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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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  1. dan

    March 18, 2014 at 2:38 am

    You are probably the only one in this whole wide world who didn’t think the Jones push was a penalty. He went straight through his back with no intention of trying to get the ball, just barged him over. You’re clearly blinded by bias and everyone who read this could tell that you were a united fan before you admitted you were a united fan. David Moyes is a football genius btw

    • Andy Turnbull

      March 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      Dan, i could well be alone, but does that invalidate my opinions? Do you really think any player would barge a player over deliberately in the box, during open play? Obviously it happens during set pieces, but that is because its very congested and hard to spot infringements.

      I am a United fan, but again, my points are still valid, as are yours.

      Nice work with the Moyes football genius comment too! It was always going to be an impossible task following fergie, but we have been worse than i expected, which was top 4.

  2. Dan

    March 17, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Would be nice if there was video included of said incidents. Not everyone gets to see catch highlights of every single game over the weekend.

    • Andy Turnbull

      March 18, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      I have tried this in the past, but it has not worked when I have sent the email to Chris. I would like to think i provide a fairly detailed account of each incident with occasional pictures to help the reader.

      • Christopher Harris

        March 18, 2014 at 6:06 pm

        Also, there’s rights issues with playing illegal videos. Often times, there are no legal means to show the videos we want that highlight the specific foul or incident.

  3. yespage

    March 17, 2014 at 10:10 am

    How was the second penalty against Jones a debatable call? Jones drove his shoulder in to the back of Allen. He made absolutely no play for the ball.

    There was definitely karma is Gerard’s third penalty kick miss, as Sturridge most certainly did dive and should have been given a yellow. But Vidic being sent off was held karmicly in balance as the blatant hand ball by Rafael which was the only thing stopping Liverpool from having a golden scoring op should have led to a second yellow for Rafael much earlier.

    The final Sturridge clip no call makes up for him diving earlier.

    • Andy Turnbull

      March 17, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      I personally don’t think Jones fouled Allen. His touch was heavy and as soon as he felt contact, he was down. I don’t blame him for going down, but a penalty was harsh, in my view.

      • ThompsonLives

        March 17, 2014 at 9:38 pm

        You’re literally the ONLY ONE who feels that way. Tim Howard thought it was a clear penalty during the broadcast, and both the UK and US versions of MOTD agreed it was a clear penalty. Sorry a ref had the temerity to whistle sainted ManYoo for a penalty at Old Trafford. Consider this 25 years of Fergie berating officials coming back to bite the team in the ass.

      • Yespage

        March 17, 2014 at 10:24 pm

        You keep saying “touch.” He drove his shoulder into Allen’s back. It isn’t as if their arms or legs tangled while playing for the ball. Allen was in front, had access to the ball and Jones made decent contact because he was clearly beaten.

      • Rob

        March 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        It was a typical brainless Jones challenge and perfect evidence of why he shouldn’t get in the England squad for the World Cup. He sees the ball and not his surroundings; didn’t he cause Rooney’s cut head in training with his feet?

    • Andy Turnbull

      March 18, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      I may be in the minority on this one, but that doesn’t invalidate my opinions. ThompsonLives – basing an argument on last 25 years… that’s irrelevant. If you noticed in the article, I said both the first and the Carrick incidents were certain penalties.

      yespage, thanks for your comments once again, appreciated. “touch” refers to Allen’s chest control, which went away from him. Therefore, I believe he went down very easily after he knew the ball had gone.

      For sure, Jones has been known for clumsy challenges and I don’t think he should have made an attempt to stop Allen. He did, but did not commit a foul. He didn’t push, or shove Allen out of the way. He used his shoulders.

  4. goatslookshifty

    March 17, 2014 at 9:51 am

    The best sending off was Jose. When other managers are losing their nut, Jose has this non-chalant ‘Who, me?’ attitude which makes it all more funny.
    Seeing John Moss repeatedly shoo him away while he loitered on the side line trying to watch the rest of the game was a great laugh.

    • Andy Turnbull

      March 17, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      In fairness to Jose, I’m not to sure why he was sent to the stands. Lambert, Agbonlahor and others were on the pitch too. Jose didn’t really say anything to be honest, agbonlahor pushed a few players, so if anything, he should have been punished.

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