Ref Watch: John Egan red card and handball rule - Dermot Gallagher

Plus: Can Kieran Gibbs, Slaven Bilic and Yves Bissouma have any complaints for their red cards over the weekend?

John Egan reacts after referee Graham Scott shows him a red card for denying Ollie Watkins a goalscoring opportunity 3:43
Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher says Sheffield United defender John Egan was 'unlucky' to be sent off in their defeat at Aston Villa

In the latest edition of Ref Watch, Dermot Gallagher assesses more controversy at Villa Park and gets to grips with the new handball protocols after another week of high-profile penalties in the Premier League.

Dermot joined Rob Wotton on Sky Sports News to review the big decisions...

Aston Villa 1-0 Sheff Utd

INCIDENT: Sheffield United defender John Egan is caught out by a long clearance and, after grappling with Ollie Watkins, is sent off after referee Graham Scott judges him to have denied the Villa striker a clear goalscoring opportunity.

John Egan grapples with Ollie Watkins at Villa Park. The Sheffield United captain was shown a red card for denying Watkins a goalscoring opportunity
Image: Egan grapples with Watkins at Villa Park. The Sheffield United captain was shown a red card for denying Watkins a goalscoring opportunity

VERDICT: I think the VAR felt that, regarding what had been fed back by the referee and the images he was watching, it wasn't a clear and obvious error based on the referee's judgement, therefore there was no need to go across to the screen. If he had gone across to the screen, he may have made a different decision - no one knows. The decision itself? He's desperately unlucky to be sent off, Egan. Because the ball travels so far in the air, Egan and Watkins are grappling together; it starts on the halfway line and it continues.

The problem for Graham Scott is that the ball travelled such a distance, he's caught looking down the barrel, he's seen the players come apart and at the time they come apart and let go, that's when he whistled, that's when the ball landed and it was very close to Watkins. The law says, is he in possession of the ball? No, because it was in the air. Is he likely to gain possession of the ball? I think improbable but the ref makes that snap decision as the ball lands.

I think Egan is unlucky. On another day it could have been a free-kick either way on the halfway line. In a subjective decision like this, there's an element of doubt in terms of how people react because the parameters are so small; on that basis, Mike Dean went with the onfield decision.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa's win over Sheffield United in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Chris Basham is tripped in the box by Villa defender Matt Targett. Sheffield United are awarded a penalty - which John Lundstram sees saved - but Targett only gets a yellow card, despite Wilder believing he should see red.

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VERDICT: I think it's a penalty - but I don't think it's a red card. Targett is looking to flick the ball away or guide it out of play; he's clipped Basham's ankle but it's not one where you wouldn't say he's not made a genuine attempt to play the ball and under 'double jeopardy' it was decided the punishment would be too great to send Targett off.

Wolves 1-3 Man City

Raheem Sterling goes down under a challenge from Conor Coady
Image: Raheem Sterling goes down under a challenge from Conor Coady

INCIDENT: Raheem Sterling goes over in the box early on under Conor Coady's challenge, but Andre Marriner gives Wolves a goal kick, although the official also does not caution the City forward for simulation.

VERDICT: He [Sterling] could well have been (booked) on another day, there is no doubt about that. The defender pulls out (of the challenge), but if you look at where the referee is and his view, Coady's body is actually between Sterling and the ball.

The big thing here is the key decision was right, it was not a penalty, there is no doubt that. You could say that the process could have been followed further on, we can all say that in hindsight.

But what I would say is the major decision is right, the lesser decision on simulation could well have been different on another day. But it was not a penalty.

WOLVES 1-3 MANCHESTER CITY 2:45
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City's win over Wolves in the Premier League.

INCIDENT: Wolves defender Romain Saiss catches Kevin De Bruyne in the box, with the referee awarding a penalty ti City.

VERDICT: This is almost a carbon copy of [Robin] Koch on Saturday between Fulham and Leeds - Saiss goes to ground and the minute he does that, his momentum is going to take him into De Bruyne, he does, he catches him. Andre Marriner right on the spot, penalty, absolutely correct.

Man Utd 1-3 Crystal Palace

Manchester United 1-3 Crystal Palace 2:58
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Crystal Palace's win over Manchester United in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Jordan Ayew's lofted attempt on goal struck the arm of Victor Lindelof as he raced back into a defensive position. Referee Martin Atkinson is instructed to take a look on the pitchside monitor and VAR review results in a penalty being awarded.

VERDICT: In view of what they said at the start of the season, and how they applied it on the first day, I think it's the right decision. The referees decided that any outstretched arm - and Lindelof's was outstretched - was going to be punished. That's what they spoke about in pre-season, that's what they did last week and that's what they did on Saturday, there's no doubt about it. The law is the law, the directive now is that any outstretched arm from the body, any hard or arm below the shoulder, will be punished, irrespective if its deliberate or not. The referees were firm in the first week and really firm this week, penalties were given for all handballs that struck an arm that was extended or above the head.

'Nonsense' handball law is all wrong

The harsh implementation of the law afforded Palace a penalty
Image: The harsh implementation of the law afforded Palace a penalty

Sky Sports' Gary Neville:

"This is a bee in my bonnet - the handball law is wrong. It jolts with me and with every coach and player.

"It was interesting, the Manchester United one. One of the most passionate stances Roy Hodgson has on on-field decisions this nonsense thing where a player gets the ball blasted at them from two or three yards away, or it gets deflected against them and it's a penalty.

"He really is passionate against that so on Saturday when he had that one that obviously fell for him, I knew after the game that he would say he disagreed with it, which he did.

"And that's the one that is really going to jar with players and coaches because we are going to see big games decided by handball - that Leeds-Liverpool game last week really is a nonsense, that should never be a penalty, the Manchester United one is never a penalty."

Southampton 2-5 Tottenham

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham's win over Southampton in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Moussa Djenepo's pass ricochets off Harry Winks and strikes the arm of Matt Doherty, who is a matter of inches away from his team-mate. Referee David Coote points to the spot after looking on the pitchside monitor.

VERDICT: When you look at how the law is written, referees have been very consistent, but this is the one I was most uncomfortable with. I was uncomfortable for two reasons; the proximity is so close, and it strikes Winks' heels before going up to Doherty's arm. In fairness to Doherty, his arms are in front of him and not outstretched, so it could have gone up and hit him in the chest. So this is not a decision I can defend, Doherty was very unlucky.

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Arsenal 2-1 West Ham

Arsenal 2-1 West Ham 2:59
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal's win over West Ham in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Tomas Soucek's flick into the Arsenal area strikes the arm instead of the head of defender Gabriel Magalhaes. The ball looks to have contact with his forearm in one camera angle and his upper arm in another, but referee Michael Oliver and VAR choose not to award a penalty.

VERDICT: Gabriel scored last week at Fulham with an effort that came off the top of his sleeve. This is what we talk about, the bottom of the armpit, where you draw a line across. On this occasion the ball struck the top of the sleeve so it's not handball.

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Graeme Souness and Patrice Evra believe Gabriel Magalhaes' handball was a 'clear penalty' and that the officials and VAR got it wrong

Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool

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FREE TO WATCH: Dominant Liverpool beat 10-man Chelsea

INCIDENT: Andreas Christensen hauls Sadio Mane to ground in a desperate last-man challenge which initially yields only a yellow card from referee Paul Tierney before a red is produced after consulting the pitchside monitor.

VERDICT: If you watch it from Tierney's angle, the ball was in front of Mane and the referee is not sure if he's in control of the ball or not. This is a great example of where VAR works perfectly. Paul has been advised to go and look at the screen, he's had a quick look and seen Mane is about to get possession of the ball and therefore it's a red card for denying a goal-scoring opportunity. That illustrates the best practice for the referee's review area in use.

Thiago Alcantara was penalised for tripping Chelsea striker Timo Werner in the penalty area
Image: Thiago Alcantara was penalised for tripping Chelsea striker Timo Werner in the penalty area

INCIDENT: Timo Werner is clipped in the area by Thiago Alcantara and referee Tierney points to the spot. VAR checks for a possible offside in the build-up but finds nothing as the on-field decision stands.

VERDICT: Thiago clips Werner's heels and he knocks him off balance. Werner hasn't gone to ground easily; he's tried to keep his feet, but he's lost his balance and gone over. The referee is in a perfect position and quite rightly gives a penalty. Because of where he is, he's seen the clip and identified he's lost the ball because of it and given a penalty correctly.

Leicester 4-2 Burnley

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester's win over Burnley in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Chris Wood brings the ball under control with what appears to be the top part of his arm before firing Burnley into the lead. The goal stands.

VERDICT: I'm not convinced the ball even stuck Wood's sleeve. He's used a lot of strength to get to the ball and I think it comes off his chest or the top of his shoulder, it certainly doesn't come off his arm.

Newcastle 0-3 Brighton

NEWCASTLE 0-3 BRIGHTON 3:03
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brighton's win over Newcastle in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Yves Bissouma flings a leg in the air and catches Jamal Lewis in the face. The challenge initially draws a yellow card from referee Kevin Friend, but it is upgraded to red after taking a second look in the referee's review area.

VERDICT: I don't think you could do anything but red card the player. You have to remember, Bissouma has a duty of care to his opponent, he may not know where he is, but you cannot raise your boot that high. Not only has he raised his boot that high, he's caught him straight in the face with his studs. When a referee sees that, Friend has got no option, it has to be a red card.

Tariq Lamptey won a penalty after being brought down by Allan Saint-Maximin in Brighton win at Newcastle
Image: Tariq Lamptey won a penalty after being brought down by Allan Saint-Maximin in Brighton's win at Newcastle

INCIDENT: Tariq Lamptey is brought down in the area by Allan Saint-Maximin and a penalty is awarded, despite the Newcastle winger making contact with the ball.

VERDICT: This is a brilliant decision because if you look where the ball goes, logic will tell you that the defender got the ball. Saint-Maximin did get the ball, but he got Lamptey first. Because of the referee's position, Friend identifies that correctly. It's a really good spot.

Leeds 4-3 Fulham

Leeds vs Fulham
2:52
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leeds' win against Fulham in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Leeds defender Robin Koch dives into a challenge on Joe Bryan but appears to pull out at the last minute. Bryan goes to ground, and referee Anthony Taylor awards the penalty.

VERDICT: It's a penalty. When you go to ground like that you take a massive risk and you have to win the ball. He doesn't get the ball, it's just moved away, and he gets the man, that's the key thing. Koch's momentum takes him into Bryan, it has to be a penalty.

INCIDENT: Bryan bundles Patrick Bamford to ground at the back post as he tries to get on the end of a cross. Referee Taylor points straight to the penalty spot.

VERDICT: You just cannot do that, it's a straight shove in the back. It's a massive risk to take and he had to endure the consequences.

Everton 5-2 West Brom

Everton v WBA 2:59
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton's win against West Brom in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Kieran Gibbs is shown a straight red card for striking James Rodriguez in an off-the-ball incident. It's brought to the attention of referee Mike Dean by the linesman, and a red card is issued.

VERDICT: Darren Cann the assistant has spotted it, advised Mike Dean and it's a red card. You just cannot do that. Cann kept his eye on it, saw it, identified it, relayed it to Dean and the red card was issued.

Bilic argues his point to Dean
Image: Bilic argues his point to Dean

INCIDENT: Slaven Bilic is sent off at half-time after aggressively confronting referee Dean on the pitch at Goodison Park.

VERDICT: I don't know what Slaven Bilic said, but the pictures show he was certainly aggressive. People say he is allowed to walk across the pitch, but he doesn't have to confront the referee. Dean asks him to go away three times, but he kept coming back, and in the end, he had no choice. There has to come a point where enough is enough, you cannot have a heated argument in the middle of the field.

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