Dermot Gallagher dissects the main talking points from an action-packed weekend in the Premier League at both ends of the table, including Manchester City’s showpiece with title challengers Liverpool.
Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool
INCIDENT: Fabinho on Bernado Silva – it was a yellow card. Could or should it have been more?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: It’s not a nice tackle, it’s a yellow card.
DERMOT SAYS: It’s reckless. It doesn’t warrant a red card in any game, let alone this game. It wasn’t because he let a little more slip by than he should have. You can’t say that. This is a yellow card foul.
Stephane Warnock: “I felt the same. One thing I would say about Fabinho is that he wasn’t out of control. He didn’t leave the floor and jump into the tackle. He didn’t “There was no excessive force. I think he knew straight away it was an ill-timed tackle.”
Sue Smith: “It looks worse when it slows down. When you see it in real time, it looks like a yellow. When it slows down and you see where the contact is, it looks a bit mean. Maybe Orange.”
INCIDENT: Thiago is already on a yellow card when he challenges Kevin De Bruyne. He gets the free-kick himself first – could it have been a second booking for him on another day?
VERDICT: Nope; there are two problems.
DERMOT SAYS: First, he is pushed, which brings him in. If you look, it’s shin to shin. There is no contact with the studs, he did not leave his boot to cause damage. It’s because he was pushed.
Sue Smith: “That probably saves him, the thrust. It unbalances him. This saves him from having another yellow.”
Leicester City 2-1 Crystal Palace
INCIDENT: Movement of Youri Tielemans on Jordan Ayew, who was sanctioned on the ground. Complaints?
VERDICT: It is a penalty. He swings his leg.
DERMOT SAYS: There’s not much contact, but once you dangle a leg like that, you have to get the ball back. The certainty is that he did not.
On the penalty kickback – by encroaching, he gave Caglar Soyuncu the advantage of reaching the ball first. He clears the ball. It has an impact on the outcome of this decision. He cleared the ball as another Palace player came in to shoot.
Stephane Warnock: “It’s like a sprinter in a 100m race. Sometimes you want that advantage, to try to get there a little faster. What you often find is that players start a meter or two away behind the line to give them that flying start. He left slightly too soon.”
Sue Smith: “It’s so frustrating when that happens. But that’s your role, as a defender. It’s just instinct; you have to try to get in there to clear it.”
Arsenal 1-2 Brighton
INCIDENT: Three minutes and 46 seconds to decide if Gabriel Martinelli’s header held.
VERDICT: A complicated decision but ultimately the right one.
DERMOT SAYS: They had to establish whether Gabriel had headed the ball or the defender. It was Gabriel. Then it was Cucurella’s foot, Martinelli was actually covering it up so it took a long time to show the right angle.
It was an exceptional case. We’ve seen the decisions speed up so much this season. We accepted it, we adopted it. It was a rogue decision, it was the one that caught everyone off guard because they couldn’t find Cucurella’s foot. It will happen. Hopefully this will be the last of this season.
Stephane Warnock: “I think a lot of people won’t have understood what the wait was for. Trying to find Cucurella’s foot, how difficult it is. Ultimately, for me, yes, it’s frustrating the time it took but the right decision was made. It was a great moment in the game. If you were a Brighton fan, you’re happy to wait as long as the right decision arrives.
Norwich 2-0 Burnley
INCIDENT: Teemu Pukki descends on the edge of the area.
VERDICT: No penalty as the referee blew out of the box to award a free kick.
DERMOT SAYS: It is a very interesting decision. Because the referee blew. If this incident had continued, and it was continuing in the box, if the referee had allowed play to continue, he was within his right to award a penalty.
He is thrown to VAR. Because the referee gave a free kick, he is outside the box, so VAR must follow the referee’s original decision. The foul started outside the box. A free kick, not a penalty.
He didn’t wait. If he had waited, he could well have given a penalty but because he is blown, the fault is just outside the box.