Chelsea unlucky but Arsenal can have zero complaints in Mark Halsey’s Ref Review

Two of the biggest teams and managers went head-to-head in the Premier League last weekend and was followed by the first major domestic cup final of the season. So of course we need’s Mark Halsey to talk us through a busy weekend of refereeing action…


Bobby Madley (Burnley vs Southampton)

Bobby’s suffering, I feel for Bobby at the moment because he was one of the referees I thought deserved to get on the Select Group 1 list but he’s suffering from a severe lack of confidence at the moment. Someone needs to put an arm around him because I like Bobby and the way he engages the players, he has a laugh and a joke with them.

But you’ve got to be getting the big decisions correct and it’s let him down a lot this season. Sean Dyche thinks Burnley should have had a penalty but I tend to think when players are side-by-side and they go down it’s not a penalty, you air on the side of caution and I wouldn’t criticise Bobby for not giving that.

He got in the way of a Burnley player before the equaliser and it’s about reading the game and not invading on a player’s space. I remember refereeing an FA Cup match between Arsenal and Cardiff and a clearance hit me, bounced to an Arsenal player and they scored.

In the spirit of the game I disallowed the goal and I got criticised by my assessor for being wrong in law but it didn’t make much difference to the outcome of the game and nobody complained about the decision. Bobby just needs to read the game a bit better.


Kevin Friend (Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur)

I’ve seen Kevin referee better. His recognition of careless and reckless wasn’t what it should be and I think Spurs should have had a penalty within the first ten minutes when Hennessey brings down Ben Davies. Only Kevin can tell us why he didn’t think it was a penalty because I think everyone else did straight away.

I’ve been quite strong on Dele Alli recently and there’s going to be occasions now where he’s deserving of a penalty but he doesn’t get it because of his past simulations. I thought the first one with Van Aanholt was a penalty because he’s got Alli in the back of the leg, but his reputation goes before him now and referees don’t want to be caught out by him.

The next one with Hennessey I think he’s already going down, it’s not a penalty and I don’t think he was looking for one either.


Martin Atkinson (Manchester United vs Chelsea)

Martin gets these games and you can see why. He’s experienced, the players like him and they trust him. He makes the right decisions, although the Chelsea goal disallowed wasn’t offside, but that’s on the assistant referee and not Martin himself.

To be fair the players behaved themselves and Martin refereed very well overall. The first Manchester United goal provided a difficult situation with a Chelsea player picking up a head injury and I think the player helped Martin a lot in that situation. You tend to blow straight away for a head injury but he’s jumped straight back up.

He should have been a bit more aware when Chelsea took a quick free-kick but you do tend to let a free-kick go when a team takes it further back rather than if they take it further forward.


Craig Pawson (Arsenal vs Manchester City)


I thought it was one of Craig’s best performances this season, you can only referee what’s in front of you but I still stand by what I said last week about other referees being more deserving of the game due to their consistent performances. But he controlled the game very well and to be honest it wasn’t a difficult game, Arsenal didn’t show up.

Arsenal are looking for a foul on the first goal but I’m sorry that’s not a free-kick for me, the defender has to be much stronger there. The second goal Sane makes no attempt to play the ball whatsoever, the goalkeeper can see it because he’s already diving the other way and Sane isn’t in his line of sight. It was reviewed by VAR and obviously Neil Swarbrick came to the same conclusion I did.

On Monreal, I always say don’t go looking for trouble. Just because someone goes down it doesn’t mean it’s always a caution for simulation and I think Monreal has tried to make the most of a small amount of contact.


You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey

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