Ref Watch: Dermot Gallagher gives verdict on Ben Godfrey’s challenge on Takehiro Tomiyasu

Should Ben Godfrey have been shown a red card for his challenge on Takehiro Tomiyasu in Everton’s 2-1 win over Arsenal on Monday Night Football? Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher is back with his verdict…

Everton 2-1 Arsenal

Image: Tomiyasu argues his point to referee Mike Dean

INCIDENT: Ben Godfrey survived a VAR check for a red card after standing on Tomiyasu’s face on his follow through. The Everton defender’s studs came into contact with Tomiyasu’s face and the incident was referred to VAR. VAR Stuart Attwell got referee Mike Dean to pause the game, however, the check was completed and no action was taken.

How the incident unfolded…

Here’s how the incident unfolded in our live blog of Everton’s win over Arsenal…

29: VAR CHECK! Out of nothing, we’ve got a potential red card on our hands!

Full marks to VAR official Stuart Attwell noticing Godfrey leaving his studs on Tomiyasu’s face after the Arsenal man goes down in a 50-50 between the pair.

Does he mean it, or is he just off balance? They’re still looking at it…

Sky Sports’ Alan Smith:

“Looking at that again, he’s bang in trouble. It looks like it’s something he could have avoided.”

30: NO RED CARD! I’m afraid to say the VAR monitor will have to wait for its first run-out. Attwell has another look and decides to wave it away.

Sky Sports’ Alan Smith:

“You just never know what conclusion they are going to come to.”

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DERMOT SAYS: “For me, no, but there are going to be a lot of people that say yes. I spoke to people last night and this morning, and there are lots of mixed feelings.

“The reason I say no is because there is an element of doubt about it and because of a stamping situation, I’ve always taken the mindset that only he really knows. Going through the pictures and walking through it, you see the challenge and it doesn’t look good. His foot comes down, but his foot has to come down somewhere.

“In his defence, he is looking away. Some people will say maybe he’s looking away deliberately, but he is looking away and that is what sways me a little bit.

“You look at it from a refereeing point of view, well Mike Dean obviously doesn’t see the challenge because if he does, he will stop the game as it would obviously be a head injury. So, you presume Dean doesn’t see it, the game goes on and in real play it then defaults back to VAR Stuart Attwell and he looks at it.

Image: Godfrey escaped a red card for this incident involving Tomiyasu after a VAR check

“He looked at it in great depth, for a long time and I think he took the same view as me in that he couldn’t be convinced. So therefore, he had to clear it because the unfortunate thing is, there is nothing other than a red card. It’s got to be a red card or leave it as it is. There is no provision for a yellow card or a free-kick so, that’s where Attwell was sat.

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“I was asked could he send the referee to the screen. If he sends the referee over to the screen, he’s given the referee an indication that he feels it is a little bit more.

“I know you still retain all options, but the likelihood is that if Dean is sent to the screen, looking at the pictures, it’s almost as if Attwell has led to believe it is a red card.

“So, if he doesn’t think it is a red card in itself, he clears it and it is cleared to nothing, and that’s an unfortunate part of the process that there is no middle ground.”

Neville: He meant that | Carra: He’s a very lucky boy

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton’s win over Arsenal

Analysing the incident at half-time on Monday Night Football, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher both thought Godfrey showed intent when his studs met the face of Tomiyasu.

However, Neville understood why VAR did not recommend a red card for the Everton defender, while Carragher described the 23-year-old as a “very lucky boy.”

“You are talking to two of the masters of following through into the face and trying to make it look like it is accidental,” Neville said on MNF.

“We think he definitely means that. You just know he’s there and he’s followed through over the top and he obviously tries to make it look he didn’t. The reaction after is where he realises what he’s done and it’s like, look it’s an accident.

“As a professional, he 100 per cent means that, but I can understand why VAR have said it’s accidental, we can’t prove it’s an obvious error.

“But as a professional, you know about it. He’s meant it, but I can see why it is not a red.”

Carragher added: “He’s a very lucky boy.”

'It looks worse than it is'

Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell on Sky Sports News:

“I’ve seen these challenges given as red cards and I’ve seen a lot less given as red cards, but I agree with Dermot up to a point.

“I saw the challenge on the monitor and when it slowed down because Tomiyasu is sliding towards Godfrey, who is in the air, he’s actually played the ball and is looking away. As he’s coming down you can’t stop where your foot is going to go, and it catches the Arsenal defender in the face.

“It looks worse than it is, and I think they got it right on the night, I really do.”

Richarlison denied twice; Gordon’s escape…

Godfrey’s challenge wasn’t the last talking point from Everton’s win with referee Dean and VAR Attwell enduring a busy evening at Goodison Park…

INCIDENT: Everton thought they had taken the lead in the 44th minute when Richarlison headed in from Andros Townsend’s free-kick, but the effort was ruled out for a tight offside following a VAR check.

Image: Richarlison saw his first half header ruled out for offside

DERMOT SAYS: “Richarlison’s first disallowed goal is really interesting.

“You look at Tomiyasu at the bottom of the picture and at normal speed I thought he’s played Richarlison onside.

“It’s so tight they had to draw the lines and when you see the lines drawn they go through Richarlison’s body with a part of it that can score a goal.

“It’s that tight and unfortunately when we talk about offside with VAR, as we’ve said many times it is yes or no, and if the lines show like they did in that game, it’s factual.

“It’s the one part of VAR that’s absolutely factual. It’s not subjective and it’s not up for debate.”

INCIDENT: Richarlison was denied by VAR again. After the interval, the Brazilian had the ball in the net after a smart finish past Aaron Ramsdale, but once again he was ruled offside following a VAR check after just getting ahead of Gabriel when latching onto Abdoulaye Doucoure’s pass. It was another extremely tight call.

Image: Richarlison had a second goal ruled out by VAR for offside

DERMOT SAYS: “The second disallowed goal is even tighter.

“Without hiding or sitting on the fence, it’s a factual decision.

“The VAR has drawn those lines and he’s come to the conclusion that the lines show Richarlison is just ahead.

“What I would say is it is a really tough call. It’s made tougher by the fact Richarlison’s foot is actually in the air.

“I say it’s really tough because I’ve said many times if the feet are on the ground you have a start point. If the feet are in the air you’ve then got to draw it through.

But he did draw it through and he took his time. Let’s be fair, he took his time, he measured it all up, and in his view, that was factually offside. So, again, you have to go with the system.

INCIDENT: Anthony Gordon is late with a tackle on Nuno Tavares, catching the Arsenal defender on the ankle with his studs. There was no foul given and although the tackle was checked by VAR, the game restarted with a throw in.

Image: Was Anthony Gordon lucky to escape a red card for his challenge on Nuno Tavares?

DERMOT SAYS: “It’s an interesting tackle. It’s not a good tackle and certainly not a throw in as they restarted the game.

“I think the referee’s missed the tackle on the field and the assistant is very close. It threw to the VAR Stuart Attwell, who looked at it.

“What I would say is it is very similar to the Godfrey tackle in so much as, I think it’s a yellow card. It’s a reckless challenge.

“What you would say is it is very difficult for Attwell because if he thinks it’s a yellow card as well, he’s hamstrung because as I said earlier, it is either a red card or nothing. He can only give a red card and I don’t think it is. Attwell also doesn’t think it is and they clear it and default back to a throw in.

“So, it’s a yellow card lost and a free kick to Arsenal lost, but that is the vague nature of the system. There is no middle ground.”

‘It’s no more than a yellow’

Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell on Sky Sports News:

“Again, I’ve seen red cards given for a challenge like that, but again, I thought it was no more than a yellow.

“It was a game where there were challenges going in thick and fast at times, and it was just an unfortunate incident.

“Maybe it was a yellow, but at the time I didn’t think it was any more than that.”

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