After a few weeks away, Mark Halsey is back to look over some of the biggest refereeing decisions from last weekend and other talking points from earlier in December as we had into the busiest and most festive part of the Premier League season…

 

Michael Oliver (Crystal Palace vs Leicester City)

I don’t think you can argue with the Leicester goal being disallowed. Vardy has definitely pushed the goalkeeper so I don’t think there can be any arguments whatsoever with disallowing the goal and giving the free-kick to Crystal Palace.

 

Andy Madley (Watford vs Cardiff City)

You can understand Neil [Warnock’s] frustrations in being given a referee who they’re trying to give experience to. Cardiff are fighting for their lives and Neil sees it as why should Cardiff get the new referees?

Had he been promoted at the start of the season like I said he should have done he’d be more experienced now. He was called down to London in the summer for an interview to be promoted to Select Group 1 alongside Simon Hooper and David Coote and in my opinion he’s better than those two put together.

I don’t understand why he wasn’t promoted then, he’s a very good referee. He recently did the Sheffield derby and he refereed it superbly well. If you look at his performance at the weekend, it didn’t cost Cardiff City but you can understand his frustrations.

 

Stuart Attwell (Brighton vs Chelsea)

If you have any doubts as a referee you don’t take any risks and we saw last week when Yedlin was sent off for a foul on Jota, there was doubt there and if there’s any doubt you don’t send the player off.

People say Alonso was the last man but the last man doesn’t come into it in law. I don’t think you can criticise Stuart for not sending him off on this occasion.

 

Martin Atkinson (Liverpool vs Manchester United)

I thought Martin refereed the game excellently. He wasn’t fussy, he let the game flow and I think that’s what Liverpool wanted rather than Man United but the behaviour of the players was excellent. All in all, there wasn’t a lot to talk about regarding big decisions in the game.

 

Damir Skomina (Liverpool vs Napoli)

On the Van Dijk challenge, they’re very difficult in real time and I don’t think he even got cautioned. The referee on that occasion didn’t seem it a reckless challenge, it all depends on the referee because they all interpretate things differently and other referees would have sent Van Dijk off for that.

It infuriates the fans when it comes to consistency on recognising challenges and in games I’ve refereed I’ve been there. You see players follow through and sometimes it’s a poor challenges and sometimes it’s a player blocking the ball, it’s about interpretating it in the right manner.

 

Mike Dean (Newcastle United vs Wolves)

Every manager is going to be unhappy when decisions don’t go their way. Benitez is calling for VAR immediately but don’t forget it’s the clubs themselves that didn’t want it this season so you can’t blame that.

Yedlin was sent off and I do have a bit of sympathy there because Jota’s heavy touch makes you wonder if it meets the criteria of Law 12 and in my opinion there was doubt there. Mike Dean obviously had no doubt but I don’t think Jota would have regained control of the ball, you can’t overly criticise Mike but I think there’s enough doubt there for Mike only to caution Yedlin.

On Newcastle’s penalty appeal, I think they were very unlucky and Mike was in a fantastic position. He just didn’t recognise the intensity in the elbow from Boly. He clearly looks at his opponent and swings his elbow back into his face, Wolves were very lucky on this occasion and had VAR been in operation I think there would have been a red card and a penalty.

 

Darren England (West Brom vs Aston Villa)

As match officials in that scenario one of you must see that handball incident. Darren has to get himself in a good position but the assistant referee has a great view, he’s got the best seat in the house to pick that up.

He’s got to be helping Darren there. Darren should be seeing it himself but from the assistant’s angle it was blatant, you have to pick that up.

 

Mike Dean (Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur)

 

It was an excellent game and Mike refereed it very well but I think Vertongthen’s first caution could have been managed a little bit better. A penalty for me would have been a sufficient punishment, just give the penalty and get on with it.

Looking at the melee after Dier’s goal, I think he was a bit unlucky because he was actually trying to calm things down. It was Alli and Lichtsteiner who were causing a bit of trouble and regarding Vertongthen’s second challenge, even though he wins the ball, if the referee deems it careless a player can still be cautioned.

I actually thought he was extremely lucky to get a second caution because I think it should have been a straight red for endangering the player’s safety. Vertongthen can thank Mike Dean for that!

 

You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey

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