Dermot Gallagher can understand why Martin Atkinson showed Heung-Min Son a red card for his challenge on Andre Gomes while he also assesses VAR calls on a weekend full of controversy.
The Super Sunday clash between Everton and Tottenham took centre stage over the weekend in terms of big decisions but there was plenty of controversy elsewhere, with the bar for ‘clear and obvious errors’ causing debate again plus what constitutes handball inside the area.
So how did Dermot see it? Here’s Sky Sports’ resident ref’s view…
INCIDENT: Gomes sustained an horrific injury on 79 minutes after he collided with Son and was propelled into Spurs full-back Serge Aurier. Son was initially shown a yellow card by referee Atkinson, but that was upgraded to red once the severity of Gomes’ injury came to light. The red card for Son was for endangering the safety of a player, which happened as a consequence of his initial challenge.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Totally understandable why the red was shown.
DERMOT SAYS: Whatever the decision made on the day pales into insignificance for what happened to Gomes. I wish him a speedy recovery. I just hope Martin Atkinson gets the support network he deserves because people will say it wasn’t a red card – they may well be right – but if you’re in that situation at that time I can fully understand why Atkinson took the action he did. I defy any person refereeing at that level and to be involved in that situation to put their hand up and say ‘I’d have done it differently’.
INCIDENT: There was a controversial VAR call when Dele Alli looked to handle in the Everton box from a corner, but after around four minutes of replays, VAR deemed it not enough to overturn the decision. The VAR considered that both Alli and Mina were challenging for the ball in the air and Alli was under pressure from the attacker as the ball struck his hand.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: I thought it was a penalty.
DERMOT SAYS: I expected a penalty to be awarded. In pre-season, the rules stated that if the hand is above the shoulder and it strikes the ball it’s a penalty. Alli’s hand is above the shoulder, no doubt. What I would say is that Atkinson didn’t see it. The VAR thought that because the two players were in close proximity that it wasn’t a clear and obvious error by the referee, therefore he didn’t award the penalty. I was surprised the penalty wasn’t given.
INCIDENT: Son turned in the box and went down under Mina’s challenge. Both Atkinson and then the VAR said no penalty, before another check from a different angle was conducted moments later. That review also stated that no penalty should be awarded.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct decision.
DERMOT SAYS: I don’t think it’s a penalty. Son has lost the opportunity to shoot – it’s minimal contact and there’s not enough to award a penalty. The reason the check was re-checked was because Anthony Taylor in the VAR was suddenly given another angle to review which he felt he had to look at.
INCIDENT: With Aston Villa 1-0 up, VAR got involved as Sadio Mane found Roberto Firmino to tap home at the far post. The assistant instantly raised his flag and VAR judged the Liverpool man to be just inches the wrong side of the line with his arm-pit millimetres ahead of the play.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct call. Clubs can have no argument about the technology used.
DERMOT SAYS: The technology has said it’s offside. It’s as accurate as possible. Everybody signed up to the technology, everybody knows there is no latitude in offside decision. It’s either offside or onside. There’s no debate. The lines favour the defender in this instance so it’s offside.
INCIDENT: On 79 minutes Jorginho was penalised for a trip on Gerard Deulofeu inside the box after a lengthy VAR consultation that deemed the on-field decision of no penalty was incorrect.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: No penalty.
DERMOT SAYS: On reflection – I don’t think it’s a penalty. There is contact but it doesn’t affect him in any way. The wisest decision would be to give a goal kick.
Analysis: ‘Consistency is an issue’
Geraint Hughes, Sky Sports News
After 110 games using VAR in the Premier League the PGMOL have reiterated that VAR is evolving and that there is constant dialogue between the referees, managers and directors of football.
All stakeholders want to try and make VAR a success, but there is an acknowledgement that consistency is an issue.
Conversations have been regular and will continue.
This past weekend once again, no referee used a pitchside monitor. There was no directive to any of the group of 17 referees to do so as the PGMOL are keen to point out the absolute trust among their elite panel of officials.
Liverpool vs Man City
November 10, 2019, 4:00pm
All 17 know one another well and work together as a team with trust of one another a key component. So when a decision is being reviewed by VAR, the referee on the pitch has absolute trust in their colleague and their decision.
It contrasts perhaps with how referees worked at the last summers Women’s World Cup where VAR was used for the first time by many officials who didn’t necessarily know one another or how they worked.
It saw many on-field referees stop the game and come over to the pitchside monitor to view an incident. It’s believed this can take at least 100 seconds.
Just one decision was overturned this weekend, the penalty awarded to Watford, so overall this season 27 decisions have been overturned by VAR. In terms of VAR checking incidents, after 110 games over 650 checks have been made by VAR officials.