Steven Gerrard was a tough-tackling midfielder and you can understand his frustration with Arsenal, says Mark Halsey

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I watched Aston Villa vs Arsenal and to be honest you can’t argue with Steven Gerrard. I refereed him many times, and he was a tough-tackling midfielder. We all know the English game is very physical and everyone loves that about our game.

I think sometimes players don’t help referees the way they go down screaming and trying to get players cautioned, and then as soon as they get their opponent cautioned they’re up and running around again.

I think it is frustrating for players and managers, and it makes refereeing a very difficult job, because they often will look at player reactions in those situations.

The challenge by Tyrone Mings, he gets the ball, but it’s just that follow-through that catches Saka. Maybe it wasn’t as hard as Saka made out, and that puts the doubt into the referee’s mind.

Pictures courtesy of BT Sport

We have to remember that a careless challenge is a free kick and nothing else, but a reckless challenge is a free kick and a yellow card. It’s interesting, because I don’t know why Mings went in on him that hard when they’re about to meet up for international duty and we need Saka playing for England! It was quite amusing, to be honest.

Still, it’s part and parcel of the game, physical challenges like that, so I’m a bit surprised Saka was complaining about it. Obviously referees have a duty of care towards players, but they also have to be mentally tough and not let players influence them too much.

Raul Jimenez red card was harsh, Kevin Friend should’ve done better

The big talking point in a great game between Wolves and Leeds was the sending off of Raul Jimenez for a collision with Illan Meslier.

If you look at Jimenez’s first caution, I think that’s fair, but the second one I thought was very harsh. The Leeds ‘keeper rushed out of his area, and Jimenez was just going for the ball. I think it’s just a coming together and I think Kevin Friend could’ve managed it better.

It changed the game. You can understand Wolves fans being upset, it was a bad decision and a game-changing one that Kevin Friend could’ve managed a lot better than he did.

Worrying scenes during Ajax vs Feyenoord

The fire during the Ajax-Feyenoord game was very worrying. Obviously they’ve not done the proper checks at the stadium because someone’s come in with a lighter or matches and obviously you cannot do that.

All stadiums now must be no-smoking zones, so they have to do proper searches and not allow lighters or matches in. And the safety of supporters and players in the stadium is paramount, so these checks need to be done properly, if that maybe means fans showing up earlier for games, then so be it.

More Stories Bukayo Saka Illan Meslier Mark Halsey Raul Jimenez Steven Gerrard Tyrone Mings