Ref Review: Mark Halsey says Liverpool were denied a penalty, Manchester City man should be banned and United could have had a penalty

Alex Vryzakis and former professional referee Mark Halsey from run the rule over the the latest batch of controversial decisions from the third weekend of the new Premier League season.


Penalty box saga continues at the King Power

Game: Leicester 2 – 1 Swansea

Ref: Roger East

Robert Huth is no stranger to controversy. Heavy challenges and unnecessarily high feet are expected when facing the big German, and yellow cards are the brothers he never knew he needed. On Saturday afternoon however, it was Huth who was wronged- and in the penalty area to boot.

In the midst of a particularly wet game at the Kingpower Stadium, Huth was forcibly taken down, seemingly sandwiched between two willing Swansea players. While there were afters that Huth can’t seem to avoid, the point stands that he was unfairly impeded in the box and it should have been a penalty.

What is mystifying is that East was in a great position and staring right at the incident. His choice to wave play on shows while referees are becoming more aware of the problems of holding in the box, there must be consistency for anything to change in a significant and lasting manner.

Grade: C+. Ignoring the double foul on Huth was a strange decision.

Mark Halsey’s Verdict

Roger has allowed Robert Huth to be wrestled to the floor and these are the ones that need to be given so that is stops. This is no different to any other given this season yet it wasn’t given. If you look at the Mike Dean incident in the Crystal Palace game, Daniels has become the latest player to fall foul of these new ‘laws’ but there are no new laws.

The foul on Benteke isn’t a penalty for me, it wasn’t excessive yet Mike Dean pointed straight to the spot. If you’re giving that then you’re giving 6 or 7 a match. Neither side are expecting those to be given, it’s a contact sport and players expect that. It’s about picking the right decisions to make an example of and one was clearly ignored in the Leicester match and a softer one given at Crystal Palace.

Nobody in Selhurst Park expected a penalty but there was another in the West Brom game which should have been given, Ben Gibson clearly pulled Rondon’s shirt yet that wasn’t given. The officials aren’t doing themselves any favours by giving stupid decisions like the Benteke one and the assistant manager should have been brave enough to give the one at West Brom. Stuart Burke is an experienced assistant and he’s bottled it, he’s not got involved.
Klopp furious at double-standards

Game: Tottenham 1 – 1 Liverpool

Ref: Robert Madley

It seems that we cannot go a single weekend without the dreaded new insistence on penalty box marshalling. On the one hand, things have been getting ridiculous in the box for years and it’s about time something was done about it. On the the other hand, it can really mar a splendid refereeing performance, as proven, by the unsuspecting Robert Madley.

Madley was having a fine game, agreeing with a tight offside call in the lead up to what would have been Liverpool’s second goal. His eagle-eyed assistant referee spotted that Adam Lallana was offside in the lead-up, and the goal was rightly ruled out. Then Madley correctly awarded Liverpool a penalty after Erik Lamela’s clumsy challenge on a top-knotted Roberto Firmino.

It was a corner that proved his downfall however. Just as the ball was whipped in, there was a skirmish involving Tottenham’s Jan Vertoghen and Liverpool’s Joel Matip. Marley blew his whistle to stop play, zeroing in on the players to give the Belgian a warning. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp couldn’t believe his eyes: neither could the pundits on Match of the Day.

It was a bizarre decision by Madley to dish out warnings after an incident so blatant that he felt he needed to stop play. Surely the players are aware of what they shouldn’t be doing, and doling second chances and finger wags defeats the purpose of catching mischievous players in the act?

Grade: B-. The lack of consistency in penalty box incidents continues.

Mark Halsey’s Verdict

There was confusion all around when Vertonghen pulled Matip’s shirt, he was almost wrestling him more than anything else. This was one of the worst of the lot and Bob’s got one of the basic laws wrong.

He spotted the offence when the ball was in the play, he blows his whistle AFTER the corner has been taken and gives Vertonghen a warning. Then he restarts play with another corner, the ball is in play so by law he has to restart play with a penalty. The foul was committed before the ball was in play but you can clearly see Bobby doesn’t blow his whistle until the ball is active.

I suppose you could say he’s bottled giving the penalty and that’s what Jurgen Klopp is moaning about, you don’t know what you’re going to get from which referee and he would have got a lot of praise if he’d given a penalty – nobody would have complained. There’s no clear leadership coming from the PGMOL, they’ve been told to referee on their principles but obviously someone like Mike Dean has very different principles to other referees.

There needs to be clear leadership, we didn’t have this at the Euro’s because in Pierluigi Collina there was a clear leader and every official knew what they were doing. We’ve had several chances this weekend to make examples of set plays yet we’ve missed the main ones and Mike Dean’s gone looking for trouble in the Palace game and found it. The one that wasn’t a penalty was given and the two that were penalties were waved away.
Moss misses Meyler mischief

Game: Hull 0 – 1 Manchester United

Ref: Jon Moss

It would be fair to say that referee Jon Moss will have sighed with relief that a frustrated United side was able to overcome the feisty Hull team, that have so far, seen off challenges from the likes of the Champions. And all because of an astonishing lapse of concentration on the part of the referee and his officials.

To top it all off, this was an incident that highlighted that even some replays aren’t enough to prove a player’s innocence or guilt. So perhaps Moss is less to blame than first thought.

The 73rd minute of a positively grim evening game saw United fans baying for blood. As Antonio Valencia whipped in a wicked cross, the ball appeared to strike David Meyler on the right arm. Everyone looked to Moss, expecting the penalty call, yet there was nothing doing. This is where the replays come into play. In the first one shown – a clear face-on version of Meyler’s antics – it appears while the ball does strike his arm, the Northern Irishman had kept it close to his torso to avoid contact.

The second replay wasn’t going to allow us to be fooled however. From the rear view of the incident, it is blindly obvious that Meyler raises his arm towards the ball, all the while leaning his body in the same direction. It should have been a penalty, but if it requires several replays to be sure, maybe Moss should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Grade: B. A case for the introduction of replays if there ever was one.

Mark Halsey’s Verdict

Once again, third game in a row Jon Moss has made a mistake but once again if he’s not in the position to see it then the assistant is. You can CLEARLY see there is movement from the arm to the ball and the assistant hasn’t got involved.

Jon needs to be leading his assistant and to be fair to the assistant he waved for a clear free-kick earlier in the game and Jon waved it away. Are you really going to try and help your referee again later on? He’s lucky he got out of jail with United scoring a late goal but it’s another case of referees’ decision making not being at the right level.
Decision of the Week – Sergio Aguero elbow vs West Ham

Andre Marriner is right there, should the fourth official have had a say too? It was unlike Aguero, I’ve never seen him elbow someone but that doesn’t give him the right to do what he did to Winston Reid. I imagine we’ll see a charge of violent conduct against Aguero and he’ll miss the Manchester derby; if he gets away with it I think there will be a few managers very unhappy. If that had been Diego Costa he’d have been jailed and condemned by now.


Read more from Alex here

Follow Alex on Twitter at @AlexVryzakis and Mark @RefereeHalsey

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