Plus: Was Daniel James harshly booked for diving against Leeds?; Did Dani Ceballos stamp on Yerry Mina and should he have seen red?
Monday 21 December 2020 16:21, UK
In the latest edition of Ref Watch, former top-flight referee Dermot Gallagher analyses the VAR interventions that produced three red cards in the Premier League this weekend...
Dermot joined Rob Wotton on Sky Sports News to review the big decisions...
INCIDENT: Joachim Andersen is sent off for a last-man challenge on Callum Wilson. Newcastle are awarded a penalty after referee Graham Scott consults the pitchside review monitor. Fulham boss Scott Parker slams VAR after the game, accusing the technology of changing the game for the worse.
VERDICT: "The easiest solution in this incident would have been to blow the whistle and issue a second yellow as soon as Anderson has pulled Wilson's shirt. If that happened, then all of this debate would have gone away and been avoided. But because it was allowed to go on, we have a debate whether it was a penalty or not.
"The on-field decision was a penalty but then the VAR decided that because there was no covering defender it could be a red card, and things got all complicated. In the end we ended up with a red card and a penalty, I think the red card would have been given anyhow, but it was a very untidy process that could have been avoided.
"With regards to the challenge actually warranting a penalty being given, the referee must have thought there was contact once Wilson went into the area. But with Andersen already on a booking, the simple decision would have been to issue a second yellow and none of the rest would have followed.
"Referees have different options. According to how you use them, they can be used for the betterment of the game and the betterment of the referee's control of the game, and in this situation, he chose an option that was least favourable to himself."
INCIDENT: John Lundstram's yellow card for a lunge on Joel Veltman is upgraded to red after referee Peter Bankes is alerted to the reckless challenge by VAR.
VERDICT: "Without doubt we arrived at the right decision here. The process with VAR alerting the referee that what he saw on the field required a second look at the monitor is what the technology is there for.
"Lundstram overruns the ball, had a heavy touch and his priority is to get that ball back. In his haste to get it back, he lunges in at full speed and loses control of his actions. He catches Veltman high, late and seriously endangers an opponent.
"VAR quite rightly referred the referee to the monitor; he picks it up and it's a red card. Very quick process and correct outcome."
INCIDENT: Jake Livermore's yellow card for a lunge on Jack Grealish is upgraded to red after referee Martin Atkinson is instructed to take a second look on the pitchside monitor.
VERDICT: "This is a very interesting incident in so much that I don't think Livermore gets as much on Grealish as we would have anticipated.
"But what I would say is that he went in with such ferocity and was so far over the ball that VAR is left with little choice but the tell the referee to have another look.
"The referee sees how high over the ball Livermore is, that he has extended the leg, gone in with such and caught Grealish. It's inevitable he was going to get a red card."
INCIDENT: Four minutes after Livermore's dismissal, Aston Villa defender Kortney Hause was shown only a yellow for a late high challenge on Grady Diangana. On this occasion, VAR chose not to intervene, and Martin Atkinson's on-field decision went unchallenged.
VERDICT: "Hause is very lucky. He's caught the player on the shin and gone down to the ankle - you could see his ankle bend.
"The referee on the field hasn't quite seen it like that, and VAR has looked at it and felt that it was just within the threshold. If he had sent the referee to the monitor, he may well have reached a different decision, but we don't know.
"On that occasion, I think Hause is very lucky to have escaped a red card."
INCIDENT: Jack Grealish is bundled over in the area by West Brom defender Semi Ajayi, and referee Martin Atkinson shows no hesitation awarding Aston Villa a penalty.
VERDICT: "There's a little bit of contact, but I think the referee thinks it's a clumsy challenge. He sees a little tangle of legs and I can understand why he's given it, but also why West Brom would have been disappointed.
"From where the referee is on the field, and the way the two players have come together, it's one where referees will give a penalty nine times out of 10."
INCIDENT: Daniel James is booked for simulation by referee Anthony Taylor after going to ground under Liam Cooper's challenge on the edge of the Leeds area. Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was adamant his side should have been awarded a penalty.
VERDICT: "Well, the contact is outside the area so it wouldn't have been a penalty.
"What I would say is that in these situations, referees sometimes close the options available to them and decide that if they're not going to give a penalty, they're going to book someone for diving.
"I think there is a third option, which would have been more preferable in this situation, and that would have been for the referee to do nothing and let the game continue. It's definitely not a penalty, but it's definitely not a dive."
INCIDENT: Spurs defender Serge Aurier barges into the back of Wesley Fofana in the penalty area. Referee Craig Pawson is instructed to consult the pitchside monitor where he awards Leicester a penalty.
VERDICT: "It's definitely a penalty. Aurier hits Fofana right in the middle of his back with his shoulder. That, and the actual force of the challenge, means there is no doubt. Everybody will accept the decision to award a penalty, it's the correct one."
INCIDENT: Dani Ceballos escapes punishment after he appears to stamp on Everton defender Yerry Mina as the two players compete for the ball. Referee Andre Marriner lets the incident go on the field and VAR does not intervene.
VERDICT: "I'm in Ceballos' camp here. The players tangle together, and Ceballos doesn't bring his foot down on Mina's leg intentionally.
"Only he knows whether there is intention there, but when you look at it sideways on, the coming together is minimal, his studs haven't raked down Mina's calf.
"I would give him the benefit of the doubt because if I'm going to stay someone has stamped on someone, I want to be absolutely positive."
INCIDENT: Southampton appeals for a penalty following a Raheem Sterling handball are ignored by referee Mike Dean.
VERDICT: "This doesn't fall into handball criteria because, if you watch, Sterling goes to kick the ball and it flies up and hits his arm, which is in an expected position. Not a penalty for me."