Manchester United fortunate, red cards galore and more needed to stamp out diving in Mark Halsey’s Ref Review

Premier League refereeing really sparked into life this week about a quiet period. Three red cards in the 3pm games on Saturday caused all sorts of talking points, plus a late penalty in the big game of the weekend and diving once again becoming a talking point means there’s plenty for ex-referee Mark Halsey to filter through…


Chris Kavanagh (Burnley vs Huddersfield Town)


There was two acts of misconduct in the situation with Laurent Depoitre. One was the clear act of simulation and as per law Chris correctly cautioned the player.

Where I’ve got a problem is that if Chris doesn’t pick that up and gives a penalty, Depoitre could face retrospective action and a two-match ban. Yet if it’s picked up on the day it’s only a caution. If we’re going to rid the game of this disease then the laws of the game need to be changed and stronger action needs to be applied. It’s a red card offence straightaway, in refereeing terms it’s deceiving but he’s cheating his fellow professionals.

I’ve been saying it for a long time in my comments and it’s just re-iterating my feelings. We will not get rid of it until we bring in stronger action on the day for players that clearly deceive the referee.

Aside from that, I’m surprised The FA didn’t look more at Tarkowski’s stamp on Depoitre and I think the player did him a big favour by not making more of it.


Andre Marriner (Leicester City vs Everton)


The first caution for Wes Morgan he can’t have any complaints, he deserved that. I’m only going by isolated incidents on highlights and for me the two other challenges were careless challenges and the first one was probably worse than the one he was sent off for.

His first one after the caution was careless bordering on reckless. Andre is one of our better referees and on this occasion I felt he could have managed it better. When you’re going to send someone off for a second caution it has to be an absolute nailed on reckless challenge. I felt he was lucky because Richarlison has thrown himself in the air holding his knee and he’s not caught him anywhere near his knee. I feel he should have given him a final warning, had a word and I didn’t see that.

Those two challenges on their own for me didn’t warrant another caution but I haven’t seen if anything else happened during the game. I just feel a referee of Andre’s experience could have managed the situation better. Careless challenges are a free-kick only, normally you allow three or four and on the fourth one that’s it.


Mike Dean (Tottenham Hotspur vs Cardiff City)


There’s been a lot of debate about this challenge and everyone’s said he got sent off because it’s cynical. Cynical doesn’t appear in the laws of the game and what Mike has to judge is was that a reckless challenge? A reckless challenge is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to/or consequences to an opponent.

Then he’s got to think was the player using excessive force endangering the player’s safety and the use of brutality, they’re the two criteria. I believe Mike was going to show a caution and got an input from Darren Cann who was looking at it from a different angle. Normally, when you’re going to show a red card you do it straight away and Mike took a long time to issue the red card.

Personally, I didn’t think it met the criteria in Law 12. The FA have upheld the decision and looking at the laws of the game you have to ask why didn’t Cardiff win their appeal? I don’t think Ralls deserves three games for that challenge, you could argue Danny Ings’ challenge the day after was as bad or Sam Vokes’ elbow against Huddersfield.


Jon Moss (Watford vs Bournemouth)


I don’t think you can argue with Kabasele’s first caution but once again we’re talking about cheap second cautions. It’s a trip. It’s not denying a goal scoring opportunity and I think Simon Francis has told him he’s already been cautioned. Once again, I just thought it was a cheap, cheap, cheap caution.

It was a careless challenge. Careless is when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge, no disciplinary action is needed. That was that challenge so why are we sending someone off? It’s a clear penalty and that’s a sufficient punishment.


Anthony Taylor (Manchester United vs Newcastle United)

Again, cautions. Cheap cautions and poor man management. Newcastle are 2-0 up and the player is looking to take a quick free-kick and he goes and cautions him. Just manage the game, manage the players, it just does my head in.

A referee of his experience in the elite group of UEFA referees is not looking at a free-kick that could lead to a penalty. He’s looking for other offences but what about the wall? He wasn’t being pro-active and his positioning is poor, you can’t rely on your assistant from that far away. He’s in a totally poor position, it was a key moment and a chance for Newcastle to go 3-0 up.

He switched off and a man of his experience shouldn’t be missing those things. The Manchester United penalty appeal was totally different, there’s a difference. It has to be a deliberate act and that’s what Ashley Young did. Irrespective of where your arms are, it doesn’t necessarily mean an offence has been given and the Newcastle player had his arm down by his side.


Craig Pawson (Southampton vs Chelsea)


We talk about Craig a lot and I think he’s got to be more consistent. I just think sometimes he’s not reading the game and anticipating play.

There was a lot of talk about Danny Ings’ challenge and you can say it was worse than the Joe Ralls challenge but I think he just about got it right. It’s a late but I think Craig got that one right. What lets Craig down is his general movement, he’s too lethargic and his reading of the play is not what it should be.


Martin Atkinson (Liverpool vs Manchester City)


Martin refereed the game very well. He showed his experience, managed the game well and showed no cheap cautions. He stamped his authority when needed and for the big decision he was there and he was spot on.

It was a trip and a penalty was a sufficient punishment, that’s what Jon Moss should have done.


You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey

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