Arsenal deserved penalty, Manchester City red card wrong, Mark Halsey’s Ref Review

The second round of Premier League games had just as much intensity as the opening round, and Mark Halsey gives his thoughts on the red cards given, the penalty not given, and all the inconsistencies in between.


Swansea vs Manchester United – Jon Moss

I thought Moss did well to be fair. The first challenge was reckless and deserves to be cautioned, almost straight after he’s committed another offence but it was just a careless challenge.

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Not every careless challenge is a cautionable offence, I thought Moss showed mental toughness because the crowd and Swansea players were baying for a yellow card, but he held his own.

Southampton vs West Ham – Lee Mason

I think Mason is suffering from a lack of confidence, at this level you need to be refereeing every week and unfortunately, he isn’t one of these referees who are first on the list.

That’s why we’re seeing very inconsistent decisions from Mason. People will say he’s not good enough for that level, and maybe he’s not, but is that his fault? Is it down to the way he’s coached and managed? Sometimes referees need a little bit of love and I’m not sure the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) know how to give that.

You look at Marko Arnautovic’s red card, a Southampton player has left an elbow in before that and it’s vital as a referee you pick those up. Players lose trust and respect in your decision making, they take it into their own hands by dishing out their own retribution. I don’t think Mason is ever aware of what’s going on around him and that’s down to his coaching.

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Arnautovic does it right in front of the referee so he can’t have any complaints, but you have to ask did Mason create that sending off by missing the earlier incident? If players don’t get the protection they feel they deserve, they’ll take the law into their own hands.

We discussed Gary Cahill last week, which I said wasn’t a sending off, but Mark Noble’s challenge fits the careless and reckless criteria. I cannot understand why Mason has given the free-kick to West Ham, Noble comes in with an awful challenge and they’re the challenges we want to see players sent off for.

I thought the second Southampton penalty was very soft, if you’re giving those you’ll be giving six or seven a game. There wouldn’t have been any complaints if he hadn’t given anything, but Mason thinks it’s a penalty and that’s his opinion.

Burnley vs West Brom – Martin Atkinson

The problem we’ve got is telling the difference now between just reckless and violent conduct. If it’s reckless, it’s a caution, if it’s violent conduct then it’s a red. It’s hard to distinguish between the two but the top referees do manage to differentiate.

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You can see where West Brom are coming from with the appeal but it was never going to get overturned for that.

Bournemouth vs Watford – Roger East

If the referee picks up what Harry Arter said then he’s entitled to stop the game and award an indirect free-kick. If you’ve heard it, a referee would know which player it is, it’s happened to me in the past.

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That was a blatant example, but maybe Nathaniel Chalobah should have just leathered it. But he could have given an indirect free-kick, it’s unsportsmanship behaviour.

Stoke vs Arsenal – Andre Marriner

I watched this game live and I think the Hector Bellerin appeal in real time looked like it could be a penalty. When a player is in front of the defender, why is he going to go down? When you see it back, it’s a clear penalty so Stoke have got away with one.

I didn’t think the Danny Welbeck one was a penalty, he’s side-by-side with two players but I didn’t think it was a penalty. You can slow things down and see all sorts of things but in real time I think Marriner has got it right.

On the offside goal, in law, Simon Beck has got it absolutely spot on. But nobody would have complained and nobody would have criticised if it had given it. But I’d love to know how he came to that opinion, I can only imagine he’s guessed.

But he’s got lucky and guessed it right, it’s half a boot, but you have to praise him because he’s got it right.

Tottenham vs Chelsea – Anthony Taylor

I thought it was an excellent game and Taylor contributed to that, I thought he was outstanding. They trusted him, they accepted his decision making because his recognition of careless and reckless and reckless with excessive force endangering the player’s safety with brutality was outstanding.

Dier’s was a stonewall yellow card, he had that bit of distance and gave himself time to make the decision. Jan Vertonghen got a little bit of a shove into the player but once again, they’re the challenges that are reckless, they’re not reckless with excessive force endangering the player’s safety with brutality.

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He got them right and that got players on side and I thought he was outstanding. What people have to understand is that not every challenge is a yellow card and every reckless challenge isn’t a red card. It’s there in law, a red card has to be reckless with excessive force endangering the player’s safety with brutality.

I didn’t see either of those challenges, or Cahill’s last week, in that category.

Manchester City vs Everton – Bobby Madley

Perhaps Madley is suffering from second/third season syndrome. Maybe he thinks he’s nailed it and he’s too relaxed or not focussed on what’s going on. I’ve refereed Man City vs Everton many times and it’s a tough, tough game to referee.

Kyle Walker’s first caution you can’t argue with but what’s he seen on the second one? On the camera angles shown on TV, I think Bobby has gone on player reaction and guessed, and you cannot do that. This is where this diving panel comes in, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has deceived the referee and exaggerated contact. It’s a slight coming together and Bobby’s got it absolutely wrong, yet Walker is now going to miss the next game.

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They’ve deemed it not one for the panel to look at but for me they should be looking at that, overturning the caution and giving Calvert-Lewin a two-game suspension. That’s worse than diving, getting a fellow professional sent off where hardly any contact is made.

I can understand the Sergio Aguero incident with Morgan Schneiderlin, the pace of the game was quick and it may look a second caution in real time. He’s clearly played the ball but with the pace he’s gone in, I can understand why he’s produced the second caution, even though it’s wrong.

You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey

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