Ref Watch: New handball rule being carried out consistently – Dermot Gallagher


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.

  • Man Utd 1-3 Crystal Palace – Match report and highlights
  • Neville: Man Utd need defenders, not Sancho

‘Nonsense’ handball law is all wrong

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

3:26 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.

  • Southampton 2-5 Tottenham – Match report and highlights
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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.

1:55 Graeme Souness and Patrice Evra believe Gabriel Magalhaes’ handball was a ‘clear penalty’ and that the officials and VAR got it wrong.

  • Arsenal 2-1 West Ham – Match report and highlights
  • Analysis: Arsenal show progress but more is needed

Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool

2:58 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.

  • Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool – Match report and highlights
  • Thiago offers glimpse of what he’ll bring

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

2:59 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.

  • Leicester 4-2 Burnley – Match report and highlights

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.

  • Newcastle 0-3 Brighton – Match report and highlights

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

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.

  • Leeds 4-3 Fulham – Match report and highlights

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

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.

  • Everton 5-2 West Brom – Match report and highlights

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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