Swansea & Southampton unlucky, plus VAR, handballs & more in Mark Halsey’s Ref Review

After a prolonged break over the winter, youaretheref.com‘s Mark Halsey is back to run the rule over last weekend’s Premier League action, as well as giving us a brief round up of what happened over Christmas, of which there was plenty…


Mike Jones (Chelsea vs Leicester City)

I thought Ben Chilwell was a bit unlucky, he didn’t see the Chelsea player coming and I think Mike could have managed that situation a bit better. It wasn’t to be, Mike saw it differently but he’s a bit unlucky for me.


Michael Oliver (Crystal Palace vs Burnley)

I thought Charlie Taylor was a little bit unlucky as well, I thought Zaha slipped then and went onto the side of the pitch. But, Michael’s  missed a penalty on Sako too, Michael’s been refereeing a lot and you’re not always going to be at your best, he’s got that wrong but he needs to park it and move on.


Graham Scott (Newcastle United vs Swansea City)

It’s a clear handball from Mo Diame, it’s stopping a certain goal so it should have been a red card too for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Graham’s got a great view, he’s looking straight at it but he’s a little too detached from play, he needs to be a little bit closer.


Roger East (Watford vs Southampton)

You want to come through matches unscathed, no key errors. Unfortunately for Roger it seems to follow him around, it’s a clear handball from Doucoure. It shouldn’t happen but I can see why Roger’s missed it, he’s got to be more central in order to pick that up.

David Eaton, the assistant, has to pick that up, he’s got nothing else to look at. It’s a clear, clear handball and it’s disappointing that they’ve both missed it.


Martin Atkinson (West Brom vs Brighton)

Martin’s handled the situation between Jay Rodriguez and Gaetan Bong well, he’s gone and reported to his fourth official what he’s seen and heard and then you make a full report to the FA after the match. After that, it’s in their hands to investigate.


Kevin Friend (Bournemouth vs Arsenal)

There’s a clear penalty for Bournemouth here, Iwobi clearly makes a move towards the ball and it should have been given a penalty. I just wonder if the decision given by Mike Dean a few weeks ago is affecting how referees look at certain incidents.

Kevin was a bit inconsistent throughout the game, I don’t personally think Dan Gosling should have received a second caution and I’m glad he didn’t, but Jack Wilshere then picks a caution up for a challenge not too dissimilar, you have to be consistent.


Andre Marriner (Liverpool vs Manchester City)

Andre’s not going to set the world alight, he hasn’t got the pace of other referees, but what you do get with Andre is his experience and calmness – players like that.

He’s reading and his anticipation of play makes up for his loss of speed and players like his calming influence on the game, he refereed a big game very well.


Christmas/New Year round-up 

It looks like referees are taking handball decisions into their own hands, I didn’t think it was a penalty against Yoshida in the Manchester United game and I don’t think the decision by Mike Dean at West Brom was a penalty either. It does seem like referees are going out and doing their own thing, you don’t know what you’re going to get at the moment.

When VAR comes in you get another chance to look at those, it was used in the Leicester FA Cup game correctly and it worked well. The problem is when do you stop the game? In the Chelsea vs Arsenal league cup game, play has gone on for over a minute and then the referee has gone back to check on the penalty incident. In my opinion, as soon as that happens you need to look at it, once that ball clears that danger zone.

Simulation seems to be getting worse since the new laws came in, I’ve always said it needs a full law change. If a referee sees a clear act of simulation, send him off and it’s a ban straight away. What is and isn’t simulation is difficult, it has to be an obvious error from the referee and you look at Hazard vs Arsenal and then Moses doing the same thing on Maitland-Niles the week after. Even with VAR, can you say either way the referee has made a clear and obvious error?

I don’t think Arsene Wenger can have any complaints about the refereeing in the FA Cup match. The FA need to be tougher with their disciplinary action, there’s a time and a place for a manager to go and speak to a referee after a game. Darren Ferguson goes straight onto the pitch at the weekend, what example does that set? Wait until you’re in the confides of the dressing room, what happens between those four walls stays between those four walls.

Darren was correct in terms of his criticism of the referee, but you can’t go around saying things like he did about the officials. You can think it, but don’t say it.


You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: