As we crawl towards the end of another Premier League season, simulation and diving took centre stage last weekend with several dubious penalties awarded on Sunday afternoon. Once again, youaretheref.com‘s Mark Halsey is here to lend his expert eye on all the weekend’s action plus the Manchester and Madrid derbies…
Bobby Madley (Crystal Palace vs Burnley)
There was two big decisions here, first half Zaha was through and given offside but he was clearly on. Bobby has to go with the assistant but the flag should have stayed down and Tom Heaton would have been sent off.
In the second half it’s a clear penalty, Crystal Palace can feel hard done by. Bobby’s made one or two errors in this last few games, maybe he’s getting a little bit tired after a long, hard season. He’s learning all the time but maybe he just needs taking out of the firing line now.
Mike Dean (Southampton vs Hull City)
I thought it was a penalty, what a silly thing to do at the end of the game. Match of the Day pundits said they didn’t think it was a penalty, let’s not look at Mike Dean, let’s look at the Hull City player for giving the penalty away.
It’s a challenge you shouldn’t be making at that stage of the game when you’re fighting for your lives.
Neil Swarbrick (Manchester United vs Swansea City)
In real time and at pace it would have been very, very difficult for Neil to see if there’s any contact, it took him several seconds which means he’s in doubt and if he’s in doubt he’s guessed at the decision.
You cannot guess at big game decisions because nine times out of ten you’re going to be wrong, replays showed Fabianski took his hands away and Rashford just went down.
Kevin Friend (Middlesbrough vs Manchester City)
This is a far easier decision to give because Kevin is in such a good position. Sane has thrown himself into the player, he’s initiated contact and it’s clear, clear simulation.
A lot of referees are suffering from a severe lack of confidence in their own decision making, I like Kevin and that wasn’t a difficult decision. As a referee, when players react like that and surround you in that matter you do wonder if you’ve got it right. When Kevin gets home and sees the replays he’ll be distraught, he’ll be very disappointed in himself.
Kevin’s missed Fernandinho’s elbow, I’m amazed he wasn’t sent off and he’s got away with it. Once again, more inconsistency from the FA in their decisions.
Michael Oliver (Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal)
A player has got the right to go down if there’s contact, we look at Coutinho the other week, he was fouled and stumbled but didn’t get a penalty. People said it was a penalty, you can’t criticise Harry Kane for going down when there’s a little contact when the same people are saying Coutinho should have had a penalty the week before – you can’t have it both ways.
It’s a fantastic decision from Michael Olivier, he was in a great position and I thought he had an overall really strong match.
Craig Pawson (Watford vs Liverpool)
After all the talk about diving and simulation on Sunday, Lucas goes and does it on Monday night too. Craig’s got that spot on but I think he needs to look at his positioning and movement, there weren’t really any challenges in the game so referees should be able to control a game like that.
Diving now is a disease in the game and we’ve got to stamp it out, these players have examples to set to youngsters and they’ll be going and doing the same thing down the park on a Sunday morning.
The FA have to introduce a panel that sits down and looks at all cases of simulation, anyone found guilty should have to serve a two-match suspension. If you do it again, double the ban.
Martin Atkinson (Manchester City vs Manchester United & Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid)
These games are difficult to referee, they throw up more big match incidents than any other game, it’s just the nature of the beast. I thought in the first half of the Manchester derby he was a bit inconsistent with his recognition of fouls but he was far, far better in the second half.
I don’t understand what Fellaini is doing, perhaps Martin should have slowed it down and not let the free-kick be taken as quick but overall I thought he controlled the game reasonably well. He had no option but to send Fellaini off, Aguero started it and maybe he should have been cautioned for adopting an aggressive attitude towards Fellaini.
I thought Martin had a super game in the Madrid derby, he owned the game and his team made a great decision not to flag Ronaldo’s first goal offside. This is another tough, tough game but Martin showed all his experience to control it. It never came across to me that there was ever a stonewall second caution he should have shown to anyone, nobody is talking about Martin after that and that’s all you want as a referee.
You can follow Mark on Twitter @RefereeHalsey