week again to have a rant about the latest batch of poor refereeing decisions – and there were plenty. We saw several dubious offside calls and penalties denied, while handballs were again ignored across the board… Just another standard Premier League weekend. This week, decisions concerning David Silva, Nedum Onuoha, Jack Colback and more come under the microscope.

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Two offside decisions, wrong or right?

There was much confusion as QPR pushed hard for an equaliser after Sadio Mane put Southampton ahead in stoppage time at Loftus Road on Saturday. As the ball trickled into Fraser Forster’s goal, it appeared the hosts had been rewarded, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag. If it was for a foul on the goalkeeper, it’s a poor decision, but it appears in all the chaos Nedum Onuoha was indeed offside and that it was a brilliant decision.

On Saturday, Spurs fans were disappointed as Mesut Ozil put Arsenal ahead however, replays showed the German may have been just offside. By the letter of the law you could argue he was offside, but nobody is ever going to be spot-on and no blame can be placed on the linesman. It didn’t harm the white side of North London in the end.

Two penalties, definitely wrong…

Two teams who could feel harshly done by this weekend are Manchester City and Sunderland. Manuel Pellegrini’s men are struggling at the moment and only salvaged a point against Hull in the last minute. But referee Jonathan Moss failed to spot a clumsy push on David Silva which would have given the hosts a route back into the game.

Similarly in Wales, Ashley Williams looked as surprised as anyone not to be pulled up by whistler Phil Dowd for tripping Sunderland’s Ricky Alvarez inside the area. Not a good weekend for referees when it came to penalties.

Two handballs, how clear are the rules?

Last week, Fabricio Coloccini got away with a handball at Hull and this week two more players were lucky to escape giving away penalties. At Villa Park, Gary Cahill’s header struck the arm of Aly Cissokho and a late cross into the box undoubtedly hit the arm of Gareth McAuley at Burnley.

People seem to judge handballs these days on distance. Cissokho was relatively close to Cahill’s header, which may have saved him, but there was no excuse for McAuley sticking his elbow out to deflect a cross into the box. Jose Mourinho won’t be complaining too much given his side won but Sean Dyche should feel aggrieved his side were denied a late penalty. But for everyone’s sake, some clarity is needed.

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Keepers losing their protection?

Adrian went up for a ball against Robin van Persie at Upton Park on Sunday, dropped it and gave away a chance which Marouane Fellaini failed to take. It was refreshing to see a striker not penalised for fairly attempting to get the ball. Forster ended up in the same situation on Saturday but fortunately for him Onuoha’s goal was disallowed for offside.

But should it work both ways? In the North London derby, David Ospina came out for a ball that was headed away by a defender but as he missed his punch, he clattered into Harry Kane, forcing him to the ground. Are goalkeepers too protected and why doesn’t it work both ways? Giving Spurs a penalty would have been harsh given the ball had gone but it appears goalkeepers are allowed to push strikers to the ground with little or no punishment.

Stoke denied

Probably the most glaring decision of the weekend came at St James’ Park. Referee Kevin Friend failed to hand out a second yellow to Jack Colback for what obviously should have been a second bookable offence. Friend’s heart must have sank just three minutes later when the midfielder smashed Newcastle into the lead.

Fortunately for Friend, Mark Hughes saved his complaints as Stoke rescued a late equaliser but it doesn’t hide the fact the referee almost cost them in a big way on Sunday.

Follow @RichJLaverty

Read more from Rich Laverty here.

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