Ref Review: Arsenal dealt a lucky hand

The second weekend in February didn’t throw up the worst refereeing we’ve seen this season as just three Premier League officials come under‘s Mark Halsey’s microscope this week…


Mark Clattenburg (Arsenal vs Hull City)

In my opinion the first goal should have been disallowed but obviously Mark’s view of the incident is obscured so it’s difficult for him to see that. Jake Collin has to come in and give Mark some help there, the Hull players appealed straight away so the alarm bells are ringing for Mark straight away.

He goes across to communicate with Jake and for me he has the best view in the house. He doesn’t have to worry about offside, he’s looking straight across and you can clearly see the ball makes contact with Sanchez’s arm. You can see by his body language he’s saying it’s not handball so Mark has to go with his colleague because clearly Mark hasn’t seen it.

PGMOL say you are not allowed to watch TV before, after or at half-time in the dressing room so maybe someone has said to Mark in the tunnel that it’s handball. Mark may just have apologised at the time without seeing it because you shouldn’t be looking at the incident again at half-time. It happens, I remember giving a penalty to Manchester United at Old Trafford and Phil Neville for Everton has had a right go at me. But then in the second half he came and apologised after seeing a replay – so it does happen.

On Kieran Gibbs, when I was watching the game live I thought there was an element of doubt and believed Mark was right to only issue a caution. As soon as the Hull player controls the ball, would he have regained control of it given the direction he was running? There’s doubt there and if you have any doubt whatsoever you don’t send players off.

The final handball has seen the assistant flag straight away and once he’s done that Mark knows he’s got to send him off straight away. He’s no other choice so out of the three decisions I think Mark and the officials have got two out of three correct.


Michael Oliver (West Ham United vs West Brom)

Looking at West Brom’s first goal, the easiest thing to do for everyone is to just give a free-kick. Nobody would have complained if Michael had disallowed it but obviously he didn’t see it that way, I thought it was a free-kick to West Ham.

Managers are showing their emotions and their frustrations more now, each week we’re seeing them showing their frustrations at continuous wrong decisions at big moments in games. I don’t condone what Bilic did but sometimes referees are not helping themselves.

I think Slaven will be disappointed with his actions, it’s not a good advert for Premier League football when we’re seeing this consistently now with managers.


Neil Swarbrick (Bournemouth vs Manchester City)

It was a good spot to disallow the Bournemouth goal but it wasn’t Neil’s decision. He wasn’t even looking at the incident but when the ball went in he got a shout from Andre Marriner the fourth official.

But it doesn’t matter how you get to the decision or how long it takes as long as you come to the right decision so that’s good teamwork because one of his colleagues has bailed him out. If he hadn’t disallowed it we’d have seen Pep Guardiola going ballistic!


You can follow Mark at @RefereeHalsey

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