Ref Watch: Should Manchester United have been awarded a penalty against Aston Villa?

In this week’s Ref Watch, Dermot Gallagher analyses a series of contentious incidents, including two penalties awarded and one not given on a night of VAR drama in the Premier League…

  • Aston Villa 0-3 Man Utd – Match report and highlights
  • Man Utd equal penalty record
  • Analysis: Is this Man Utd’s renaissance?

Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United

INCIDENT: Aston Villa manager Dean Smith was not happy with the first-half penalty given to Manchester United when Ezri Konsa was judged to have fouled Bruno Fernandes. Jonathan Moss pointed to the spot and the decision was upheld upon a VAR review.

VERDICT: All I would say is when you see it initially, I can understand why Jon Moss gave it. You see Konsa come in and you imagine that he has taken him from behind. But when you look at this, you see that Konsa plants his feet, Fernandes steps on the ball and goes over and he actually commits a foul himself and it should not have been a penalty.

But from Jon Moss’s view, I can understand why he gave it, but from that view I can tell you clearly that it is not a penalty. All I can tell you is they talk about the clear and obvious errors, the high-bar intervention. Jon Moss would have fed back to the VAR what he had seen, the VAR would look at the images and take on board what Jon Moss has told him and on that occasion he [Graham Scott] thought it was not enough to intervene and therefore he stood by the on-field decision.

I think it was an error, but a genuine error.

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  • Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United – Match report and highlights
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Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham

INCIDENT: Tottenham were unhappy when Harry Kane was not given a first-half penalty for an apparent push on the striker inside the box. After a VAR review and long delay, a goal kick was awarded.

VERDICT: The VAR [Michel Oliver] did not consider it was a high enough bar. I think he is pushed in the back and he is also clipped on the heel and I think it is a penalty myself.

  • Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham – Match report and highlights
  • Jose fumes with VAR: ‘Everyone knows it was a penalty’

INCIDENT: There was more drama between Bournemouth and Tottenham in stoppage time. Callum Wilson had a goal ruled out by VAR.

VERDICT: I would say praise for the VAR here because it was not picked up on field and this is what the VAR was for and this law because you see it clearly strikes Wilson’s arm and goes into the net and deflects past the goalkeeper.

Morally, nobody wants to see a goal scored by the arm, but that clearly is and picked up by the VAR and corrected.

Arsenal 1-1 Leicester

INCIDENT: Eddie Nketiah was shown a red card for a foul on James Justin after Chris Kavanagh looked at the pitchside monitor. But was it the correct call?

VERDICT: Yes [it is the correct decision]. I did feel a little bit sorry for Nketiah because I think he thinks he can nick the ball and get away there. But he mistimes it, VAR sends him over to the monitor, Chris Kavanagh looks at it and a great process between them and a red car definitely. But for a mistimed tackle, not malice.

  • Arsenal 1-1 Leicester – Match report and highlights
  • Arsenal fail with Nketiah red card appeal

INCIDENT: Jamie Vardy was not sent off despite catching Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi in the head with a stray boot.

VERDICT: The difference here [with the Nketiah incident] is there is only one person that knows if this was deliberate or not, because the difference there is two players are collapsing and falling, but only Jamie Vardy knows. You see his reaction, ‘I’ve caught him.’

But in that situation it is inevitable there is going to be a physical contact, you do not know what it is going to be, but I would say you have to err on the side of caution there and say that Vardy did not mean to do that.

West Ham 0-1 Burnley

INCIDENT: There was a similar incident in the West Ham against Burnley game. What about James Tarkowski’s challenge on Jarrod Bowen. Should he have been shown a red by Michael Oliver?

  • West Ham 0-1 Burnley – Match report and highlights

VERDICT: I think this is a carbon copy of Nketiah and the same punishment should have been given and if the referee [Oliver] had gone over to the monitor, I am quite confident he would have been sent off. But the referee was not recommended to go over.

The challenge is almost identical to Nketiah’s, the point of contact, above the knee with the studs and I would have anticipated a red card.

Everton 1-1 Southampton

INCIDENT: Referee Lee Mason awards a penalty for Southampton, judging Andre Gomes to have brought down James Ward-Prowse. Mason was quick to point to the spot, but was it the right decision?

VERDICT: I do not think it is a penalty, there is a touch and then you see Ward-Prowse initiates the contact, he is already going forward, the ball has gone and he goes into Gomes. For me it is not a penalty, if anything Ward-Prowse goes into Gomes and if you are going to give a free kick, it should go the other way.

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