Ref Review: Tottenham’s crucial Champions League goal sparks handball confusion and Troy Deeney pays price for blundering Pawson against Arsenal in Mark Halsey’s ref review

After a bit of a break, former Premier League referee Mark Halsey is back and in good time given what unfolded at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night. With plenty of Premier League and Champions League action to go over, Halsey as ever runs the rule over the latest set of big decisions…

Kevin Friend (Brighton & Hove Albion v Bournemouth)

What on earth was Anthony Knockaert doing? Players have a duty of care to one another and that was a very, very poor challenge and could have seriously injured his opponent.

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Kevin has quite rightly issued a straight red card and Anthony has let his team down big time. Knowing the fight they’ve got and the position they’re in, you can’t do that, he’s thrown himself in.

Mike Dean (Burnley v Cardiff City)

Neil has every reason to not be happy with certain decisions in recent weeks. I don’t condone some of the comments he’s made but if you look at the three incidents at the weekend, I thought the two handballs were spot-on.

For the second one, Darren Cann has got involved and he had no right to from that position because Mike Dean had a great position. The one they should have got one was on Aron Gunnarsson, it was right in front of Darren and that’s when he should have got involved and helped the referee.

Graham Scott (Manchester United v West Ham United)

If we had VAR in operation West Ham would have gone 1-0 up. It’s a difficult one for the assistant referee when a player is running in like that and they can also count themselves unlucky a penalty was given against them.

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It’s shoulder to shoulder and VAR would have definitely over-ruled that, Juan Mata’s thrown himself up in the air too. There’s no complaints on the second penalty, it’s a clear one. There was a slight suspicion of offside but once he’s brought down there it’s a clear penalty and a caution and Graham got it bang on.

Michael Oliver (Liverpool v Chelsea)

Michael proved what an excellent referee he is. He’s by far our number one, the players like him, he referees with a smile and he engages with the players.

Craig Pawson (Watford v Arsenal)

Craig has had a poor season, he’s been like a rabbit in the headlights. When there’s a big decision to be made he’s always looking for help and that for me is not violent conduct. It’s a reckless use of the arm, Troy Deeney runs the risk but you expect referees at that level to pick that up.

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Lucas Torreira’s made a meal of it and he’s helped get Deeney sent off. It’s not an act of violent conduct for me.

Felix Brych (Barcelona v Manchester United)

Felix must have lost concentration momentarily because I didn’t think it was a penalty watching it live. VAR worked very well, he’s gone to have a look and come to the right decision. We’ve seen in Europe it’s the referees who make the final decision by looking at the monitors and we have to do the same in the Premier League. Mike Riley doesn’t want it, you either do things his way or not at all. We need to use the monitors next season, we can’t have the VAR making the final decisions.

Cuneyt Cakir (Manchester City v Tottenham)

What a fantastic match — one of the best I’ve seen. From the angles we were afforded by the broadcaster on the handball you would say you’d give the goal. I’ve seen a few angles which weren’t shown and I’ve spoken to Peter Walton who has seen angles not given to the referee and if Cakir had those angles he would have disallowed the goal.

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It’s the consequences of what happens next. Roberto Rossetti came out before the knockout stages and said what would be happening with the handball situations, even though it was contradictory to the law. We’ve seen penalties given which were not deliberate handballs and you can’t have it both ways. It wasn’t deliberate by Fernando Llorente either.

The offside is a matter of fact. Sergio Aguero was offside and that’s that and that is what VAR is for. It’s a matter of fact decision and despite the emotions involved it’s the correct decision.

You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey

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