Tottenham got lucky, Arsenal should have had a penalty and does the simulation law need looking at in Mark Halsey’s Ref Review

The weekend threw up several controversial calls, including a couple of big late decisions for Andre Marriner, whilst Jon Moss found himself apologising for not awarding a penalty to Bournemouth against Southampton, although the decision appears to have split opinion.

There’s also more talk about what does and doesn’t constitute diving and simulation, so’s Mark Halsey has a busy week sifting through the decisions as the stakes for each game get higher and higher…

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Chelsea vs Newcastle United (Kevin Friend)

In my opinion I thought Chelsea were unlucky not to have a penalty early on when Karl Darlow comes through the back of Alvaro Morata.

Newcastle got away with one there, but it didn’t make a huge amount of difference to the game. Kevin will look at that and think he could have given a penalty, but there’s also no complaint about the eventual penalty he did give against Matt Ritchie.


Brighton & Hove Albion vs Liverpool (Graham Scott)

I think you can argue Graham has given a weak penalty to Brighton, he’s seen the hands on the back but you’ve seen them given and you’ve seen them not given.

Whether it’s a soft penalty or a strong penalty, what’s the difference? But I don’t think anyone would have complained if he hadn’t give anything there.

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Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur (Martin Atkinson)

I thought Watford were very unlucky not to get a penalty in the first half when Ben Davies took out Richarlison with his upper body. Also, if he gives the penalty he has to send Davies off for a denying a goal scoring opportunity, so maybe if he wasn’t sure he’s decided not to give it because he knows he has to send him off.

I’ve also heard a lot of people saying the red card for Davinson Sanchez was harsh, but what Martin has got to decide is was it reckless use of the arm or was it violent conduct? He’s pushed his arm into his face and I would go with Martin on that one, I think he got that right but the penalty wrong.

The handball against Eric Dier is a penalty too, Dier knows exactly what he’s doing and Martin is in a great position to see it. Watford have been hard done by because they should possibly have had two penalties.


Arsenal vs Manchester United (Andre Marriner)

This game was a showcase for why the Premier League is shown all around the world, it was an enthralling game and one of the best Premier League games I’ve seen in a long, long time.

The players behaviour up to the red card was exceptional, but players have a duty of care to one another and my own personal opinion is Paul Pogba could have pulled out of that challenge.

He doesn’t mean to stamp on Bellerin, but that’s not in the laws of the game. Andre doesn’t blow straight away and I don’t think he’s seen that incident in its full entirety, I think he’s had a shout from his assistant Simon Beck or fourth official Anthony Taylor.

It’s an act of serious foul play and Andre was correct in sending Pogba off for that offence. Perhaps Andre thought in the last 15 minutes that things were going so well for him and maybe he’s switched off for the Arsenal penalty appeal, but Simon Beck should be bailing him out there and I don’t know why he hasn’t.

It’s Andre’s shout to give that penalty on Danny Welbeck, but neither of them have seen it or given it.

I think he’s got the caution for Koscielny right, you have to take into account the direction of the play, direction of the ball, where the offence takes place on the field of play and number of defenders around the incident.

You can clearly see the ball is going away from goal, Lukaku isn’t in direct line with the goal and Bellerin is coming around to cover, so I think Andre has got that absolutely spot on.

Bournemouth vs Southampton (Jon Moss)

Jon has had a really good season and as I just said, things are going so well for you that things then crop up and you make a poor decision.

What I can’t understand is how Jon thinks its simulation. When a defender goes to ground you run the risk and he’s taken Adam Smith out, for Jon to see that as simulation amazed me.

But what really annoys me about it is that we’ve brought in these new rules on simulation which everybody wanted, but if a referee comes out and apologises then the FA should rescind the caution, because Smith now misses Saturday’s match because it was his fifth yellow card.

Smith didn’t deserve a caution, so he shouldn’t miss Saturday’s game. He’s expecting the challenge to come in, that’s why he’s gone down early, but it’s still a penalty all day long.

He’s anticipating contact, all the players do it because he knows he’s about to be wiped out. Maybe he could have just let the challenge come in and it makes it easier for the referee, but there’s no daylight between the players. If you don’t think it’s a penalty, just play on and don’t go looking for trouble.

It’s not simulation, if Jon doesn’t think it’s a penalty just play on.


Manchester City vs West Ham United (Mike Dean)

Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph won’t be banned for acts of simulation in this game, the panel will only sit down after a game if the player(s) in question have gained from that situation and deceived the referee.

I.e. a penalty kick or if they’ve got somebody sent off. Basically, what they’re saying is it’s ok as long as you don’t gain from the situation. Retrospective action will only be taken if the alleged act leads to a penalty or a player receiving a straight red card or a red card for two cautions – that’s the only time.

The other issue is if a player wins a penalty and the teams wins 1-0 through an act of simulation, that player is suspended for the next two games but he’s not punished for the game where he’s simulated and his team gain three points.

You can say that perhaps every act of simulation should be looked and I think a lot of people would agree with that idea. Perhaps they need to revisit the criteria on simulation


You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey

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