In the latest edition of Ref Watch, former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher runs the rule over the weekend’s big incidents, including Aston Villa’s controversial winner at Man Utd, Emi Martinez’s antics, and North London derby flashpoints.
Man Utd 0-1 Aston VillaINCIDENT: Kortney Hause snatched victory for Villa with a late header but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed David de Gea was impeded by offside striker Ollie Watkins. Should the goal have stood?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “There are no defenders on the post, which is why Watkins is in an offside position. That isn’t an offence here in itself but is he going to impede the goalkeeper? If that ball comes across, the assistant [on the opposite side] will say, ‘100 per cent’. He’ll relay to Mike Dean that Watkins is in line with the goalkeeper and say, ‘I need you from your angle to tell me at what point he’s in front of the goalkeeper’. At that point, yes [he’s impeding De Gea].
Image: This was the key moment and view for Mike Dean, says Dermot Gallagher “But it’s so interesting what happens in terms of what Dean sees and what De Gea does. I think De Gea, in some ways, becomes a victim of his own instinct. De Gea, because he wants to see the ball, pushes Watkins out of the way and creates a bit of space.
“When the ball is headed, Mike Dean knows he’s not in De Gea’s line of vision. Dean has used the information from his assistant to take the decision from his position and I can fully understand why the goal was given.”
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Was Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins in an offside position impeding David de Gea in the build up to Kortney Hause’s winner against Man Utd? What was the difference between this incident and Leicester’s Harvey Barnes, who was adjudged to have impeded the Brighton goalkeeper last time out?
“For the first [disallowed goal], Barnes is directly in view of the goalkeeper, and I think for the second, he made a movement towards the ball, which impacts the goalkeeper. That’s why I think they’re slightly different.”
INCIDENT: Moments after scoring what proved to be the winner, Hause was adjudged to have blocked Manchester United substitute Edinson Cavani’s header with his arm in added time and VAR upheld the on-field decision. Was it a penalty?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “He puts his arm out; the ball doesn’t come a long way because it comes off Cavani but his arm does stop the ball. Manchester United were on the other end of one last week [Luke Shaw against West Ham] so the officials are being consistent. Mike Dean has seen the arm away from the body and that’s a key issue. I can’t imagine for one second he meant to do it but that’s how the rules are operating this season.”
INCIDENT: Harry Maguire hauls down John McGinn – why wasn’t it deemed a ‘last-man’ challenge?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “There are a lot of reasons. Firstly, McGinn heads the ball a long way in front of him so he’s not in possession of the ball. To get possession of the ball would then take him wide. There’s a long way to go towards goal and there are covering defenders. It’s a possible opportunity rather than an obvious one.”
INCIDENT: Should Maguire himself have had a penalty following a tussle with Ezri Konsa?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “They’re both in contact with each other. Maguire has got hold of Konsa too and I think he goes down far too easily.”
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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa’s win against Manchester United INCIDENT: Emi Martinez turned on the mind games at Old Trafford, appearing to goad Cristiano Ronaldo into taking the spot-kick before Bruno Fernandes stepped up – and missed spectacularly. Did the Villa ‘keeper cross a line?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “He’s doing his best to delay the kicker because I think the longer you delay him, the more pressure you put on him. We’ve seen a bit of a trend now in terms of goalkeepers trying to delay things; I think the referees will look at it and see how they can approach it differently.”
Premier League fixtures | TableGet Sky Sports | Live football on Sky SportsMan Utd 0-1 Aston Villa – Report and free match highlightsArsenal 3-1 Tottenham Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win over Tottenham INCIDENT: Though Tottenham were 3-0 down at the time, referee Craig Pawson waved away their appeals for a penalty when Ben White brought down Harry Kane, with replays showing contact was made inside the area.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “I think White is lucky. He doesn’t get the ball. Kane gets there quickly. I wouldn’t have been surprised if a penalty had been given there. But it didn’t meet the threshold for an obvious error. The VAR is in a tough position because if the referee had given a penalty, I don’t think he would have gone against him. That’s the thing, it’s not an exact science. You have to allow a grey area [of subjectivity] and that fell in it.”
INCIDENT: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored Arsenal’s second goal but did Granit Xhaka foul Tanguy Ndombele in the build-up?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “I thought no; I thought he was protecting the ball. It would have been a long way to go back if the VAR was to intervene – there is a lot of play in between – but I didn’t think it was a foul anyhow.”
Gary Neville shocked by Tottenham declineArsenal 3-1 Tottenham – Match report and highlightsEverton 2-0 Norwich Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton’s win against Norwich INCIDENT: Everton are awarded a penalty by the VAR for Ozan Kabak’s foul on Allan.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: “I think this is a really good intervention by VAR. Kabak swings at the ball and misses it. Whether Allan’s body shields it from the referee’s view because he gives a free-kick, I don’t know, but it’s certainly a penalty.”
Everton 2-0 Norwich – Report and free match highlightsPremier League fixtures | TableGet Sky Sports | Live football on Sky SportsLeeds 1-2 West Ham Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from West Ham’s win against Leeds INCIDENT: Tomas Soucek saw his leveller disallowed after VAR spotted a foul by Michail Antonio on Illan Meslier in the build-up, though the Hammers did go on to claim all three points. Was a yellow card sufficient for Antonio?
Image: West Ham saw a goal chalked off via VAR after this Michail Antonio challenge DERMOT’S VERDICT: “Well, certainly it’s a foul – there’s no doubt about that. He raises his arm and catches [Meslier] in the face. I don’t think Antonio meant to do that, but he did catch him – it’s a foul. They go to VAR and you’ll see how the process works, because that would have been given as a goal before VAR. Secondly, it’s a flailing arm, so it’s a yellow card – it’s reckless. It’s not used as a weapon to inflict damage, so it’s not a red card for me.”