Praise for Pawson’s handling of Manchester United vs Liverpool in Mark Halsey’s Ref Review

Two of the biggest teams and managers went head-to-head in the Premier League this weekend and there was plenty more drama both on and off the field in the battle at the bottom. We call on’s Mark Halsey to talk us through another busy weekend of refereeing action…


Craig Pawson (Manchester United vs Liverpool)

I’ve been critical of Craig at times this season but to be fair you’ve got to praise him. It was an excellent game and you have to praise the players for the way they conducted themselves.

Craig refereed the game in such a way that he let it flow and he let it breathe, he set his tolerance levels high and he picked up all the small fouls he needed to pick up to ensure the players respected his decision making.

A lot of people were saying Rashford could have been sent off but I disagree. The first caution was spot on, it was a reckless challenge and there was a little careless challenge on Alexander-Arnold which I don’t think was a caution. Then people mention his celebration but he did nothing wrong in law, he didn’t climb into the stand or endanger the safety or security of the fans and I thought Craig showed a lot of common sense.

There were three penalty shouts for Liverpool, the handball from Valencia he’s trying to get his arm out of the way, it was ball to arm. There was possibly a holding offence by Young on Salah but I thought there was nothing in that and I my first thoughts on the Fellaini/Mane clash was it didn’t even enter my head it was a penalty, on a replay you can see there is contact and some would say yes but for me it wasn’t nailed on. I would agree with Craig on all the decisions.

If I had one criticism it’s his movement and positioning hasn’t approved, he moves quite slowly around the pitch so he can improve on that then it will enhance his performance immensely.

It was pleasing to me to see Martin Atkinson bring Craig over to speak to Jurgen Klopp. It’s happened so many times this season so it was good to see Craig give him a final warning.


Roger East (Everton vs Brighton & Hove Albion)

I thought it was an excellent decision from Roger to send Knockaert off. It could have been a serious injury for Baines if he hadn’t seen it coming and got out of the way. Knockaert lost his discipline again and he’s got a lot of work to do to calm down because he won’t get away with that in the Premier League.


Michael Oliver (Huddersfield Town vs Swansea City)

I’ve had a lot of people tweet me about the Ayew/Hogg challenge. They’ve both gone in for a 50/50, Ayew’s sliding along the ground but the reason he’s been sent off is because of the high follow through on the knee area.

Michael’s taken his time and in my opinion he’s come to the correct decision because of the height of the challenge. If it was lower down I don’t think Michael would have done anything.


Lee Mason (West Ham United vs Burnley)

I’ve been constructively critical of Lee this season and he had a difficult situation to handle on Saturday. It’s a situation I found myself in a couple of times during my career and it’s about assessing the danger to the players and the match officials.

When there’s only a couple of offenders you tend to let the security and the police deal with it. I do think West Ham should have had a penalty for handball by Aaron Lennon and Burnley had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside, but that one’s not down to Lee.


Martin Atkinson (Arsenal vs Watford)

Martin’s always a solid performer but I do think Arsenal should have had a penalty late for a late foul on Mkhitaryan. It was late in the game and had no bearing on the game but I think Martin missed that one.

No complaints with the Watford penalty, he got that spot on.


Mike Dean (Bournemouth vs Tottenham Hotspur)

The disallowed goal is one of those which will spark opinions, you’ve seen them given and you’ve seen them not given. I think in all probability he’s got it right but I had some issues with the Tottenham third goal.

All the Bournemouth players are in the box but Son is stood in front of the ball and Mike Dean does nothing about it. Because of that Francis can’t cross the ball in so he takes it short, they lose the ball and Son’s away because all the Bournemouth players are still in the other box. I think Mike contributed to Tottenham’s third goal by not getting Son back the required distance. That’s basic refereeing.


Jon Moss (Stoke City vs Manchester City)

I don’t think it’s a red card for De Bruyne for the stamp on the Stoke goalkeeper. He’s on the stretch and going for the ball and can’t move his foot out of the way when the ball is cleared. It’s an unfortunate collision but there not a lot he could do about it.


You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey

3 Comments on Praise for Pawson’s handling of Manchester United vs Liverpool in Mark Halsey’s Ref Review

  1. This from one of the worst refs ever to grace a football pitch. Pawson was biased even before kick off in the fact he’s from Manchester.

  2. Pawson is from Sheffield. Liverpool fans edited his Wikipedia profile during the game to look like he was from Manchester.

  3. By the way, I totally agree with Mark Halsey – Pawson did have a very good game.

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