Arsenal’s first goal not a free kick, plus Kompany very lucky in Mark Halsey’s Ref Review

The first weekend of games post the international break threw up some of the biggest and most controversial decisions of the season so far, perhaps the officials were still on their holidays. Either way,’s Mark Halsey is back once again to go over seven of the weekend’s ten games… 

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Mike Dean (Arsenal vs Tottenham) 

It’s difficult when you have these big derby games, you have to set your stall out and the last thing you want is everyone analysing two decisions that have led to a big goal. 

Mike Dean has made the cardinal error of indicating a holding offence when clearly no holding offence took place, it was an excellent challenge and it wasn’t a free-kick. We’ve all been there, when you give those you regret it, but you can’t go back. 

What you then want is nothing to materialise from the resulting free-kick, but the assistant is asleep, he’s not switched on, Shkodran Mustafi is offside. The assistant has to get that right, it’s a dead ball situation and he’s got to see it, but he didn’t pick it up and it becomes a double whammy; it’s not a free-kick and the flag should go up. If it does, we’re not talking about the free-kick decision at all. 

Overall, I thought Dean refereed the game well. I always liken being a referee to being a goalkeeper, you can have a solid game for 87 minutes but one error and everyone’s talking about you.  

The second goal isn’t offside, you can only be offside with parts of the body you can score with. His arm is offside, but that is irrelevant.  


Lee Probert (Bournemouth vs Huddersfield Town) 

Early on in the game, Lee Probert misses a clear reckless challenge from Charlie Daniels on Florent Hadergjonaj. A free-kick should have been given and Daniels should have been cautioned. 

Probert looked indecisive, but Simon Francis can have no complaints about his first caution. He’s denied a promising attack and once you’ve been cautioned, you can’t make a challenge like he did.  

Going back to Probert, he took eight seconds to give that free-kick, that’s a long time in football, but he has finally made the decision, it’s a clear second caution and he’s quite right to send Francis off. 


Anthony Taylor (Crystal Palace vs Everton) 

Only Anthony Taylor can explain why he’s awarded a penalty to Everton in this game. I always say you shouldn’t go looking for trouble but that is what Taylor has done on this occasion. 

I just don’t understand it, he’s in an excellent position and Scott Dann does nothing wrong, if anything Oumar Niasse goes into him rather than the other way around. Taylor will be disappointed, it’s not the sort of decision you want to get wrong ahead of a Champions League game – he takes charge of Anderlecht vs Bayern Munich this week. 

Niasse has now been charged for deceiving the match officials, which is very pleasing. It will be interesting to see Everton’s reaction, I didn’t think the FA would charge him because there was contact. There have been similar occasions this season but this is the first incident to bring charges. 

Charge Niasse, that’s fine. But what about Bernardo Silva against Burnley and Richarlison against Arsenal? Why not charge them too? 

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Graham Scott (Leicester City vs Manchester City) 

Vincent Kompany was a very, very lucky man. There is no doubt that Kompany should have been sent off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the first minute, the third or the 92nd, you have to send the player off. 

Graham Scott was clearly not switched on early in the game. It was a clear denial and Kompany gets away with it. Sometimes it’s difficult, within a second the whole picture charges. Scott might be thinking John Stones is getting back, but when he blows his whistle Stones isn’t in the picture. 

You need to give yourself some time to take it in, I was watching it live and I said it was a red card straight away. I was very surprised when Scott only produced a caution. I’ve praised him this season for his big-match decision-making, but that’s a big error and a game-changing decision.  

The likes of Martin Atkinson or Mike Dean would have sent Kompany off there, not a doubt in my mind. 


Craig Pawson (Manchester United vs Newcastle United) 

Craig Pawson has to see that pull on Romelu Lukaku. It’s a clear penalty and a red card for Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark. He’s also denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity. A top-class assistant would be talking to the referee straight away, but Pawson might have closed him out. We don’t know whether something has gone on between the two, fortunately the poor decision didn’t make a difference to the outcome of the match. 


Andre Marriner (Watford vs West Ham United) 

I’m with Andre Marriner on the handball shouts, neither were deliberate. Law 12 is clear on handball; it has to be deliberate. Neither were arm to ball, they were ball to hand. I back Marriner on these two incidents. 


Lee Mason (Brighton & Hove Albion vs Stoke City) 

Not only has Lee Mason missed a stonewall penalty, he’s missed a clear red card for Glenn Murray’s challenge on Kevin Wimmer too. I knew early on that this game was going to produce a few key match errors. 

Mason missed a clear caution on Ryan Shawcross and he’s failed to stamp his authority on the match from the outset. Players see that and take the law into their own hands, when Murray didn’t get his penalty he got frustrated with Mason and no longer trusts his decision making. He then takes Wimmer out. Mason cautions him but I think he was lucky not to see red.

That penalty call is a bread and butter decision, it was so easy to call and that’s what you want as a referee. I’m amazed he’s looked straight towards the assistant referee, the quality assistants do come in and help the referee but Mason has to give that himself, he wasn’t at the races. He gave a corner and the ball hadn’t even gone out of play. 


You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey 


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