Ref Watch: Arsene Wenger criticism of referees 'grossly unfair'

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger was fuming with the officials after his side's 3-1 defeat by Man City
Image: Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger was fuming with the officials after his side's 3-1 defeat by Man City

Was Arsene Wenger right to criticise the work ethic of referees? Dermot Gallagher hits back and analyses the controversial calls of the weekend in Ref Watch.

Along with Wenger's comments, on the cards for analysis this week were Michael Oliver's performance in Manchester City's win over Wenger's Arsenal and Dwight Gayle's disallowed goal against Bournemouth for Newcastle.

Read on to see Dermot's verdict on the weekend's biggest incidents and if they were handled properly by the officials...

Man City 3-1 Arsenal

INCIDENT: Raheem Sterling gets the wrong side of Nacho Monreal and goes down as the pair tangle together. The referee awards the penalty. Wenger accused Sterling of diving and called the awarding of the spot-kick "soft".

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Was City's penalty fair?

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Correct call.

DERMOT SAYS: Sterling is in possession of the ball and Monreal comes crashing into him. He's barged into him - it's an upper body challenge. You could argue he's in on goal and Monreal hasn't made a clear attempt to play the ball. It could have been a red card.

INCIDENT: With the game at 2-1, David Silva breaks in behind the Arsenal defence and squares the ball across the six-yard box for Gabriel Jesus to make it 3-1 to Manchester City. Wenger again disagreed with the decision, suggesting that Silva was offside.

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05:  David Silva of Manchester City in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad 0:46
Was Silva offside?

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Wrong decision.

DERMOT SAYS: It's a tight call, but it's wrong. It's a lapse of judgement by linesman Stuart Burt - for whatever reason, he's lost focus. Maybe he was looking back when Silva made his run and it's too late to see the line? Only he knows, but the video is clear. He's offside.

INCIDENT: Wenger says that although the physical levels of referees are good, their decisions are getting worse.

Arsene Wenger says referee Michael Oliver got two crucial decisions wrong in Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Grossly unfair.

DERMOT SAYS: One mistake doesn't make a group lower the standards of others. I don't like going back to my era but the biggest difference between referees back then and now, is their work ethic. That is the one thing I really applaud them for. They work harder than ever.

In my day, I'd train Tuesday and Thursday and referee on the Saturday. I got assessed on a Thursday and my preparation on the Friday was to read the paper.

Now, the referees are in training camps and are looking at videos, sharing their knowledge of incidents - that adds to the pot for other referees in terms of knowledge.

You see sports psychologists going in to talk to referees. Their preparation and recuperation after matches is second to none. That is the one thing you can't condemn them for is their attitude and work ethic.

Tottenham 1-0 Crystal Palace

INCIDENT: Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga springs off his line to try and block a chance which looked to be falling to Crystal Palace defender Mamadou Sakho. He doesn't make contact with the ball which goes behind for a goal kick but he does catch Sakho. No penalty is awarded.

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Palace penalty call?

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Wrong decision.

DERMOT SAYS: I think the referee is well within his rights to give the penalty. This is a challenge we saw yesterday with Courtois and Rashford on Sunday - the goalkeeper tries to make himself big to block the ball.

It's not an outfield player - we see a goalkeeper come out and try and block the ball, very much like Peter Schmeichel did. It might be an area of the game we need to work harder on.

Newcastle 0-1 Bournemouth

INCIDENT: Dwight Gayle looked level with the last defender as he rolled the ball into the net in the first half after Matt Ritchie's curling effort from 25 yards came back off the post, but the linesman ruled it out for offside.

Toon hard done-by?

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Wrong decision.

DERMOT SAYS: The linesman's starting position isn't right. He can only see Dwight Gayle and not the player behind him. Gayle is onside.

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