What a result we saw last night – a great achievement for Patrick Vieira, who played for Arsenal for so many years. He’s made Crystal Palace formidable, particularly at Selhurst Park. I know what it can be like from many years refereeing there, there’s no let-up with their fans, I think they’re some of the best fans and most intimidating atmospheres in the Premier League.
As for the game, it was a tale of two penalties really. First was one Arsenal wanted but didn’t get, with Saka coming together with the Palace defender. For me, it’s not a penalty – if Saka’s in front of the defender and then there’s contact, it’s a different story. But here they’re side by side and it’s a fair challenge.
Odegaard’s offence was a clear penalty, though. Paul Tierney’s in a good position and initially looks like he’s not going to give the penalty – he’s backing away, but then thinks “oh no” and gave the penalty. It looked like there was some indecision there, I don’t know if he maybe got a shout in his ear from a fourth official or someone at Stockley Park but it didn’t look right.
In the end it was the right decision, but it was strange that he seemed to dismiss it before changing his mind. Still, it was the correct outcome so there can’t be any complaints really.
Looking at the Liverpool-Watford game, I’ve seen a few comments regarding the penalty Liverpool got towards the end of the game, and it was another case of a referee not acting decisively enough.
In my view, it’s a clear penalty, it’s a clear holding offence by Cucho on Diogo Jota, Cucho’s not even looking at the ball, he’s pulled him down like it’s a rugby tackle!
I was surprised Stuart Atwell never saw this in real time, because he was looking in that direction. In those situations some referees spend too much time looking at the ball, but when does the ball commit an offence? You’ve got to keep focused on those danger zones and what’s going on there. VAR were correct in recommending the review.
The only thing I would say about that decision, however, is we’ve seen similar offences quite often this season that didn’t go to review, so we’re once again seeing too much inconsistency with VAR.
In West Ham’s win over Everton, I think Aaron Cresswell can count himself lucky not to have been sent off for his petulant kick out on Richarlison.
You can argue that is an act of violent conduct, there was no need to do that.
He is lucky both the referee and VAR didn’t see it as a red card. I thought he was extremely lucky – had the referee of sent Cresswell off, there wouldn’t have been a review.
Finally, I have to pay tribute to Mike Dean after he announced he’ll be retiring from refereeing at the end of the season.
I worked with Mike many times, he was my fourth official, I was his fourth official. We worked together abroad as well at times. In my opinion he’s a great referee. A lot of fans don’t like him, but we had great banter on the field of play, we didn’t mind getting banter from the players and giving it back. You can imagine the language, some people don’t like it, but that’s what goes on.
I’d have liked to referee as long as he has, but with my illness it wasn’t really possible to keep going with the rigorous training regime required to stay fit. For Mike to do that at the top level for many years is tremendous. I only started in the Premier League when I was 39, Mike was a bit younger than me, and to be able to referee over 500 games is remarkable.
For me, he’ll be sorely missed, he’s an experienced referee and I’m not sure we have anyone coming through with that same know-how and man-management. We have some very good referees, but I think we’re lacking the same excellent referees like Mike.
It’ll be interesting to see what path he takes next, I know he’s an excellent golfer! His knowledge of golf is almost better than his refereeing! It’s a loss for refereeing, I know a lot of fans will be happy to see the back of him, but he’s a great man and a quality referee.