Reviewing Premier League Refereeing Decisions: Gameweek 30

A superb weekend of Premier League soccer had many talking points, with a huge number of contentious decisions. Here’s what was called correctly or incorrectly by the referees and the reasons why.

Starting with the early kick off at the KC Stadium, Vincent Kompany was sent off after just 10 minutes for bringing down Nikica Jelavic, therefore denying a goal scoring opportunity. Lee Mason had little option but to dismiss City’s captain although he felt he was fouled prior to the incident, but replays later showed that Kompany tripped over his own leg before pulling the Croatian international’s shirt. As you can see from the picture, there were no covering defenders, so Kompany had to go.

After City scored their first goal, George Boyd went down in the penalty area after Joe Hart came rushing out. Referee Lee Mason was again correct. A definite dive from Boyd, but he received no punishment for attempting to fool the ref. Hart reacted badly to the incident and confronted Boyd, and could have easily been sent off for leaning with his head. Boyd too could have received the same punishment for an unsavory spit, aimed at Hart. It was very hard for Mason to spot the spitting, but The FA should certainly take retrospective action.

Chelsea suffered a 1-0 defeat at Villa Park and it couldn’t have gone any worse for Jose Mourinho‘s men. Two players were sent off, as well as Mourinho himself. The first red card was for Willian, who was unfortunate in my view. The first yellow is not up for debate, but the second is incredibly soft. Willian put a hand on Fabian Delph but there was not sufficient contact that would warrant a second yellow. Ramires, however, can have no complaints. His tackle on Karim El Ahmadi was horrific, brought out of frustration and could have easily broken a leg. It was an easy decision for Chris Foy, who had a mixed game, but was correct on this occasion.

At 0-0, Chelsea were denied a goal, after Nemanja Matic was adjudged to have handled the ball, before slotting the ball home. Foy’s assistant, Peter Banks made the call from a difficult view, but ultimately got it right, as Matic was helped by the handball.

Aston Villa’s Joe Bennett was lucky to escape a red card after Ramires was hacked to the ground in the first half. Ron Vlaar was nearby, but Ramires was on goal, so a red card should have been shown.

Fulham manager Felix Magath secured his first victory as their boss, beating Newcastle 1-0 at the Cottage, but it could have been more, had the Goal Decision System not been in place. A fierce shot came off the bar and bounced towards the goal line. It ball looked to be in with the naked eye, but the replay showed that not all of the ball crossed the line. The ball was put into the net by Cauley Woodrow, but he was offside as the ball left Johnny Heitinga. It was a simple decision for Darren Cann, the assistant referee, to make.


Andy Carroll had bold claims for a penalty after Marc Muniesa of Stoke used his hand in the area whilst attempting to header the ball. It was a penalty for me and although it looked like a header at first glance, a closer inspection showed the opposite.

The same can be said for Jan Vertonghen who dragged Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny to the ground at White Hart Lane. Referee Mike Dean had an impossible view, so it was up to the linesman to make a decision. However, he may have been focused on the last man, looking for the offside.

Manchester United’s season went from bad to worse on Sunday after a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Liverpool, who were given three penalties by Mark Clattenburg and should have had a fourth. The first one was for handball against Rafael. His hand was raised and moved towards the ball. The Brazilian was already on a yellow card, but it would have been harsh to dismiss him for that incident. The second penalty is debatable. Phil Jones was punished for a supposed push on Joe Allen. However, Jones didn’t push Allen. He used his shoulders and Allen was always going down after a heavy touch. That decision was hard to understand, not only as a United fan myself, but from an non-blinkered view also.

The third penalty was a clear dive from Daniel Sturridge, which resulted in Nemanja Vidic being sent off for his second booking. There have been various arguments that Sturridge was trying to avoid contact and his manager Brendan Rodgers labeled him an “honest player.” That was clearly not based on this evidence.

Sturridge was later unlucky when Michael Carrick brought him down, but it looked like a slip on first look. Replays later showed that Carrick clipped Sturridge and an incredible fourth penalty should have been awarded.

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