Ref Review: Manchester United struck lucky against Liverpool, City may have been a bit unlucky

After a brief break for the FA Cup, Mark Halsey from is back to take a look at the weekend’s action including ‘Merseyside vs Manchester’. Besides that, there were penalty decisions to analyse at Hull, Swansea and Watford where Martin Atkinson continued his good form…


MARTIN ATKINSON (Hull City vs Bournemouth)

Martin’s in a good period right now, he had a tough start to the season but he managed the Tottenham vs Chelsea really well and he’s taken that confidence into this match.

There’s no argument about the penalty, he’s in a great position to give it and it’s a stick-on penalty for Bournemouth – no complaints. Martin’s still one of our few elite referees so it’s good to see at least somebody who’s in good form at the moment.


MIKE JONES  (Swansea City vs Arsenal)

I have to admit when I first saw this one I thought it was a penalty, that’s how tough the decision was but I think Mike has done the right thing in not awarding it. When you see a replay, you can see he’s instigated the contact but I do think Mike has had to guess what to do but as I always say, it’s better not to give it if you’re not 100% so we can give Mike a bit of credit on that one.


JON MOSS (Watford vs Middlesbrough)

I don’t think it’s a penalty, there’s a bit of grappling going on from both of them but the Watford player has gone down a bit too easy, you’re unlikely to ever get a penalty in that situation unless it’s absolutely blatant.

The officials have got the offside goal just about right, Stuani’s just stood in an offside position when the ball is headed on and I think Jon has handled the scuffle at the end in the right manner too. Unless there’s something really serious going on – like in the City vs Chelsea match – it’s best to just handle it with cautions rather than red cards.


MARK CLATTENBURG (Everton vs Manchester City)

This is another really tough decision for Mark and another that looks more nailed on live than it does when you’ve had a few replays. You can look at four or five replays to decide whether there’s enough contact and it’s made it really tough for Mark.

You’ve also got Leighton Baines sliding right in behind to knock the ball away which adds to the confusion because it appears the ball has been won. It’s one of those that you won’t blame a referee for not giving but also you’d have no argument if you did give it.


MICHAEL OLIVER (Manchester United vs Liverpool)

There’s no argument about this penalty, I’m not sure what Paul Pogba is doing to be honest. It’s a clear case of arm to ball and I think he’s just lost his bearings and pushed the ball away. Pogba’s also a bit lucky that Michael Oliver hasn’t spotted his wrestling incident with Jordan Henderson a few minutes later.

In the second half, Michael’s probably wrong not to caution Wayne Rooney for the foul on James Milner. Maybe he thought back to the incident in which he sent Simon Francis off against Arsenal but Rooney should have picked up a yellow card for that but it’s certainly not a red card.

Michael’s correct to caution both Ander Herrera and Roberto Firmino but he should have been in there straight away awarding the free-kick to Liverpool. He’s taken a couple of seconds which has given Firmino a chance to retaliate, it would have been a red card had Firmino pushed him above the chest.

I’m not sure what the assistant referee is doing for the goal, he’s just lost concentration at the throw in, he’s following the play instead of the defensive line and it’s cost Liverpool because Antonio Valencia’s cross has led to Manchester United’s equaliser.


You can follow Mark at @RefereeHalsey

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