Former referee Dermot Gallagher dissects the flashpoints from the weekend’s Premier League action, as well as a controversial incident in Sunday’s Old Firm clash at Ibrox.
‘Evans could have given penalty away’
INCIDENT: Declan Rice scores from a corner while Jonny Evans grapples with Gabriel – Man Utd want the goal disallowed and a free-kick awarded.
DERMOT SAYS: It could have been a foul the other way. They’re both grappling with each other. In the end, Evans throws Gabriel out of the way.
It’s a difficult call. The referee has got a perfect view. It could have easily gone the other way which would have been a penalty.
‘This is what VAR is for – it is just offside’
INCIDENT: Alejandro Garnacho is played through on goal, before beating Aaron Ramsdale, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside by the VAR .
DERMOT SAYS: This is what VAR is for – if they put the lines across and say it is offside, it is just offside. Once you put the lines on, you can see that Gabriel has not tilted quite as far forward as Garnacho.
‘Gabriel stands his ground’
INCIDENT: Rasmus Hojlund goes down in the area under a challenge from Gabriel. Should a penalty have been awarded?
DERMOT SAYS: There’s physical contact but the defender is just too strong. Hojlund pushes the ball too far and Gabriel holds his ground, he doesn’t do anything wrong.
You see this all the time and I’d have been stunned if Anthony Taylor had given anything for it.
‘The right decision – Havertz goes into Wan-Bissaka’
INCIDENT: Kai Havertz goes over in the box under a challenge from Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with referee Anthony Taylor awarding a penalty that was subsequently overturned by the VAR.
DERMOT SAYS: Hand on heart, when I saw that [on Sunday], I thought penalty. When I saw the second replay, I changed my mind 100 per cent.
For me, I thought he tripped him, but when I saw the replay, Wan-Bissaka places his foot and Havertz goes into him.
So the right decision has been come to and that is what we want, we talked about it last week.
Should Saka have been sent off?
INCIDENT: Bukayo Saka is shown a yellow card for a lunging tackle on Bruno Fernandes. Should the Arsenal winger have been sent off?
DERMOT SAYS: Saka is fouled first but he still follows through. The fact he is low and has come from such short distance, there’s no intensity, makes it a yellow card rather than a red.
‘A strong yellow card’
INCIDENT: Victor Lindelof lunges in on Eddie Nketiah and is shown a yellow card. Should it have been red?
DERMOT SAYS: It was checked by VAR and it was felt it was a yellow card. It can’t be DOGSO [denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity] because he’s too far out on the wing. He doesn’t catch him on the head. It’s a strong yellow card.
‘A really poor decision by the VAR’
INCIDENT: Nathan Ake scores a header to put Manchester City 2-1 up against Fulham, but team-mate Manuel Akanji is stood in an offside position and has to jump out of the way of the ball. Should the goal have been disallowed?
DERMOT SAYS: I was watching this game live and when it went in, I immediately turned to the person next to me and said, ‘This could be given as offside’.
I saw one replay and I didn’t need to see any more. He’s offside. He’s clearly in front of the goalkeeper and clearly goes to play the ball. It’s a really poor decision by the VAR.
I feel for the referee and the assistant. Michael Oliver is on the edge of the box and has a lot of players between him, he can’t be 100 per cent sure.
The assistant can tell he’s in an offside position which is an offence in itself, but he doesn’t know if Akanji is in line with the goalkeeper.
The angle from behind the goal – it’s so obvious.
Should Liverpool’s first goal have stood vs Aston Villa?
INCIDENT: Dominik Szoboszlai fires Liverpool ahead with a well-struck shot from outside the area, but was Mo Salah standing in an offside position and interfering with Emi Martinez’s line of sight?
DERMOT SAYS: If you look at this, the ‘keeper can see the ball at first, I do not think Salah is anywhere near the ball, it goes way past him.
It does not just go past him, it goes into the top corner, it is hit at such speed that it does not have any impact whatsoever on the outcome of that ball.
Were Luton denied a late penalty against West Ham?
INCIDENT: Luton are not given a late penalty against West Ham on Friday Night Football despite the ball striking James Ward-Prowse on the hand following a corner.
DERMOT SAYS: This is one honestly that could go either way with where we are at with handball at the moment.
The reason I say this is because I sat with a former Premier League referee on Saturday who said ‘no’ and I said ‘yes’ on the basis it has come a long way, he can see it, his arm is up at shoulder height.
His argument was it comes over a defender’s head, he is looking away and that is the dilemma you have got and in that situation, you are really relying on the on-field referee giving it.
‘Rangers goal should have stood – no foul’
INCIDENT: Kemar Roofe’s opener in Rangers’ match against Celtic was disallowed after VAR decided Cyriel Dessers fouled Gustaf Lagerbielke in the build-up.
DERMOT SAYS: The referee has got it absolutely correct on the pitch – it’s not a foul. Dessers gets in front of him.
All I can think is when he gets to the screen if he thinks he has pushed him. If the VAR hadn’t intervened no one would really have been complaining.
It’s certainly not a foul with his feet.
Stephen Warnock: The goal should have stood. One of the Celtic centre-backs reacts to it and goes ballistic at his team-mate for dwelling on the ball. You can read body language, players know what’s a foul and what isn’t.
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