Dermot Gallagher dissects the big flashpoints from the weekend’s action and explains why Mikel Arteta didn’t commit an offence when leaving his technical area to act as ball boy for Arsenal in Sunday’s 3-2 win at Watford.
INCIDENT: Bukayo Saka barged Tom Cleverley to regain possession in the build up to his goal, which restored Arsenal’s lead after Cucho Hernandez’s acrobatic equaliser. But did the Arsenal forward foul Cleverley to win back possession – and if so should the goal have been ruled out?
VERDICT: No foul, the goal should stand.
DERMOT SAYS: The referee has the best view, he is so close, and he says no. He thinks he has won the ball. We have to accept that there is going to be physical contact. We talk about minimising physical contact, but I think we have to be careful we don’t sanitise the game. There is always going to be physical contact, the referee is looking straight at it, he thinks Saka is too strong for him and he plays on.
Stephen Warnock: “One thing we talk about is the reaction of the player and Tom Cleverly gets up straight away, there is no moaning from the player. That tells you everything when you see the replay. There’s no complaints whatsoever. I didn’t think it was a foul at all.”
Sue Smith: “I thought it was a great challenge, and I think Cleverley is more frustrated that he’s had the ball pinched off him, rather than there being a foul.”
INCIDENT: Gabriel Martinelli scored Arsenal’s third goal, which proved to be the winner but, in the build up, manager Mikel Arteta left his technical area, so his side could take a quick throw and counter Watford quickly. Should the goal be disallowed because Arteta came out of his technical area?
VERDICT: Goal should stand.
DERMOT SAYS: The fourth official is the sole judge of the technical area, he is meant to monitor the manager, stop him going outside and encroaching onto the pitch.
He has allowed him to go out, whether he has been too slow to stop him I don’t know. What you would say – he hasn’t committed an offence, he’s become almost a ball boy. You wouldn’t expect him to let the ball run past him. We’re talking about this because it resulted in a goal incredibly, but all he’s done is being guilty of coming out of his technical area.
Stephen Warnock: “I think it is fine, really quick thinking from him. He has effectively become a ball boy – I think it was really clever from Mikel Arteta.”
INCIDENT: Phil Foden had his appeals for a penalty turned down in the first half after a tussle with Harry Maguire in the penalty area, but the official awarded a foul against the Manchester City forward. Should City have been awarded a penalty?
VERDICT: Foden fouls Maguire first, no penalty. Free-kick was the right decision.
DERMOT SAYS: The referee gave the foul on Harry Maguire. I think he is right, the first foul is on Maguire. There’s no doubt Maguire grabs him, but he has already blown, indicating that Foden fouled him first. No penalty.
INCIDENT: Riyad Mahrez was almost denied his second goal in Sunday’s Manchester derby after the linesman initially flagged for an offside, in what appeared to be a very tight call. VAR used the lines to show he was marginally onside – was it the right call?
VERDICT: Goal should have stood, good decision.
DERMOT SAYS: It’s the right decision by both people, actually. The assistant allows it to play out, he thinks it is offside, but allows it to play out until its conclusion. He then goes back and puts his flag up. VAR checks it and it was very tight, but both parties got it correct.
INCIDENT: There were question marks over whether Sadio Mane was offside in the build up to the only goal of Saturday’s contest with West Ham at Anfield. VAR checked it and ruled that the on-field decision should stand to allow the goal – was that the right call?
VERDICT: We have to trust the lines, the goal should stand.
DERMOT SAYS: You look at it [without the lines], and you don’t know. That’s the dilemma an assistant has and that is why VAR is where it is now. It’s ruled just onside and you have to go with it.
Everybody questioned it because everyone sees it through the prism of their own club. Non-Liverpool fans will want no goal, Liverpool fans will want a goal.
INCIDENT: There were some appeals for a penalty after the ball struck West Ham defender Kurt Zouma’s hand. No penalty was given – should it have been?
VERDICT: No penalty.
DERMOT SAYS: I don’t think this was ever going to be given. He was so close, it is hit straight at him, his arms are by his side. It does hit his hands, but he makes no movement toward the ball. It’s just not a penalty.
INCIDENT: Ben Gibson gave away a penalty after his high boot connected with the head of Pontus Jansson at a corner. Was it the right decision to award a penalty?
VERDICT: It was a penalty.
DERMOT SAYS: I think it all depends on contact and proximity to the player. There was contact on the back of his head, and in this case there was a player to challenge for the ball, and he has caught him on the back of the head. I think anybody who raises a boot that high and catches a player is always going to be penalised if a referee sees it.
INCIDENT: Gibson was involved in Brentford’s second penalty after he was adjudged to have brought down Ivan Toney in the penalty area with a sliding challenge. Was it the right call?
VERDICT: It was a penalty.
DERMOT SAYS: He just didn’t need to make that challenge, he needs to just hold his ground. But once he makes that challenge Toney is clever, he moves the ball to the left so Ben Gibson can’t get it and it is always going to be a penalty.
INCIDENT: Norwich thought they had pulled one back in the 67th minute through Milot Rashica, but VAR ruled Teemu Pukki offside during the build-up to the disallowed goal. It was a tight call and there were question marks over whether Pukki had touched the ball. Should the goal have stood.
VERDICT: It was the correct call, offside.
DERMOT SAYS: It is so tight, and you can see why VAR has to rule on this, because they had to put the lines on to see if Puuki is offside. I think he got a touch, but even if he doesn’t, he is in the goalkeeper’s line of view anyhow, so he would have been penalised for offside, I feel.