Dermot Gallagher returns with Ref Watch, and says decisions made by VAR for Chelsea and Brighton were all correct. Read on to see why plus more from the weekend’s action…
VERDICT: Correct call, no red card for Gazzaniga.
DERMOT SAYS: “This is VAR at its best. We want to see VAR in use for the big decisions and that’s exactly what we get. Perhaps initially Anthony thinks Alonso has gone into the goalkeeper, but it’s 100 per cent a penalty. The VAR has told him he has to change his mind.
“The VAR is in a difficult position [to show Gazzaniga a red card] because you are going from the polar opposite. I think what probably saved him was his boot didn’t make contact the him like he intended and that was his saving grace, but it was a bad tackle.”
INCIDENT: Heung-Min Son is shown a red card after a VAR review of his challenge on Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger. Jose Mourinho was scathing in his view of the decision in his post-match press conference but did he have a point? Tottenham are appealing the decision.
VERDICT: Correct call, red card.
DERMOT SAYS: “For me, again, VAR has done a massive service to the game. He uses both boots and you can’t do that. For me it’s a red card. His boots [are] back and then suddenly, bang.
“To lift your boots up like that when you’re on the floor, you’ve got to do that with a certain amount of force because you have to throw your body up. VAR was absolutely correct.”
INCIDENT: Moussa Sissoko slides in on Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga during the first half and catches the Spaniard. Gary Neville said on commentary he was surprised it was not a red card.
VERDICT: Correct call.
DERMOT SAYS: “I’d have been surprised if it was, because I think the ball is there to be won, it’s inevitable that there’s going to be a collision. He got there a little bit late, but I don’t think that’s dangerous and I don’t think that’s going to seriously endanger the safety of an opponent.
“He’s got to go for the ball. He actually catches him with his body, not with his boot, and Sissoko can’t stop playing.”
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Sheffield United’s win over Brighton
INCIDENT: Defender John Egan thinks he has given Sheffield United the lead when he directs the ball over the line from a corner, but did it come off his arm?
VERDICT: Correct call, handball.
DERMOT SAYS: “He’s unlucky. I don’t even think the player knows he’s done it. But it has touched his hand, and as we say week in, week out now, this is the new rule and it has to be disallowed.
“Sheffield United probably won’t believe on Saturday how many VAR decisions went against them, but it does strike his arm.”
4 – Including two against Brighton today, Sheffield United have now had four Premier League goals awarded on the field only to be ruled out by VAR this season, more than any other club. Overruled. pic.twitter.com/v0tDoxFMAZ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 21, 2019
INCIDENT: Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma goes down inside the box under a challenge from Chris Basham. Referee Robert Jones, on his Premier League debut, awards Sheffield United a free-kick for simulation and books Bissouma.
VERDICT: Correct call.
DERMOT SAYS: “Robert got it right. This is clear simulation for me, and there’s no way it’s anything else. This is all about the referee’s start position. As the player goes forward, he makes an angle so he can see that there’s no contact.”
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s win over Leicester
INCIDENT: Raheem Sterling is brought down by Ricardo Pereira inside the box on the stoke of half-time. Referee Mike Dean takes one look at it and points to the spot.
VERDICT: Correct decision, it’s a penalty.
DERMOT SAYS: “A lot of people disagreed with me when I watched it on Saturday night, but when Ricardo goes in, it’s just clumsy and he catches Sterling. You see he gets caught.
INCIDENT: Into the second half, and Harvey Barnes is wiped out by Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson following Jamie Vardy’s cross. Should Dean have awarded Leicester a penalty?
VERDICT: No, it was the correct call.
DERMOT SAYS: “I actually feel for Ederson, and I don’t think it’s a penalty in any way, shape, or form. It’s definitely a coming-together, and if you watch Ederson, he goes to save the ball.
“He anticipates Harvey Barnes kicking it. Because he’s going forward, it’s an inevitable collision between the players.”
VERDICT: Correct call.
DERMOT SAYS: “It’s a foul and a penalty. He just clips him. Wan-Bissaka goes for the ball but he just can’t get there in time as he pushes it away and Lee Mason quite rightly awards a penalty.”
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Burnley’s win over Bournemouth
INCIDENT: Burnley forward Ashley Barnes looks to win the ball from Bournemouth defender Simon Francis, but he raises his boot and catches the centre-back in the head unintentionally. Barnes avoids a caution from referee Martin Atkinson.
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VERDICT: Incorrect call, yellow card.
DERMOT SAYS: “I thought it should have been a booking for dangerous play, but Martin didn’t think the same, whether his first concern was for Francis to get him treated, and then completely forgot about the tackle, I don’t know. What I would say is that he had a tough afternoon.
“I don’t think it’s a red because it’s just reckless. He doesn’t even look once at Simon Francis.”
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the goalless draw between Everton and Arsenal
INCIDENT: Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka is already on a yellow card when he raises his boot into the chest of Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the second half.
VERDICT: Saka fortunate to escape a second yellow card.
DERMOT SAYS: “The player is not aware that he’s there, he boots his boot up and it’s reckless. He runs the risk and I think if referee Kevin Friend had decided to pull out a second yellow card to send him off, he couldn’t argue. The only thing is Saka’s favour is he doesn’t see the player coming.”
Fulham 2-1 Leeds
INCIDENT: Ben White is deemed to have fouled Bobby Reid in the area, allowing Aleksandar Mitrovic to give Fulham a seventh-minute lead against Leeds.