Ref Watch: West Brom's opening goal against Man Utd was right to be awarded, says Dermot Gallagher

Dermot Gallagher returns with the latest Ref Watch and the former Premier League referee thinks there was nothing wrong with West Brom’s opening goal against Manchester United.

West Brom 1-1 Man Utd

INCIDENT: Mbaye Diagne nodded West Brom ahead early on at the Hawthorns, but Man Utd thought the goal should have been ruled out for a foul by the Baggies striker on defender Victor Lindelof.

VERDICT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: It is a good goal, the forward is strong, he does not do anything wrong for me, he gets across the defender and heads the ball cleanly and it is good forward’s play.

Southampton 1-2 Wolves

INCIDENT: Wolves were awarded a penalty after Ryan Bertrand was deemed to have handled Nelson Semedo’s shot inside the box.


VERDICT: Wrong decision.

DERMOT SAYS: It is all about starting point and consistency and three weeks ago we had a similar incident with [George] Baldock against Man City. It is almost carbon copy, the ball comes at him very fast, Bertrand is turning away, his arm is up and outstretched, but it is tight enough to his body and he was very, very unlucky. If the referee [Graham Scott] had just played on, there would not have been too much fuss about it.

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Arsenal 4-2 Leeds

INCIDENT: Liam Cooper is initially penalised for bringing down Bukayo Saka, only for the referee to overturn his decision on review.

VERDICT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: If you are a defender making a challenge like this, you would be very confident the VAR would see that you actually did not commit a foul. There is minimal contact and he goes down very easily and quite rightly the VAR in Andre Marriner tells Stuart Attwell to go and have a look and when Stuart sees it from behind the goal, there is your answer – no penalty.

Leicester 3-1 Liverpool

INCIDENT: Leicester are awarded a free kick and not a penalty after Harvey Barnes is tripped by Thiago Alcantara on the edge of the area.

VERDICT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: It is interesting as earlier in the season we had this notion – [Ezgjan] Alioski was the first one – that if they break the line, then they are going to give a penalty. And we saw that also with at Wolves vs West Brom. Then we had a change of thought process at Leicester vs Everton and then a few weeks ago with [Edinson] Cavani at Man Utd vs Southampton, it was deemed that they will give the foul where the offence actually occurred, irrespective of where the player’s body was.

If you look at this, Barnes is just outside the penalty area where the contact is made and that is where they get the foul and I actually like that as I always thought it was very, very harsh to give a penalty for something that actually occurred just outside the penalty area, irrespective of where his body was.

So I fully expected after the last couple of incidents at, say, Leicester and Man Utd that this would be given outside the box.

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Man City 3-0 Tottenham

INCIDENT: Man City are awarded a penalty when Ilkay Gundogan goes over in the box under a challenge from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

VERDICT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: This is going to split people without doubt. There is no doubt in my mind that Gundogan makes contact with Hojbjerg, but what I would say is, how much contact has he made? It is a contact sport and because of Paul Tierney’s position, he has got the best view and because of the empty stands, he can also hear the amount of contact made, whether it is just a glance down or is it into the leg.

So I would always back the referee with this as he has the best view and he knows the contact what it is. So I would go with the referee and penalty.

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