Ref Review: Mark Halsey torn by Manchester United’s penalty woes, Arsenal calls were 50/50

Mark Halsey from looks at the controversial reprimand of Jose Mourinho after a denied penalty, several failed opportunities at Sunderland, and a questionable decision at White Hart Lane. The former professional referee dives deeper into the refereeing performances in the Premier League, as head-to-head contact at West Brom and foul play against Bournemouth leaves Mark puzzled.


Game: Manchester United 0 – 0 Burnley

Ref: Mark Clattenburg 

From what I saw on TV, the challenge from Flanagan is very difficult to make your mind up on. I still can’t decide, no matter how times I’ve viewed it. Was it in or was it out? It was inconclusive.

I have to say there has to be an element of doubt on whether there was any contact or if the contact was minimal and as a referee, if you’re not sure you just don’t give it. On Match of the Day you’ve got Alan Shearer saying it is a penalty and Danny Murphy saying it’s not a penalty. It’s a very difficult decision so ultimately, I think you have to back Clattenburg’s decision.

Jose Mourinho clearly doesn’t see it that way and he’s got history with Clattenburg for the penalty he didn’t give United in the Manchester derby. Before that Jose and Clattenburg have got on well but when emotions come into it, Jose went ballistic in the tunnel at half-time.

It takes a lot for Clattenburg to send someone to the stands; Jose must have used very abusive and insulting language. In real time the red card looked like a reckless challenge but Clattenburg could have managed that a little better. Clearly Herrera slips into the player, so looking at it he can count himself unfortunate to pick up a second caution. Whilst I think he’s got the penalty decision correct, the second momentous decision could have been better.


Game: Sunderland 1 – 4 Arsenal

Ref: Martin Atkinson 

He’s got it horribly wrong again hasn’t he?

Firstly, you’ve got the Kone foul on Alexis Sanchez; if he doesn’t pull him back then he falls forward. He’s clearly pulled him back and it’s the third week running that Atkinson has made a key match error. Just look back to Crystal Palace versus West Ham and Chelsea versus Manchester United.

Atkinson is a good referee but sometimes referees need to be taken out of the limelight. Give them a game that won’t be on TV or a lower league match to give them a break. Atkinson’s got the Sunderland penalty right but Petr Cech didn’t make a genuine attempt to play the ball. It should be a red card but you can back the referee there because Watmore is going away from goal with a defender running back.

It was a goal scoring opportunity so it would have been a red card as Cech didn’t make an attempt to play the ball.


Game: Crystal Palace 2 – 4 Liverpool

Ref: Andre Marriner

I’ve praised him a lot in recent weeks and I’m going to praise him again because I thought Andre Marriner was absolutely outstanding.

Marriner had a tough spell with the Aguero incident against West Ham and for not giving Gary Cahill a free-kick against Swansea. But since then he’s been excellent. There were four big key decisions in that game and he got them all right.

There were coming together and incidents but Marriner’s recognition of fouls and non-fouls was exemplary. He gave the game a chance to flow and won respect from the players with his decision making. Everyone was talking about what a pulsating game it was and Marriner contributed to that.


Game: Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 1 Leicester City

Ref: Bobby Madley

Madley was correct for not awarding the penalty against Dele Alli but in my opinion Spurs’ penalty was incorrect.

There was absolutely minimal contact from Robert Huth, but even before that you can see Janssen clearly pulls Huth’s shirt, and it should be a free-kick to Leicester.

I think it’s a tough decision but no-one would have complained had Madley not given that penalty.


Game: West Brom 0 – 4 Manchester City

Ref: Lee Mason 

There was an incident involving Nolito and Craig Dawson, a head-to-head contact which Nolito should have been sent off for. A case of violent conduct and Lee Mason chose to give him a yellow card.

He can consider himself very lucky because it’s nailed on and he’s done it before, you can even see Aguero going up to him and trying to tell him to calm down.


Game: Middlesbrough 0 – 2 Bournemouth

Ref: Stuart Attwell 

There was a similar incident when the German goalkeeper Schumacher came out and flattened the French striker – it was unbelievable.

Victor Valdes should have been sent off for serious foul play and it should have been a penalty for Bournemouth. I can’t understand how Match of the Day didn’t show that, it’s a penalty and red card all day long. He’s taken him out by his head!


Follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey


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